Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are quite common. If you’ve ever parked your car in a parking lot and returned to find a new scratch or dent, then you’ve likely been the victim of a hit and run accident. Simply put, a hit and run accident occurs when a vehicle strikes either another vehicle, person or piece of personal property and then flees the scene. It’s a frustrating situation regardless of how big or small the impact is. If the damage is minor enough, some drivers may choose not to pursue the situation seriously. However, even seemingly minor damage can affect the lifespan of your vehicle and certainly the resale value. Whether you were or weren’t around when the accident occurred, it’s important to know that you have options. Here’s a brief overview of how to proceed after a hit and run accident.
What to Do After A Hit and Run Accident
1. Call 911 if there were injuries
The first and foremost concern is the well-being of yourself and any passengers. If you or a passenger were inside the vehicle when it was hit, the first thing you should do is check for injuries. If any injuries were sustained, call 911 or seek medical attention right away.
2. Collect information
The next step is to collect as much information as possible. For example, if you witnessed the accident, write down as much as you can remember about the vehicle like its colour, make and model. Write down anything you can remember about the license plate, even if it’s only a few digits. If you didn’t witness the accident, ask around to see if someone else did. Should you find a witness, you’ll need to get their contact information. Additionally, make sure to take photos of the accident scene and the damage to your vehicle.
3. Report the hit and run to the police
In Ontario you need to report the damage to the collision reporting centre (CRC). At the designated CRC, a police officer will assess the damage to your vehicle and complete a collision report.
4. Report the hit and run with your insurance company
Unless the at fault driver is caught, you will be dealing with your own insurance company. A hit and run accident will be covered under your collision coverage as long as you have it. Although the accident is not your fault, you will still have to pay the deductible for this coverage. However, because you are not at fault, your premiums should not go up.
5. Seek legal advice
Fleeing the scene of an accident is a serious charge under the Criminal Code of Canada and the provincial statute in Ontario. If the at fault driver is eventually caught, they will be brought to court for this offence and you will also have your own opportunity to seek legal action. Hiring an experienced lawyer will help you navigate each situation should they occur.
Finding damage to your vehicle without anyone to hold accountable is an incredibly frustrating situation. Hopefully the information above will serve as a guideline for how to proceed if this ever happens to you. You should also consider contacting an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer will be able to answer your specific questions, offer advice and ensure you get what you’re entitled to.