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Car Insurance Law in Ontario: What to Expect if You’ve Been in a Hit and Run

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Legal

What happens if you’re in a car accident and the at-fault party isn’t identified or insured?

If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to follow a few simple steps at the scene of the collision. If it’s safe to do so, remove your vehicle from the roadway and always exchange information with the other parties involved (Driver’s licenses, insurance, phone numbers etc.). 

But what should you do if you were injured, and the other party doesn’t have adequate car insurance? What if they fled the scene?

These kinds of circumstances can make car insurance law very confusing. Even though every driver in Ontario is required by law to have basic car insurance, many don’t. Before we talk about how to navigate these situations, it’s important to remind everyone of how the Ontario auto insurance system works.  

How does auto insurance work in Ontario?

If you’re involved in a car accident, you must report it to your insurance agent, broker, or company within seven days, regardless of who is at fault.

You will be asked to supply whatever information you have about the make, model and year of your vehicle, the other driver’s license number, and details regarding the accident (the other driver’s name, the date, time, and location of the accident, and how many passengers were involved). 

If you were injured in an accident, you will likely be filing three insurance claims:

    1. With your own insurance for benefits such as treatment and income replacement;
    2. With your own insurance for property damage, and;
    3. With the other driver, if they are at fault, for pain and suffering and other damages. 

Someone is always at-fault in a car accident, whether partially or fully.

Your claims adjuster will determine the extent to which the claim will be covered by your insurance policy and will help guide you through the entire claims process. In most cases, your insurance will pay for one part of the claim, and the other driver’s insurance will pay for any damages for pain and suffering.

But what happens if you’re injured in an accident and the at-fault driver is not insured or is never identified?

By law, anyone involved in a car accident must remain at the scene of the collision until law enforcement arrives. Leaving the scene after a collision, also known as a “hit and run,” is a criminal offence with serious penalties. Furthermore, refusing to provide a name or identification is also considered a criminal offence.

Fear not, because every policy has the basic coverage of $200,000 for accidents involving an uninsured or unidentifiable driver.  

On top of that, there is additional coverage many (if not most) people receive, called underinsured coverage. This can be used in the event of an accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver, or just with a driver who only carries minimum policy limits. So, if your damages exceed $200,000 and the other party only carries the basic $200,000 in liability coverage, then you can sue your own insurance for damages above and beyond the $200,000.
However, since this coverage is not mandatory, you need to have purchased the endorsement in order to be able to claim under it.

If you’re confused about what you do and do not qualify for, give us a call and we’ll help you navigate the tricky world of car accident law in Ontario!

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