Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident with a Hit-and-Run Driver? — Your Rights in Ontario
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a vehicle strikes another vehicle or person, and then leaves the scene of the accident. While these accidents are common, many people do not know how to proceed after such an accident. Victims of hit-and-run accidents are put into an incredibly difficult position as they may be left with injuries, medical bills, and car damage.
Failing to stop after an accident is an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Penalties include:
- A fine between $400 and $2,000;
- Imprisonment for up to six months; and
- Suspension of driver’s licence for up to two years.
When involved in a hit-and-run accident, the first thing that you should do is remain calm and check if anyone has been injured. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately. If no one is injured, the next thing you should do is try to record any information that you remember about the vehicle that caused the accident — this includes the make and model of the car, the colour, a description of the driver, and the license plate number. The license plate is the most important piece of information that you can collect. Additionally, try and talk to anyone who may have witnessed the accident and collect their contact information in case their testimony is needed later. Talking to witnesses will allow you to collect more information to give to your insurance company, to your personal injury lawyer, and to the police. It is also important to take photographs of the damage to your car as they may be pertinent to your insurance claim.
A hit-and-run is a criminal offence and the driver will face severe consequences if caught. As such, you should file a police report as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that you can provide them with all vital information. After the police have done their report, you should then report the accident to your insurance company.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, report the accident to the police within 24 hours to ensure that you are able to file a claim. Additionally, consulting a hit-and-run lawyer can help to give you peace of mind and strengthen your case to get you the compensation you deserve. A hit-and-run lawyer can help you to pursue legal action against an unidentified vehicle, and, in many cases, against your own insurer for under-insured, uninsured accident coverage.