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Hit & Run Accident Ontario

Everything You Need to Know About Hit and Run Accident in Ontario

Dec. 12, 2018 - in

While car accidents are common, many Ontarian’s do not know the rules and regulations that dictate how a driver should proceed after being involved in a crash. Not knowing the procedure that should be taken after being involved in a car accident can lead to devastating consequences and can result in a hit and run claim. Ask any personal injury lawyer and they will tell you that they see hit and run penalty and cases every single day. Many believe that you only have to stay at the scene of a car accident if you were the person who caused it, that is simply not true. It is imperative for drivers to take the time and familiarize themselves with Ontario’s rules and regulations of the road.  

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

Simply put - a hit and run accident is when one vehicle, strikes another vehicle or a person and then he/she does not remain at the scene of the accident.

Any driver who leaves the scene of an accident will face stiff penalties that are outlined in the Highway Traffic Act.

Drivers will often times flee the scene of an accident - but why?  After causing an accident some drivers feel ashamed or embarrassed. Some negligent drivers won’t stop after being in an accident because they are driving a car without insurance, or in some cases, they don’t even have a license. Some drivers do not stop because they already have a suspended license and don’t want to get in trouble with the police. In many drinking and driving cases, a driver will leave the scene of an accident, even if it wasn’t their fault because they fear that when the police arrive they will figure out that they are intoxicated. The same scenario goes for drivers who are under the influence of drugs. Another excuse that a personal injury lawyer hears often is that they were in a rush to be somewhere and didn’t have the time to stop. Some drivers do stop but once they see that the accident victim is hurt or unresponsive they get scared and leave.

Depending on a severity of the accident you are involved in - if you flee the scene you could face significant charges, fines and you could even face jail time. Drivers rarely realize that hit and run consequences are extremely harsh and that by leaving the scene of an accident they will make things a lot worse for themselves.

Drivers will often times flee the scene of an accident - but why?  After causing an accident some drivers feel ashamed or embarrassed. Some negligent drivers won’t stop after being in an accident because they are driving a car without insurance, or in some cases, they don’t even have a license. Some drivers do not stop because they already have a suspended license and don’t want to get in trouble with the police. In many drinking and driving cases, a driver will leave the scene of an accident, even if it wasn’t their fault because they fear that when the police arrive they will figure out that they are intoxicated. The same scenario goes for drivers who are under the influence of drugs. Another excuse that a personal injury lawyer hears often is that they were in a rush to be somewhere and didn’t have the time to stop. Some drivers do stop but once they see that the accident victim is hurt or unresponsive they get scared and leave.

Depending on a severity of the accident you are involved in - if you flee the scene you could face significant charges, fines and you could even face jail time. Drivers rarely realize that hit and run consequences are extremely harsh and that by leaving the scene of an accident they will make things a lot worse for themselves.

If you are caught leaving the scene of an accident you will be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, or under provincial statute in Ontario.

What Should You Do After Being Involved in a Hit and Run Accident?

If you or your car is hit by another vehicle, which then proceeds to flee the scene of the accident, the very first thing you should do is try your hardest to record any and all information about the vehicle that you are able to see. Try to write down the make and model of the car, the colour of the car and any description you can get of the driver. The most important piece of information you can get is the license plate number, if possible. Do your very best to talk to anyone and everyone who may have witnessed the accident. The more people who saw the accident will mean the more information and more details you will be able to provide to the police, insurance company and personal injury lawyer. Be sure to collect all of the witnesses contact information, like phone number and address because later their testimony will become very useful.

If you were not in the car and did not witness the accident take place but realize when you return to your car that it has been damaged or involved in an accident - immediately ask around and see if anyone witnessed the incident take place. In either case, your next step should be to report the accident to the police.

Always File a Police Report as Soon as Possible

Anytime someone leaves the scene of an accident is a severe offence and the driver of a hit and run automobile will face intense consequences if they're caught. Being able to provide the police with pertinent details as soon as you remember them will increase the chances of the hit and run driver being apprehended.

If your vehicle has been damaged when it was parked, wait nearby to the accident for the police to arrive. Timing is very important - canvas the area for people who may have witnessed the hit and run. Ask witnesses to stay behind and wait for the police so they can provide a statement for you. It’s also a good idea to go into local stores or nearby banks that may have surveillance video that will help catch the hit and run driver.  

It’s a great idea to take photographs of the damage that was done to your car for later reference, the pictures might be beneficial for your insurance claim. Being charged in a hit and run accident Ontario is a very serious offence that the police do not take lightly. 

