Accidents involving an unidentified driver in BC: What You Need to Know

What happens if you are involved in an accident where the other driver has fled the scene before providing their information? Are you able to pursue a claim for injuries or damage?

In British Columbia, if you are involved in an accident where the at fault party leaves the scene, often referred to as a "hit and run" accident, under s. 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act a remedy for injuries, death, or vehicle damage caused by an unidentified driver is available. There is a maximum of $200,000 coverage available for all property damage and any injuries caused by the accident. This means that if more than one person is injured in the accident $200,000 is the total amount of coverage available for everyone involved in that accident under the Act.

If you are injured in a hit and run accident you have an obligation to take all reasonable and safe steps to identify the other vehicle and the person responsible, such as:

1. Call the police immediately if you notice a hit and run motorist leaving the scene, or within 24 hours if you are unable to call immediately;

2. Take notes right away of the description of the vehicle and/or the driver, licence plate number, direction of travel, or anything else observed about the at fault party;

3. Collect the contact information of any witnesses at the scene of the accident;

4. Shortly after the accident, post signs at the accident location looking for witnesses to help identify the driver who caused the accident and left the scene; and

5. Run advertisements in the local paper or online.

If you do not take the appropriate steps it could lead to your claim being dismissed and ultimately you would not receive compensation for your injuries.

The Insurance (Vehicle) Act states that you are required to report the claim to ICBC as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any event, within 6 months after the accident or your claim could be denied.

A hit and run claim differs from a claim where all the parties are identifiable and there are specific steps that need to be taken to ensure that your right to claim for injuries and/or vehicle damage are preserved. Linley Welwood is an experienced firm in dealing with these claims and can help you navigate this precise process. Given the time sensitivity in attempting to identify all parties it is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer right away to make sure you are protected. We invite you to contact Linley Welwood for a free consultation.

Source: Insurance (Vehicle) Act; ICBC Hit-and-Run Claims

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