If you’re being sued for causing injuries in a motor vehicle accident and you don’t have insurance or your insurance company won’t defend you, you have several options.
- hire a lawyer – visit Find legal assistance in Alberta for information about legal aid and how to find a lawyer
- defend yourself and negotiate a private settlement – this is not recommended
- ask the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC) to handle your claim – to do this, contact MVAC
- choose not to defend yourself and be noted in default – MVAC can settle the case without your consent and you still may owe money to the injured party
Owing a debt
Motor Vehicle Accident Recoveries (MVAR) enforces the MVAC judgment decisions by recovering the funds paid out on your behalf by MVAC from the at-fault parties.
If MVAC decides a victim should be compensated for their injuries, the amount paid to the victim is a debt you’ll owe.
The program’s maximum payout is $200,000 per accident, plus legal costs – you’ll be responsible to repay the victim's entire compensation.
When a claim is paid, a court judgment will be made against you.
After we’re notified of this judgment, we:
- register writs against your personal property including:
- real estate, vehicles and recreational vehicles estate – your property becomes a guarantee for the repayment of your debt similar to collateral for a loan
- send you a notification letter by mail
It’s important to note, if you were involved in an accident, there may be other claims and fines against you. The debt you owe MVAR is separate from debts you might owe for traffic violations or criminal action.
Not aware of a lawsuit
When a victim files a lawsuit for damages, all reasonable efforts are made to contact you – the at-fault party.
These efforts include trying to serve you a copy of the claim by:
- locating you and serving you in person
- serving you substitutionally – delivering a copy to your last known address or publishing claim information in local newspapers
Even if you refused to cooperate or you were never located, if the victim completed all necessary legal actions and served you substitutionally, the lawsuit will proceed and you’ll be found liable.
If you have questions about your case or you disagree with the judgment made against you, you’re encouraged to contact a lawyer for help with this process.
If you don’t pay your debt to MVAR, collection actions will be taken against you. These can include:
- suspending your driver’s license and vehicle registration across Canada
- garnishing funds from your:
- bank accounts
- tax refunds and rebates
- seizing your personal property
- registering your debt with Canada Revenue Agency – in its Refund Set-off Program
To request that we consider terminating a garnishment of your bank account or wages, contact your recoveries officer.
After you’ve been notified of your debt, you can:
- pay your debt in full
- apply to MVAR to repay your debt in installments – if you’re approved, you must:
- agree to a repayment plan
- select your payment method – most payments are made through direct bank withdrawal
To apply for payment installments or to sign up for a direct bank withdrawal, contact MVAR.
If you’re making installment payments, you’ll be assigned a recoveries officer.
Your recoveries officer will handle all aspects of your repayment including:
- payment schedules
- changes to your address or banking information
- changes to your financial situation including:
- changes to your payment amount or payment method
- reinstating your driver’s license if it was suspended for non-payment
- negotiating the removal of a writ against your property if you’d like to sell the property
To contact your recoveries officer by phone, call the number corresponding to the first letter of your last name below:
Your repayment agreement is reviewed annually and revised if needed.
Contact your recoveries officer as soon as possible if you’re:
- experiencing financial hardships
- need to defer a payment due to an unexpected crisis
- on a limited income like AISH or social assistance
We keep all your file information private and confidential. Sometimes, we’re required by law to release your information to other agencies that can include the following:
- Canada Revenue Agency
- registry agents
- financial institutions
- employers and landlords
- other government agencies
If you would like us to share information with another person like a spouse and allow them to make payments on your behalf, you can name them as a third party on your account.
You can receive the following account information from your recoveries officer:
- current balance and original balance
- statement of account
- judgment details such as dates, district and court action number and court contact number
- date and location of the vehicle accident
- some court documents including consent judgments and assignment of judgments
Due to privacy laws, we’re unable to release information about:
- the victim
- contact information for other parties involved in the same accident
- payment arrangements made by other parties
- other court documents – these can be obtained from the courthouse
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