 After the police are done taken their report, your next step should be to report the accident to your insurance company. Your insurance company will require that you submit the police report before they start handling your claim as a hit and run car accident. Insurance companies are very cautious when it comes to hit and run cases due to the amount of fraudulent reports they receive in a year.

Reporting a Hit and Run Accident to Your Insurance Company

With a hit and run incident there is no other driver to hold responsible, this means that only your insurance company will be accountable for paying the damages that the hit and run driver caused.  Hit and run incidents are the only incidents where you will be required to pay your collision deductible, even when it wasn’t your fault. The reason being that there is no other insurance company involved to that can pay off the damages.

A hit and run accident will be covered under collision coverage, which is the reason you will have to pay the deductible of your coverage/policy. There is no coverage option on your policy that will cover a hit and run. If you have not chosen to carry the optional liability coverage, you will not have insurance that will cover the damage caused to your car in the hit and run.

Insurance companies will look into all of the details of your claim, if they determined that the accident was not your fault - your insurance company will not increase your insurance premiums.  The only out of pocket expenses that the victim of a hit and run will incur is the deductible for the repairs.   Sometimes drivers will try to hide a hit and run from their insurance company - not knowing the police have already notified them. Many insurance companies will consider this a breach of contract seeing as how you did not disclose this information to them.   At this point they may cancel your coverage or increase your premiums.  Below we will discuss this further.

What if I Was The Person Who Caused The Hit and Run Accident?

If you were the person who left the scene of an accident and caused a hit and run accident your insurer will almost indefinitely raise your rates and insurance premiums.  If you caused the hit and run accident and were at fault your insurance company will consider you are a “high risk driver” to insure. Your insurance company may cancel your entire insurance policy if they consider you too much of a liability.

Another aspect to a hit and run case is if you have injured a pedestrian or killed someone else that was involved in the collision. If this is the case your insurer may not cover the legal fees because when you leave the scene of an accident you are breaking the law. If you were to be charged in a hit and run after seriously injuring or killing someone it would be virtually impossible for you to find another insurance company that would ever insure you because of the risk they would be taking to do so.  Also, hit and run accidents can stay on your insurance record for at least 4 years or up to 7 years.

Will My Insurance Cover Hit and Run In Parking Lot?

Hit and run accidents tend to happen very frequently in parking lots, for some reason offenders will often times think they can get away with it and they also think it is less of a serious crime because it was an accident that wasn’t committed on the road, but that’s not true - it’s still a very serious crime. These days almost all residential and commercial building parking lots are equipped with security cameras. If you are a victim or the cause of a hit and run accident you should always report it to your insurer. Be sure to keep any have evidence you have to prove that you were not at fault and then your insurer may approve your claim hassle free. Remember to always take pictures of the location the accident took place and of any damage that was done to your car. After accessing the damage take your car to a mechanic to assess what the damages will cost to have fixed. As per the extent of the damage - report it to the police within 24 hours. At this point inform your insurer about the hit and run accident as soon as possible. This will help to determine that you were not at fault.

Checklist: What Should You Do When Involved in a Hit and Run in Ontario?

  • Stay calm - check if anyone has been injured.
  • If the collision has resulted in any injuries call 911 immediately.
  • If no one has been injured, estimate the property damage for both cars.
  • When property damage is less than $2000 then you can report it to a collision center in your area.
  • Note the date and location that the collision took place, the more details you have the better
  • Take photos of your car and the other cars damage for collision center and your car.
  • Take pictures of evidence like other cars paint scraping off onto your car.
  • Check if anyone saw the accident take place and jot down as many details from witnesses about the other car or the driver as possible.
  • Always be sure to take down the witness contact details.
  • Report accident to the collision reporting center or the police.
  • Inform your insurance company of the hit and run.
  • Call a personal injury lawyer who specializes in hit and run accidents.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Who Can Help

Were you involved in a hit and run Ontario collision and don’t know what to do? Deciding whether or not to proceed with a hit and run claim can be confusing and scary. Before moving forward on your own, contact one of the best hit and run - car injury lawyer, Steven Polak.

Steven is personal injury lawyer who will take the time to collect all of the evidence needed to prove your case and help you get exactly what you deserve from your hit and run claim.

Call Steven today at (905) 409-2438 and schedule your free consultation now! 

Steven has acted as counsel in lawsuits in a number of different cities in Ontario, including Toronto, Ajax, Whitby, Mississauga, Scarborough, Oshawa, Newmarket, Thornhill, Markham, Brantford and the GTA. He has also successfully represented countless victims of hit and run cases.

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