Hit and run: What should you do?

Being in a car accident is overwhelming at the best of times, but imagine how you would feel if the guy who crashed into you takes off.

Being in a car accident is overwhelming at the best of times, but imagine how you would feel if the guy who crashed into you takes off and you have no idea who he is.

What are you supposed to do then?

Our Insurance (Vehicle) Act provides compensation for individuals injured in such a situation, but there are specific things you must do in order to protect your opportunity to make that claim.

Most important of all, you must make all “reasonable efforts” to find the identity of the unknown driver and owner of the vehicle he was driving.

Reasonable efforts include:

1. Talking to all witnesses at the scene (this includes people in the neighbourhood or in stores/coffee shops located close to the scene who may have seen something);

2. Returning to the scene to post signs with your contact information to locate witnesses;

3. Running an advertisement in the local newspapers looking for the name of the driver;

4. Providing written notice of the hit and run to ICBC as soon as possible, including details of why that person is at fault for the collision; and

5. Reporting the collision to the police.

The circumstances of each hit and run are different, so what is considered as “all reasonable efforts” depends on the situation.

We know that if you had a chance to record the license plate number but never did, you unfortunately have probably not made reasonable efforts and that will be fatal to your claim.

The same is true if you did get the plate number but lost it.

ICBC has no duty to explain any of this to you.  A personal injury lawyer will work with you to make sure you have made reasonable efforts to find the unknown driver.

– Kim Briscoe is a personal injury lawyer with the law firm of Waterstone Law

Group LLP.

She can be reached by e-mail at kim@watertonelaw.com.