A couple times a year, someone walks through my door who’s had an accident, are not at fault, but have no insurance to help.
It doesn’t matter how badly they’re injured, with no insurance, there’s simply nothing I can do to help. It’s heartbreaking.
Having a motor vehicle accident is bad enough, but when you’re uninsured, things quickly escalate from bad to worse.
I’ll Just Take It For A Quick Spin…
People take chances all the time.
Perhaps a car enthusiast who has spent the last year restoring a classic takes it around the block just one time to see how she purrs.
Or a motorcycle owner rides a block down to his neighbour’s yard to store his bike for the winter.
Neither vehicle is insured, but it’s just a 30 second trip… what could happen?
Lewis vs. Matheson
Ask Arthur Matheson.
Mr. Matheson is a hard-working farmer in small town Ontario who used to use an ATV on his farm.
It wasn’t insured – he never took it off his property.
Except one day, six years ago, when he drove on the road for less than 30 seconds, less than 100 yards, a shortcut to the field where his sheep grazed.
Matheson was rammed by a hit and run driver, airlifted to hospital and suffered catastrophic brain injury, a shattered leg, and a fractured spine, ribs and arm.
Mr. Matheson initially sued the other driver, Lewis’, insurance company and won (the judge agreed that the ATV was a farming vehicle thus didn’t need insurance.) But Lewis’ insurance company appealed the decision through the Ontario Court of Appeal. It went to court last July. This time Matheson lost.
The message here is clear: It doesn’t matter why your vehicle is on the road or for how long. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or not. You can’t drive an uninsured vehicle, and if you do, and something happens, you’re on your own.
It’s hard enough recovering from an injury that’s not your fault, but imagine having to pay legal fees for the person who left you for death at the side of the road? Mr. Matheson is on the hook for the $55k it took Lewis’ insurance company to appeal.
The law may seem a bit heavy handed in this case, but if we take a different tact, this zero tolerance approach makes sense: Imagine that that well-intentioned but uninsured driver who was only on the road for a minute or two accidentally struck a little girl playing at the bottom of her driveway? Then what? There is no insurance company for her family to negotiate with to get her the care she needs. Sure, the law may be heavy handed, but I understand why.
So I ask you this: If you have a snowmobile or ATV, or even a car you’ve been restoring, Do not put the key in the ignition if you don’t have insurance.
Do not even think of taking it off your property, even for a test run or to drop it at the neighbours. If you’re injured while driving without insurance on a public road, you’re on your own, and the only thing worse is injuring another and putting them through it.
If your vehicle is on the road, you must have insurance, no exceptions.
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