Traffic collisions occur regularly on roadways throughout Alberta. There are approximately 385 collisions each day in Alberta. In 2016 alone there were a reported 133,124 collisions.
Unfortunately, the occasion may arise where you are injured in a motor vehicle collision and the at-fault driver flees the scene. Rest assured that there is a remedy available. Please speak to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries.
COMPENSATION THROUGH THE MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS CLAIMS FUND
The Government of Alberta introduced the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVAC) to assist injured victims of hit and run accidents. To be eligible to make a claim through the MVAC, you must:
- Have suffered a bodily injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident (property damage is not covered by the MVAC);
- Be a resident of Alberta or a resident of a jurisdiction that has a program similar to the MVAC and that would cover an Albertan in that jurisdiction;
- Have been involved in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Alberta;
- Have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in which the liability rests solely with the unknown driver (if there is insurance coverage from another party involved in the crash the MVAC will not become involved);
- Have made an effort to determine the identity of the unknown at-fault driver;
- Notify the MVAC about your accident within 90 days (if you fail to do so, your claim may be barred); and
- File and serve a lawsuit on all named Defendants to be eligible for compensation, and the unknown Defendant driver must be noted in default.
There is a maximum of $200,000 available for compensation from the MVAC. If there are multiple injured parties the $200,000 must be dispersed amongst the parties.
The MVAC is a last resort measure that may only be used once you have confirmed that there is no potential insurance coverage available to you.
SEF 44 FAMILY PROTECTION COVERAGE
If you have suffered a loss that is greater than $200,000, you may be entitled to another remedy through your own insurer if you have purchased the SEF 44 Family Protection Endorsement (“SEF 44”).
SEF 44 coverage is an optional endorsement that can be added to your insurance policy at a minimal extra cost. This endorsement provides coverage above the limits of the at-fault driver.
WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A CAR ACCIDENT
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are legally obligated according to section 69 of the Traffic Safety Act to comply with the following obligations:
- Remain at the scene;
- Render all reasonable assistance; and
- Produce your name and address, driver’s licence number, the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle, the licence plate number of the vehicle, and a financial responsibility card for the vehicle.
It is also important to perform the following:
- Check for injuries: If there are any injuries, call for help immediately.
- Move vehicles out of traffic: If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
- Call the police: If there are injuries or damage to vehicles that is greater than $2,000, you have a legal obligation to call the police and report the accident.
- Note your location, suspect vehicle information (including plate, make, model, colour), a description of the driver, and the last direction of travel of the vehicle.
- Take photographs and collect debris.
- If the hit and run is in progress, call 911. However, if the hit and run already occurred, call the police’s non-emergency number.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and the other driver refuses to provide his/her information, advise them that they are required by law to provide information regardless of fault. If they still refuse, contact the police.
If the other driver involved in the accident appears to be impaired or belligerent, contact 911.
It is also important to report the accident and your injuries as soon as possible to your own automobile insurance company. This will make you eligible to receive Accident Benefits under Section B of your own automobile policy. If your vehicle has sustained damage and you have collision coverage, your insurance company will assist you to obtain the necessary repairs or pay you out for the value of your vehicle if your vehicle cannot be repaired.
The lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers also recommend taking photographs of your injuries and saving any personal property that was damaged as a result of the accident (i.e. damaged clothing, broken watch etc.).
It is also important to save all receipts for any expenses incurred in connection with your accident and injuries (i.e. prescriptions, crutches, massage therapy treatment, parking expenses etc.). You should also keep track of individuals who have been assisting to take care of you due to your injuries and who have been helping you out with household chores (i.e. snow shovelling and lawn mowing etc.). You should record how much time has been spent doing these chores and how much you are paying them.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a hit and run accident, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so you may receive the compensation for the damages you have suffered. Please contact the award winning lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers to get started with a free case evaluation either online or by calling 403-571-0555. We are dedicated to providing you with the legal help you deserve.