Motor vehicle accidents also contribute the most to personal injuries and deaths in Canada. Therefore, it is necessary to have valid liability insurance for all vehicle owners. If you are looking for car insurance in Alberta, visit this site.
However, there may be cases where the at-fault driver is uninsured and unidentified. This is where the importance of The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program comes into play.
Similarly, there are several conditions that need to be fulfilled for a simple and effective claim settlement. To make things easier, we have curated a comprehensive guide to Alberta car accident settlements.
Understanding Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Program
The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program was created by the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act in 1947. It outlines the procedure to safeguard the interests of a person injured or killed by an uninsured and unidentified driver.
- The cause of injury or death must be a motor vehicle accident in Alberta.
- There must be an at-fault person.
- The injured should be a resident of Alberta at the time of the accident or a person who is eligible for Alberta’s MVAC program.
- If the identities of the at-fault owner and driver are established, they must have been uninsured.
- If the at-fault driver is unidentified, efforts should be made to identify the driver, and claims should be filed within 90 days of the accident. In this case, a lawsuit must be filed under The Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
- To seek compensation under this act, an injured person or relative of the deceased must sue the person(s) liable for the accident. This could include:
- Driver and owner of the vehicle(s) at fault
- The driver of your vehicle if you were a passenger
- Corporations, if the vehicle is owned by a company
- There is no need to file a lawsuit if the total value of the claim is $25,000 or less, and your claim can be settled, with the agreement of MVAC, within two years of the date of the accident.
If the at-fault driver is fully insured at the time of the accident, the person and their insurance company are liable to pay you compensation for the damages and injuries.
How to initiate the lawsuit
There are two choices to file a lawsuit to seek car accident compensation in Alberta. The first is the Provincial Court, and the second is the Court of Queen’s Bench. The monetary limit in Provincial Court is $50,000, exclusive of interest and costs. If the claim amount exceeds $50,000, you must sue the at-fault person in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
The first option is more favourable because:
- It offers fast claim settlement
- It is less expensive
- Involves fewer legal complications
The monetary limit of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims in Alberta
The maximum amount admissible for one accident under this program is $200,000 for all your injuries and damages. If there is more than one victim, each claimant is eligible to receive a proportional share of $200,000.
If the damages exceed the $200,000 limit, a claimant is entitled to additional compensation from their insurance company. Due to this, more and more Albertans are opting for additional insurance coverage to safeguard their interests in case of serious accidents.
This type of optional insurance is called Family Protection Endorsement or a “SEF 44” endorsement. It offers additional coverage for accidents involving unidentified or uninsured drivers.
The time frame for filing the lawsuit
Usually, in Alberta, a lawsuit should be filed within two years from the accident date. After filing the lawsuit, the defendant must be served within one year.
In other scenarios, where the person at fault is unidentified, a notice of the claim must be provided to the Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act within 90 days of the date of the accident.
Factors affecting Alberta car accident settlements
Not every car accident is the same. Similarly, Alberta car accident settlements can significantly vary. Several factors can affect the claim amount, settlement duration, and negotiation procedure. Whether you need to go to court or not is also determined by the type of accident. Some factors that affect car accident settlements Alberta are as follows:
If there is sufficient evidence, facts, and witnesses, settlement negotiation becomes easy. In contrast, disputed facts tend to take more time. Therefore, try to gather as much information as possible and involve all the necessary parties for smooth proceedings.
Cases involving serious injuries and large damages tend to take a long time to resolve. Establishing direct or indirect injuries and mental trauma becomes complex and time-consuming.
The size of your settlement is the most crucial aspect. Generally, insurance companies will field their best experts to fight your claims. It can make the process challenging and lengthy.
Dos and don’ts after a car accident
Panic and unawareness is the most common cause of making wrong decisions after an accident. While it is natural to panic, keep the following things in mind to make your stance stronger after an accident:
- Call 911 immediately
- Share all relevant data with the police, including your injuries and damages
- Share your insurance information
- Leave or run from the scene
- Move too much if you are seriously injured
Moreover, do not forget to inform your insurer about the accident. Get detailed information about your entitlements and coverage from the insurer.
Car accidents are very common. However, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act in Alberta stipulates all possibilities and procedures to settle a car accident claim effectively.
However, expert eyes are crucial to understanding the complex terms, representing you, and negotiating with insurance companies when it comes to car accident injury settlements Alberta. For additional coverage during serious injuries, additional car insurance is also a viable option. It is advisable to compare different insurance before selecting the best one for you.