Are your Injuries Covered in a Hit and Run?
What happened if you are injured by a motor vehicle or motorist without insurance, or not enough insurance to cover all of your losses from your injuries? For example, you are struck by the driver of a stolen car or a drunk driver. Or an accident caused by a negligent driver with limited insurance.
In British Columbia, as part of your basic ICBC automobile insurance plan, there is $200,000 available if you have been the victim of a hit and run or injured by an uninsured driver. This coverage is available no matter where you are injured in North America.
What is important to note is that $200,000 is the maximum available pool of funds for all damage and injury arising from the accident. That means if more than one person is hurt, they only have available a portion of the pool of total insurance coverage available.
However, also as part of your own basic ICBC automobile insurance plan, you have Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP).
If you have the basic vehicle insurance through ICBC, everyone in your household is covered if they are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, including passengers in a BC insured vehicle, cyclists, pedestrians or transit riders. Unlike hit and run or uninsured insurance, there are restrictions to UMP insurance, depending on which jurisdiction you are injured in.
If the accident happened in British Columbia or you otherwise qualify, UMP insurance covers up to $1 million from your own policy, even if the other driver has no insurance at all. If the other driver has some insurance coverage, but not enough, UMP will pay the difference up to $1 million.
In addition to the basic UMP insurance, you have the option of increasing your UMP coverage for you and your family for $2 million in the case of injury by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
The best way to ensure that you and your family members will be able to access funds to compensate you for your accident injuries, no matter what the circumstance, is to ensure that you have adequate insurance.
However, obtaining this coverage is not an easy task. UMP coverage is considered ‘coverage of last resort’. ICBC can force you to take all steps necessary to try to recover money from the person who caused the accident before you can even access your UMP coverage. This includes litigation against the negligent driver and then when you have a judgment, trying to recover against that person. If the negligent driver cannot pay the judgment, only then can you proceed against ICBC to get payment under UMP.
As you can see, the application of the insurance coverage to your unique situation is often complicated – having independent legal advice is always recommended.
A lawyer can help you to understand your rights following an accident. If you would like advice or for more information regarding such matters, please contact Chahal Priddle LLP to set up an appointment today.