Getting into a motor vehicle accident is a stressful enough situation. This stress can be magnified in the event that an injured party does not know who hit them or if the at-fault party does not have insurance.
The automatic thought for an injured party in this situation may be that there would be no recourse in order to recoup one’s lost wages, medical expenses and a pain and suffering award. That is simply incorrect. In Alberta, the province has set up a fund to assist victims of those involved in accidents caused by uninsured or unknown motorists.
This fund is governed by the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act. It provides a detailed outline of the procedures that must be taken by a Plaintiff in this situation. One of the most important factors pursuant to the legislation is that the Administrator of this fund must be notified within 90 days of the accident that a Plaintiff was involved in an accident with an uninsured / unknown motorist. The failure to provide this notice could be fatal to bringing a claim.
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act provides for up to $200,000 in coverage to compensate for the various heads of damages that may be available to a Plaintiff in a personal injury claim. It is also important to note that this $200,000 limit is the total amount available to all parties, if it so happens that multiple parties are injured in the same accident.
In serious claims that may exceed the $200,000 limit of this fund, there is the possibility of further insurance recourse for the victim. The injured party can turn to their own insurance policy to see if additional coverage is available. This coverage is available through a clause entitled the Standard Endorsement Form 44 or SEF 44 for short. Having the SEF 44 endorsement allows for one to bring a claim against their own insurance company if there is a shortfall in policy coverage. In an uninsured / unknown motorist situation, it is known that the upper limit is $200,000, so as long as one’s own policy has a limit greater than this number, they are able to proceed against their own policy for the shortfall.
For further information about the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, please visit: https://www.justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/mvac/Pages/default.aspx