All motor vehicles in Alberta are required to have valid insurance. For most car accidents, the insurance company of the person at-fault for the accident compensates the injured person. However, sometimes the at-fault driver’s identity isn’t known (such as in the case of a hit-and-run) or the at-fault driver doesn’t have valid car insurance. When either scenario happens, the injured person can turn to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). The Alberta Government has established the MVACF to ensure that people injured as a result of an unknown driver or uninsured driver can still receive compensation for their personal injuries.
What do I do if I’ve been involved in a hit-and-run?
In the case of a hit-and-run, the injured person must make reasonable efforts to determine the identity of the person who hit them or else the MVACF will not pay compensation. This means that the injured person must speak to any potential witnesses, consult with the Police, and take any other reasonable steps that could help identify the at-fault driver before seeking compensation from the MVACF.
Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident?
Our personal injury law team can help walk you through the legal process and answer any questions you may have.
Contact Ahlstrom Wright for more information about this and other areas of Personal Injury Law.
Ahlstrom Wright has offices in Sherwood Park, Alberta and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
What You Need To Know About the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund:
- The accident you were involved in must have occurred in Alberta for the MVACF to get involved.
- You must be a resident of Alberta to receive compensation from the MVACF. However, there are limited exceptions for people who are injured in Alberta but live in another province that could apply.
- Pedestrians injured by an unknown driver or driver without insurance can claim against the MVACF.
- The maximum payment is $200,000 for all injured people involved an accident. If there are multiple people injured in an accident, then the injured people share the $200,000 based upon the severity of their injuries.
- There is a 90-day period following an accident to notify the MVACF of your claim. Failure to notify the MVACF within 90 days could prevent you from receiving compensation.
- If you contributed to the accident, but an unknown driver or driver without insurance was primarily at fault for your injuries, then you may be able to make a claim to the MVACF.
- The MVACF will not pay compensation for property damage to your vehicle or any belongings damaged in an accident.
- Issues of consent will need to be explored prior to the MVACF paying compensation. For example, if the at-fault driver borrowed someone else’s vehicle without their permission, the MVACF will need proof that the driver did not have consent to operate the vehicle.
- The MVACF expects an injured person to investigate a hit-and-run as much as possible. The MVACF will not accept a claim without proof from the injured person that they did everything possible to try to identify the at-fault driver.
- Regardless of whether the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance, or you can’t identify him/her, the MVACF requires an injured person to file a Statement of Claim before they will become involved in discussing compensation.
- The standard two-year limitation period to commence a lawsuit applies to claims involving the MVACF. Failure to file a Statement of Claim with the Court prior to the two-year deadline will prevent you from receiving compensation from the MVACF.
- The MVACF is the payer of last resort in car accident claims. If there is anyone with insurance that is even partly responsible for your injuries, the MVACF will not pay compensation. For example, if a drunk driver was overserved at a licensed bar prior to causing an accident, the bar may have some liability for the accident, in which case the MVACF may not pay compensation.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and the at-fault driver either does not have insurance or you were unable to determine their identity, you may still qualify for compensation. Ahlstrom Wright’s personal injury lawyers can assist with assessing whether or not you have a valid claim with the MVACF. Please contact Ahlstrom Wright’s offices for a free consultation.