What Happens in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
In an accident with an uninsured driver? Are you at fault? Accidents can be very scary because no one wants to be hit by another car. Then, when you check with the other driver and find out, they don’t have car insurance. What do you do? Before you panic, there are a few steps to take if you are in a fender-bender with a driver that doesn’t have insurance.
Car Accidents with Uninsured Drivers
Regardless of the territory or province you live in, all drivers are required by law to have auto insurance in Canada. For any driver caught without insurance, there are hefty fines to pay and the driver can lose their license. They might even be subject to criminal charges. However, every year, accidents take place all over Canada with uninsured drivers. The concern is what is a driver to do if an uninsured driver hits them? How will a driver pay for the damage to their vehicle and/or property if the other party isn’t carrying proper insurance?
Police in Labrador and Newfoundland say they charge hundreds of uninsured drivers every year. And, some don’t have registered vehicles or licenses. But, it’s suspected there are countless more who haven’t been caught. One woman in Corner Brook ended up with a hefty repair bill of $1,700 due to an uninsured driver that hit her. And, when she approached her car insurance company, she had to pay a $300 deductible first before she was able to get money to cover the damages.
Section D: Coverage for Drivers Against Uninsured Motorists
Areas like Newfoundland and Labrador spent over $266 million on claims in 2015. A clause in insurance coverage referred to as Section D covers drivers if uninsured motorists hit them. Even if you’re riding a bike or you’re a pedestrian, this same clause covers you if an uninsured driver hits you. So, what happens to drivers who don’t have insurance?
Often, they receive tickets and their vehicles are impounded. They can’t retrieve their vehicle until they pay outstanding fines, towing fees and show proof of insurance coverage. The Highway Traffic Act has set fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for uninsured motorists for first offences and they can face potential jail time. However, sometimes that is not enough consolation to drivers that were hit by uninsured motorists.
"No Fault" Laws Vary by Province
Because "no fault" laws vary depending on the province you’re in, you’re still covered. No fault coverage means whether the uninsured driver caused the accident or you did, you can still receive coverage when you’re ready to file a claim. You don’t have to try to catch the other driver. But, if you find out where the driver lives, this can help your insurance company recoup money from your accident claim. The process is called subrogation- when insurers try to retrieve claim money from uninsured motorists.
Having no fault coverage is beneficial to drivers who are hit by uninsured motorists. They can settle claims faster and get their repairs made. But, what if drivers can’t be found? It means the insurance will pay the full claim. Some motorists even hire lawyers to go after uninsured motorists for extra costs and to prove that the uninsured driver was at fault. That way the driver who had insurance won’t see a premium spike later on.
And, if you find that your premiums increase as a result? Make sure your coverage includes the Family Protection Endorsement. This is SEF 44 or OPCF 44. While in some provinces it's Section D. In Ontario, it's Section 265. This protects you if a driver hits you that doesn’t have insurance. You should also shop for cheaper insurance.
Steps to take if You’re In An Accident
1. If an uninsured motorist hits you, stay calm and call the police who can help get the address of the uninsured driver.
2. Use your phone to take videos and pictures of the accident scene, the other vehicle and the driver. This can help the insurance company. And, it helps you if the other driver leaves the scene.
3. If you’re seriously injured, go the emergency room or a clinic. For less severe injuries, see your doctor. Do this right away to document injuries from your accident.
4. Alert your insurance company right away, if an uninsured motorist hit you. Start your claim and the protection for vehicles hit by uninsured drivers, should cover you.
5. If it applies, seek legal counsel if the driver was uninsured. A personal injury lawyer might be able to help you seek damages from the uninsured party.
Ready to Find the Best Auto Insurance Rates?
Motorists who drive without insurance face serious consequences. If an uninsured motorist hits you, stay calm and contact your insurance provider. Your insurance coverage is designed to protect you from uninsured drivers. Hence, the need to always pay your insurance premiums. And, if you find insurance costs are too high, shop for cheaper insurance policies. You can compare quotes with InsuranceHotline.com.
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