In Nova Scotia, all licensed vehicle owners are required by law to have auto insurance coverage for Liability Coverage, Direct Compensation, Uninsured and Unidentified Automobile Coverage, and Accident Benefits Coverage. But unfortunately, not everyone plays by the rules. Accidents happen, and sometimes you may be involved in a collision with an uninsured driver.
What Is An Uninsured Driver?
An uninsured driver is someone who is driving a car without carrying the minimum mandatory coverage. In Nova Scotia, it is illegal to drive without insurance. There are some serious penalties and fines for any driver caught without insurance. The penalty for the first offence is around $2000 to $4000, increasing to $3000 up to $5000 for additional offences. There could also be license suspensions and the uninsured vehicle could be impounded for ninety days.
What If I Am Injured By An Uninsured Driver?
Under the Nova Scotia Insurance Act, every car insurance policy includes coverage for damages caused by an uninsured or unidentified driver. This part of the policy is referred to as Section D. Under this section of the policy, your insurance provider will pay your claim for injuries or a loss caused by an uninsured driver or an unidentified driver (hit and run accident). The minimum Section D coverage limit for Nova Scotia policyholders is $500,000. Section D coverage only takes effect if no claim can be made against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
If you or your passengers are injured in an accident involving an uninsured vehicle, Section B of your policy will generally provide coverage. This section is commonly referred to as Accident Benefits or No-Fault Benefits. These benefits cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses for the recovery and treatment of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault.
If your vehicle was damaged in a car accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver, Section C of your policy will cover the costs of repairing your car. You might be required to pay a deductible when filing a claim. The amount you pay will depend on your insurance.
Hit and Runs
Accidents with unidentified drivers involve someone striking you or your car and fleeing the scene (a hit and run). Similar to accidents involving uninsured vehicles, Section D of your car insurance policy steps in to act as the unidentified driver who is at fault to cover your injuries or losses.
How to File a Claim if the Other Person Doesn’t Have Insurance
The steps to file a claim for an accident involving an uninsured or unidentified driver are the same process you would go through with a regular claim, with a few exceptions. You have 30 days to file a Section D claim with your insurance provider. Your insurance company will also require you to file a police report within 24 hours of the accident. To prevent delays in getting coverage, it’s recommended to contact your insurer as soon as the accident occurs. Generally, insurance companies will ask for quick notice so they can start an investigation and try to find the unidentified driver. If they find the driver, and the driver is insured, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will have to compensate you for injuries or losses.
In some cases, the person injured in a collision caused by an uninsured driver may not have access to their own insurance coverage. There is an option for the injured victim to file a claim with the Facility Association of Nova Scotia. The Facility Association is required under the provincial Insurance Act to step into the shoes of the at-fault driver to provide coverage from the Uninsured Automobile Funds in Nova Scotia. Coverage provided by The Facility Association is available to those who are not able to obtain satisfaction for damages under an auto insurance policy; those who do not have other insurance; and those who do have other insurance, but it is inadequate. In other words, The Facility Association is the insurer of last resort to provide coverage when no other option is available.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Just because you suffer injuries in an accident involving an uninsured or unidentified driver does not mean your insurance company will automatically accept your claim. Your insurer is permitted to (and likely will) legally contest your entitlement to compensation. As the injured party, it is your responsibility to prove that the uninsured or unidentified driver was negligent, and this negligence caused your injuries. If your insurance provider does not consider the uninsured or unidentified driver responsible for the accident, they will dispute your claim for compensation. An insurance company can also deny a Section D claim if notice isn’t provided within 30 days.
Fortunately, your right to compensation isn’t solely in the hands of your insurer. It is the role of a judge (not an insurance adjuster) to decide whether your claim can be forfeited because of missed time frames. Insurance companies will also look for any opportunity to lower the value of your claim or deny your claim altogether. An experienced Halifax car accident lawyer (also called an insurance claim lawyer) will review your claim and advise you on options for negotiating a fair settlement.