Elaine Bright – Pace Personal Injury Lawyer in Kenora: Most of us would never drive a vehicle that was not insured. But in some communities, particularly remote communities, it is not uncommon to see vehicles being driven that could never pass a safety check or qualify for licensing or insurance. Ron McDonald of Wabaseemoong says, “In my community there are lots of unlicensed, uninsured vehicles that get driven around – we call them ‘Rez Cars’.”
What happens if you or someone you know is injured in an accident involving a vehicle that is not insured? If the accident victim, or their spouse, or someone who supports the victim, has insurance, the victim can apply to that insurance company for compensation. If any vehicle involved in the accident was insured, then the victim can apply to one of those insurance companies.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
If no insurance coverage is available to the victim of a car accident in Ontario, it is important to know that we have access to a special fund called the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. This Fund provides eligible victims with all of the coverage available under regular auto insurance accident benefits: coverage for physiotherapy, chiropractors, housekeeping, income replacement and more. The Fund will also pay damages for pain and suffering and other losses, provided certain conditions are met. The maximum payable in damages $200,000.
As with all accidents, important timelines apply. If there is no insurance available, any one who was injured in the accident should contact a lawyer right away in order to find out how to start a claim for accident benefits with the Accident Claims Fund. You have two years from the date of the accident to start a legal action for damages, but you should get advice much sooner than that.
A word of caution if you are the registered owner of a rez car and or any other uninsured vehicle: if someone drives your vehicle, with your permission, and is involved in an accident – the Fund might come after you for any money it has to pay out. And even worse, your driver’s license will get suspended if you don’t make arrangements to pay any money owing to the Fund.
The bottom line: if you are in an accident with an uninsured vehicle, you can still get coverage for eligible expenses and for damages through a special Claims Fund. And if you own an uninsured vehicle, don’t let anyone drive it!
Elaine Bright is a lawyer with Pace Law Firm. She handles cases in Kenora and throughout Northwestern Ontario. Pace’s personal injury lawyers have been helping accident victims since 1980.