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Shapiro v. Doe[1] reiterates what a plaintiff must prove when they are injured by an unidentified motorist.

The plaintiff in this case stated that he was struck by an unidentified vehicle while crossing the street. He claimed insurance benefits from his father’s insurer, Economical Mutual Insurance Company (“Economical”) or from the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (“the Fund”) and the Superintendent of Financial Services (“the Superintendent”).

The plaintiff stated that following the collision, the driver got out of his car and asked the plaintiff if he was alright. The plaintiff did not ask the driver for his name or information.

The insurer brought this motion, claiming that the plaintiff had failed to prove that he was injured by the unidentified motor vehicle.[2] In addition, it argued that that the plaintiff had not made reasonable efforts to identify the car owner and driver.[3]

The plaintiff stated that he had not asked the driver for his information at the scene, because he was in a state of shock. In making his argument, the plaintiff relied solely upon affidavit evidence of a law clerk from his lawyer’s firm and on evidence from his examination for discovery.

The insurer argued that there was no evidence that the plaintiff had not been able to identify the driver because of he was in a state of shock, nor did the plaintiff provide medical evidence of any such impairment.

The court concluded that the plaintiff failed to prove that he was injured by an unidentified motorist.

This case reminds us that, where you are not able to identify the at-fault vehicle owner or driver, you must then prove why not. Medical or other corroborating evidence is important, and will depend on the facts of each case.

If you are injured by an unidentified vehicle and driver, it is important to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer quickly, in order that your rights against the unidentified motorist can be protected.


[1] 2016 ONSC 2956.
[2] Pursuant to section 265 of the Insurance Act or section 16 of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
[3] As required by section 17 of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.

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