- WHAT is a HIT and RUN ACCIDENT ? WHO HAS the RIGHT to MAKE a CLAIM, and for HOW MUCH?
- WHAT ARE YOUR OBLIGATIONS as a VICTIM of a HIT and RUN ACCIDENT?
- INJURED in a HIT and RUN ACCIDENT OUTSIDE of BRITISH COLUMBIA?
WHAT is a HIT and RUN ACCIDENT ? WHO HAS the RIGHT to MAKE a CLAIM, and for HOW MUCH?
A hit and run accident occurs when you are struck by another motorist, who then either leaves or flees the scene before you are able to ascertain their identity. In such circumstances, the law in British Columbia allows you to make an ICBC hit and run injury claim, provided that you fulfill certain statutory requirements. Every B.C. resident, even if you do not own or insure a vehicle, is covered for up to $200,000 under Section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act if the hit and run accident occurs in B.C on a “highway”. If you have Underinsured Motorist Protection through your basic Autoplan, this may apply as well, if your damages are more than $200,000.
It is important to note that the hit and run accident must occur on a “highway” in B.C. The legislative definitions of “highway” in Section 1 of the Transportation Act, and Section 1 of the Motor Vehicle Act, are fortunately quite broad:
- all public streets, roads, trails, lanes, bridges, trestles, tunnels, ferry landings and approaches, and any other public way
- every road, street, lane, or right of way designed or intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles
- every private place or passageway to which the public, for the purpose of the parking or servicing of vehicles, has access or is invited, but does not include an industrial road.
WHAT ARE YOUR OBLIGATIONS as a VICTIM of a HIT and RUN ACCIDENT?
There is a common misconception that a hit and run victim can simply report the matter to ICBC and the police, and then simply have them take care of things.
This is, in fact, not the case, and following this path will likely get your claim dismissed. Under British Columbia law, it is incumbent upon hit and run victims to make “reasonable efforts” to ascertain the identity of the driver and/or owner of the vehicle that caused the hit and run accident. It should be noted that you do not have to actually find the driver and/or owner of the other vehicle. Whether or not a claimant has made “reasonable efforts” will depend on the circumstances of each case.
If you reside outside of B.C., and are the victim of a hit and run accident in B.C., then, pursuant to Section 24(12)(b), your compensation is limited to what a B.C. resident could recover under the same circumstances from a similar fund in the jurisdiction in which you reside.
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident in B.C., it is important to arrange for a free consultation with Veale Law, as there are certain actions you must perform, or you may lose your right to make an ICBC hit and run injury claim:
- You must report the hit and run accident to ICBC immediately, or so soon as is reasonably practicable
- You must notify the police of the hit and run accident within 48 hours of the accident with respect to vehicle damage
- You also need to provide written notification to ICBC within six months of the hit and run accident, but preferably much sooner
- In addition to reporting the hit and run accident to ICBC and the police, you should also make the following “reasonable efforts” to ascertain the identity of the driver and/or owner that struck you:
- Place posters at the scene asking for witnesses, and take photographs of the posters for evidence purposes: if you do not have a digital camera or phone that records the date and time that the photograph was taken, make notes yourself
- Speak to local merchants or residents in the area to see if they saw anything, or have any information : keep track of who you spoke to, what was said, and on what date and time
- Place an ad in the newspapers, similar to the posters placed at the scene : keep a copy of the newspapers
- Place online ads on Craigslist and Kijiji : keep a copy of the ads
- Look for debris and skid marks at the scene of the hit and run accident : measure the skid marks, take photographs of the scene, and collect the debris, if the police have not already done so
INJURED in a HIT and RUN ACCIDENT OUTSIDE of BRITISH COLUMBIA?
If you are a B.C. resident, and are the victim of a hit and run accident elsewhere in Canada, with the exception of the Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, then, subject to certain exceptions, you can be covered for your injuries, as well as property damage if you have collision coverage with ICBC.
If you are a B.C. resident, and are the victim of a hit and run accident in the Yukon, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, or in the United States, then, subject to certain exceptions, you can be covered for your injuries. Further, to be deemed to be an “insured”, you need to be an owner named in an owners’ certificate, a member of a household of such an owner, someone with a valid drivers licence, or a member of a household of someone with a valid driver’s licence. As well, you can be covered for property damage if you have collision coverage with ICBC. There must be also be physical contact between the unidentified vehicle, and the insured, or the vehicle that the insured was in.