What is a motor vehicle accident?
A motor vehicle accident is a collision involving a motor vehicle that results in property damage, injury, or death. Under the Traffic Safety Act of Alberta, a “motor vehicle” is a vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or a moped. For example, cars, motorcycles, trucks, semi-trailers, and busses are all considered “motor vehicles” under Alberta traffic laws. Bicycles, power bicycles, aircraft, implements of husbandry, or vehicles that only run on rails, are not.
What is a hit-and-run accident?
A “hit-and-run” accident is a collision where a driver leaves the accident scene without providing their contact/insurance information or without helping injured passengers. Under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, a driver who is involved (directly or indirectly) in an accident must stay at or return to the scene of the accident and render all reasonable assistance. They must also provide their contact, vehicle, and insurance information to anyone who has suffered loss (i.e., vehicle damage) or injury as well as to any witnesses and police officers.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should report the accident to the police as soon as possible. You should also speak with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights and options for obtaining compensation for your injuries.
Does car insurance provide liability coverage for hitting a pedestrian with a motor vehicle?
Many car insurance policies provide liability coverage for hitting a pedestrian with a motor vehicle. Whether the policy will cover a claim for compensation by the pedestrian will depend on the wording and exclusions in the policy and which party was at fault. The insurance company may choose to defend their insured driver if they assess the pedestrian was partly or completely at fault for the accident.
What should I do after a motor vehicle accident?
Your first priority after being in a motor vehicle accident should always be your safety and to obtain medical care for any injuries sustained. If you’re able to do so without endangering yourself, you should also help secure the safety of those around you. The severity or extent of an injury may not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of an accident, so it is always important to seek medical attention right away. At the accident scene, exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers, pedestrians, witnesses and police. If you can, photograph the scene.
As soon as possible after the accident, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. This enables your lawyer to take timely action to secure evidence, obtain documentation, and protect your rights to obtain the maximum compensation possible.
Can a pedestrian sue if hit by a car?
Yes, pedestrians can sue if hit by a car. If the driver’s identity is known, the pedestrian may sue the driver and owner (who, in turn, may have insurance to pay for the pedestrian’s injuries). The pedestrian must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident to avoid prejudicing their right to pursue damages.
If the driver is unidentified (as is often the case in a hit-and-run) or is uninsured or underinsured, the pedestrian may be able to claim compensation through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC). MVAC allows individuals injured in accidents caused by an uninsured, underinsured, or unidentified driver to bring a lawsuit under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act to receive up to $200,000 in compensation for their injuries. It is important to note that MVAC must be notified of a potential claim within 90 days of the accident. Failing to notify MVAC within this time period could cause the claim to be denied.
Determining liability and taking the appropriate steps to secure your rights and position your claim for success requires extensive legal knowledge and experience with the Alberta legal system. Contacting a qualified motor vehicle accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you understand your legal options and obtain the maximum compensation possible.
What Are Section B/No-Fault Accident Benefits?
In Alberta, you are entitled to Section B (No-Fault Accident) Benefits (typically under your own motor vehicle policy) regardless of fault for the accident. Accident benefits are a mandatory part of all automobile insurance policies in Alberta. They help cover the expenses related to injuries suffered by a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist in an accident with a motor vehicle.
Accident benefits help cover the cost of the injured person’s medical expenses, including treatment, home or vehicle modifications, and medically necessary equipment. Accident benefits in Alberta also cover the injured person’s costs, to an extent, if they are disabled and unable to work as a result of the accident. If the injured person dies from their accident injuries, grief counselling benefits and funeral coverage is usually available for their surviving family members.
How can I get compensation for injuries caused by an uninsured/underinsured driver?
If you sustained injuries while driving a motor vehicle or as a pedestrian and the at-fault driver underinsured or uninsured, you can qualify for up to $200,000 in compensation for your injuries under Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims program (MVAC). You must first bring a claim against the responsible driver and owner. The MVAC must be notified of a potential claim within 90 days of the accident; otherwise, your claim may be denied. As these claims can be complex and extremely time-sensitive, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your right to sue.
Can I get compensation if I was injured in a hit-and-run and don’t know the driver’s identity?
Yes. If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident while driving a motor vehicle or as a pedestrian and the at-fault driver’s identity remains unknown, you can bring a claim under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims program (MVAC). The MVAC allows you to bring a lawsuit against the Administrator of MVAC under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act. You can qualify for up to $200,000 in compensation.
It is critical to note that if you fail to notify the MVAC of a potential claim within 90 days of the accident, you may lose your right to sue. Given the complexities involved in determining eligibility and liability, the Government of Alberta recommends obtaining legal advice from a qualified lawyer.
Can I make a claim against my own insurance after being injured in a hit-and-run?
In addition to compensation under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims program (MVAC), you may be entitled to additional compensation under one or more of your own insurance policies if you have purchased specific additional coverage. You should consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to review your insurance coverage and determine the extent of your eligibility for additional compensation after being injured by an unidentified (or under/uninsured) driver.
Who pays for my injuries if I was a passenger or pedestrian?
If you are a passenger of a vehicle or a pedestrian and have been injured in an accident, determining the proper avenue for compensation depends on the particular circumstances. It can be difficult to determine which driver’s insurance company will be responsible for covering your injuries and benefits. For example, if you are hurt in a hit-and-run and the driver’s identity is known, you may be entitled to both Section B (No-Fault Accident) Benefits and personal injury damages through the insurance of the at-fault driver.
Consulting with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident will ensure you have a clear understanding of all benefits and sources of compensation to which you are entitled. At Cuming & Gillespie LLP, we deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and ensure all claims are filed within the mandatory timelines so you don’t lose the ability to sue.
What are personal injury damages?
Personal injury damages are types of compensation that can be sought in cases where a person has been injured by another party’s negligence, such as a driver who causes an accident. Examples of personal injury damages may include (but are not limited to) medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, out-of-pocket expenses, caregiver costs, future care costs, and punitive damages.
What is the difference between Section B accident benefits and personal injury damages?
Section B (No-Fault Accident) Benefits are a mandatory part of all automobile insurance policies in Alberta. You don’t need to sue to receive compensation under your accident benefits. Instead, you bring a claim against the responsible insurance company. While Section B Benefits help cover some of the expenses related to your injuries and medical treatment, the amount of coverage is capped and treatment cost coverage ceases after two years. These accident benefits also won’t cover some non-pecuniary costs such as pain and suffering.
Personal injury damages help fill in the gaps of Section B (No-Fault Accident) Benefits and are not subject to automatic limits in duration or compensation. Personal injury damages are sought through litigation, which may or may not include court proceedings. It is vital to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether you have a claim for personal injury damages in addition to accident benefits covered by insurance.