Driving without insurance in Ontario – Consequences and Options
In Ontario (and in all of Canada) it is mandatory for all owners, drivers and lessees of a motor vehicle to have valid automobile insurance when operating or allowing the operation of a motor vehicle.If you are operating a motor vehicle without a valid policy of insurance, the consequences are quite drastic. You may be fined under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario anywhere from $5000 to $50000, have your licence suspended for up to one year, and have your motor vehicle impounded. If you are in a motor vehicle accident, you may also be liable to pay a victim fine surcharge of 25% under the Provincial Offences Act (i.e. on a $5000 fine, you may be required to pay an additional $1250 as a victim fine surcharge).
If they are injured in a car accident, both uninsured drivers and their occupants may not be eligible to receive certain mandatory statutory accident benefits, such as income replacement benefits. Under the Ontario Insurance Act, if you have sustained an injury in a motor vehicle collision and cannot return to work, you typically would qualify for up to 70% of your gross weekly income, to a maximum of $400 per week, for a maximum of 104 weeks (two years). Motorists in Ontario have the further option of increasing these mandatory minimums by purchasing additional “optional” insurance, to a maximum of $1000 per week. However, if you are uninsured while operating a motor vehicle, you may be barred from this statutory benefit.
More importantly, uninsured drivers who are injured in a motor vehicle accident may not be permitted to sue the other driver for compensation. This includes being barred from suing for pain and suffering, loss of income, and health care costs. Your family members will also be barred from pursuing a lawsuit.
Under the Ontario Insurance Act, you are required to have at least $200,000 in Third-Party Liability insurance (which may be increased) on your vehicle. If you cause an accident that has resulted in injuries or death of other persons, this liability insurance will cover any claims made or settled against you. Failure to have valid insurance leaves you at risk for personal liability for damages of the injured – in other words, your personal assets may be garnished to pay for those claims.
What if you are injured by an at-fault uninsured motorist? Your auto policy has an endorsement called the OPCF-44 endorsement. This allows your own auto insurer to “step into the shoes” of the at-fault driver. You would then sue the at-fault driver and your own auto insurer.
If you are a pedestrian or cyclist and/or do not own or have access to an insured vehicle, then a government agency called the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fun can be accessed to provide compensation to you of up to $200,000.
If you have been injured by an uninsured driver in a motor vehicle accident, whether as a motorist, or as a pedestrian or cyclist, contact Howard Yegendorf & Associates. With nearly 50 years of combined experience with personal injury claims, we can help you assess your options, and navigate the correct path that will provide you and your family with the best compensation possible, while you focus on healing from your injuries and putting your life back together.