HIT AND RUN ACCIDENTS – What you need to know
Unfortunately, hit and run accidents happen frequently in BC. Knowing how to deal with these types of accidents can make the difference between success and failure with your injury claim.
A hit and run is when someone damages your vehicle, but leaves the scene of the accident before you can get their information or the vehicle’s licence plate number. It can also happen when a pedestrian or cyclist is hit by a driver who doesn’t stop. Section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231creates a statutory remedy where injury, death or property damage occurs as a result of a hit and run accident.
Remember to give written notice of the hit and run to ICBC as soon as you can and no later than six months after the accident (s. 24(2)). If you don’t, your claim could be denied.
You must take all reasonable steps to identify the driver and the vehicle that hit you.
You should do the following:
- Call the police and obtain a police case file number;
- Call ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim at (604)520-8222 to report the accident;
- If you have collision coverage through another insurer, also call that company.
- Talk to witnesses and obtain contact information;
- Interview people who work or live in the vicinity of the accident scene who may have witnessed the accident;
- Post signs at the accident scene looking for witnesses. Keep copies and take pictures of the signs. Note the date you posted the signs;
- Post an ad in the classified section of your local newspaper looking for witnesses. Keep copies of the ad, including the date when it was published and your receipt for the cost of placing it. In addition, you can post your ad on websites such as www.craigslist.org.
- Look for pieces of the other vehicle that may have been left at the scene of the accident. Preserve this;
- Do not try to repair or clean the damaged area to your vehicle prior to your appointment with ICBC.
If you are planning to hire a lawyer, do it as soon as possible. The lawyer will help you with the steps set out above and will ensure that you comply with the notice and limitation periods set out in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.