What is Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Program?

What is Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Program?

If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver or with someone who leaves the scene before providing identification, you need to become familiar with Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Program. It was created in 1947 by the establishment of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act, to protect victims who often would not be able to claim any damages otherwise.

What claims are eligible under MVAC?

The first thing to keep in mind is that any payment from MVAC is meant to be the last resort for victims. If there is a chance of receiving compensation through insurance – even a partial payment – you will not be eligible to receive a settlement through MVAC.

After an accident with a hit and run or uninsured driver, most residents will be able to claim medical payments through their own insurance policy – commonly known as Section B medical benefits. But if you have used up all those benefits, you may be eligible to apply for an MVAC payment. There are multiple steps you must complete before you can receive a settlement. That is why it is a good idea to have a Kantor lawyer help you in determining if you are eligible for compensation. We can walk you through the legal steps required to receive a settlement.

What are the criteria for an MVAC claim?

Five criteria must be met with claims:

  • You suffered bodily injuries from a vehicle accident (damage to your vehicle is not covered).
  • You must be a resident of Alberta, or live in a province with a similar program that would cover Albertans.
  • The accident must have occurred in Alberta.
  • The collision was the fault of an uninsured or unknown driver.
  • Only the uninsured or unknown driver is at fault

Before filing a claim, you must investigate all possible insurance coverage, even partial coverage. Be sure to contact your insurance company to pay for interim medical expenses. If you were in a hit-and run, MVAC requires that you collect contact information from witnesses and canvass for other possible witnesses. You must also make “reasonable efforts” to identify the other driver.

Do I have to file a lawsuit?

If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you must file a lawsuit against them and serve a notice of your lawsuit on the liable person or people.
With hit-and runs, you must file a lawsuit against the “administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.” The major exception to this rule is that if the total value of the claim is less than $25,000 and if it can be settled – with the agreement of MVAC – within two years of the date of the accident, it may not be necessary to initiate legal action.

Considering the complexities of the regulations, it is easy to see why the assistance of a lawyer is crucial at this stage.

What are the deadlines for starting an MVAC claim?

You usually have two years to start a legal action after an accident in Alberta. For hit and runs, however, you must notify MVAC about your potential claim within 90 days of the accident. Failing to do that in that time period can result in your claim being denied. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s recommended you notify MVAC of your potential claim as soon as possible. In either situation, get in touch with a Kantor team member so we can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

How much can I receive from MVAC?

MVAC’s maximum combined payment for all victims of an accident is $200,000. If there is more than one claimant to an accident, and the total value of all claims exceeds $200,000, then each claimant will receive a pro-rated share of the $200,000 maximum.

Payments may be denied if:

  • you reached an agreement on your own with the at-fault driver and didn’t involve MVAC in those discussions;
  • you left someone at-fault out of your lawsuit;
  • you didn’t complete the necessary legal steps; or
  • if it can be shown that you had the opportunity to obtain details from the at-fault driver at the time of the accident or from witnesses, but you failed to do so.

Where do I launch my lawsuit?

That depends on the size of your claim. The monetary limit in a provincial court is $50,000, exclusive of interest and costs. This court can often be faster, less expensive and less legally complicated than the Court of Queen’s Bench.

If your claim exceeds $50,000, you will have to sue in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Legal proceedings at the Queen’s Bench are more procedurally complex, but this may be the appropriate venue if there is a dispute regarding liability, consent or negligence. There are some procedural differences between a provincial court and the Court of Queen’s Bench, and some of the terminology is different. For example, a Statement of Claim in the Court of Queen’s Bench is called a Civil Claim in Provincial Court.


AFTER AN ACCIDENT, CONTACT US

A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through your options and help you obtain the compensation you need to help you recover from any injuries. They can also make sure that your insurance company does not attempt to limit the compensation that you are owed. Schedule your Free Consultation by calling (403) 452-2011 or send a message to kantor@kantorllp.ca. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid for our time and attention until we settle.

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