The victim of an accident could be an injured motorist, cyclist or pedestrian in need medical attention, regardless of who is at fault. Failing to remain at the scene of an accident can lead to a prison term of up to five years. A person who leaves the scene of an accident also eliminates a source of primary evidence about the cause of the accident. This evidence can assist in making a fault determination and can help public authorities in making changes to roads or signage to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
Fortunately, victims of hit and run accidents are covered by ICBC if they cannot find the at-fault driver’s name or vehicle after “reasonable efforts” are made (in accordance with the circumstances and injuries). Coverage is available if you are a motorist, bicyclist or pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle.
Section 24(1) of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act requires every driver to pay for this protection, which currently provides coverage of up to $200,000 for damages and injuries. If you injury and property losses exceed that amount, you may be able to make a claim under your own insurance as part of your underinsured motorist protection. Hit-and-run claims for collisions on private driveways, private underground parking lots, and out of province are excluded, however.
Strict Guidelines After a Hit and Run Accident
In order to be able to make a hit and run claim with ICBC, there are strict rules related to the timing of reporting and efforts made to find the driver that struck you. The immediate steps that we recommend you take include the following:
- Seek medical attention immediately (calling an ambulance yourself if you need it). Seeing a doctor will allow for your injuries to be documented and for you to obtain medical instructions and treatment;
- Notify the police right away (and within 48 hours) about the accident if they did not attend the scene at the time of the accident. Be sure to give them any useful information that you have that might help them identify the motorist, including a description of the vehicle make, model, colour, licence plate (if possible), any distinguishing features (e.g., specific damage to the vehicle, accessories or decals), and a description of the driver;
- Take photos of the accident scene and your injuries as soon as possible. Make sure the pictures have a date and you have a record of who took the photos;
- Try to locate any witnesses to the hit and run, including post-accident witnesses who could have seen the vehicle before or after the vehicle hit you (record each witness’ phone numbers, email and mailing address, and ask each witness to write down what he or she observed, including details about the vehicle itself);
- Check with local residents and business owners in the area of the accident if they saw or heard anything, even if they didn’t see the accident itself and ask if they might have any security video footage of the accident;
- Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately for a consultation about your rights;
- Notify ICBC writing as soon as possible, within six months, that you were in an accident with an unidentified motorist;
- If you cannot find witnesses, place an ad in the local newspaper and post signs in the area in which the accident occurred asking for any witnesses to the accident to contact you. Photograph your efforts made to find witnesses.
Get Assistance with Your Claim at Taylor & Blair LLP
If you were struck in a hit and run accident, Taylor & Blair LLP can help you to gather evidence, find witnesses and deal with ICBC. We will work to achieve the best possible outcome in your ICBC hit and run accident claim in BC. Using the available evidence, we can also try to locate the party that struck you and represent you in a personal injury claim if the liable party is identified. Contact our Vancouver BC lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP at 604-737-6900.