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On the ever-busy roads of Ontario, car accidents are an unfortunate reality. One particularly tricky situation involves an accident with an unidentified driver, commonly known as a “hit and run.” What happens if you’re the victim of such an incident? What coverages are available for insured drivers in Ontario when the at-fault party cannot be identified? 

What is an “unidentified driver”?

The term “unidentified driver” is used in situations where the identity of the driver responsible for the accident is unknown. This could occur if the driver flees the scene of the accident without providing their information, or if you are unable to obtain their information for other reasons.

In Ontario, if you find yourself in a collision with an unidentified driver, your first level of protection is found under the Unidentified and Uninsured portion of your own automotive policy. Coverage is the statutory minimum responding monetary limits of $200,000 under the Ontario Insurance Act but is subject to a reduction by as much as $25,000 for relevant property claim. To qualify your claim you must report the accident to the police within 24 hours or as soon as practical and the insurer must conclude, after a thorough investigation, that an unidentified motorist had caused your crash.

If your losses from the accident are greater than the $200,000 statutory minimum provided by your own auto insurance policy and you have purchased “OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage” under your policy, you have further protection when an at-fault driver is either uninsured, underinsured or unidentified. This coverage ensures that you could receive compensation for your injuries and damages above the statutory minimum. However, there are certain conditions that must be met before a claim can be made.

Who qualifies for full coverage?

Full coverage could be met depending on your damages, up to your third-party liability limits, if you meet the requirements of corroborating “other material evidence.”

Other material evidence includes independent witness evidence (other than a spouse) or physical evidence indicating the involvement of an unidentified automobile. Even with corroborating evidence, negligence of the unidentified motorist must be established on a balance of probabilities to prove that individual was at fault.

The reality is, insurance matters can be complex and this discussion is really a simplified overview. If you’re involved in an accident with an unidentified driver, it’s wise to contact an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible to navigate the specific requirements and deadlines that can impact your claim.

Although a hit and run accident can be a daunting and stressful experience, Ontario’s insurance system provides avenues for you to claim compensation even when the at-fault driver cannot be identified. Knowing your rights and the protections available to you is a crucial step in recovering from such an unfortunate event.

Contact a lawyer to discuss your motor vehicle accident today.

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