How to know if you were involved in a hit and run accident in Ontario and what to do.
The day you get your driver’s license, you become responsible for your and others’ safety and when driving a vehicle. One of these responsibilities is remaining at the scene of an accident in which you are involved. Whether you hit another car, a pedestrian, or a cyclist, it is your duty to pull over safely, assess the damages, and provide your information. Leaving the scene of an accident without following the proper rules and procedures is known as a hit and run accident and carries harsh penalties and consequences.
Hit and run accidents involving another vehicle
Hit and run accidents involving other vehicles are widespread, especially in parking lots. Unfortunately, parked car accidents often go unnoticed and can be more challenging to prove. In any scenario, it’s crucial to gather as much information as possible about the other vehicle and driver. If your car was hit in a parking lot, try asking around for witnesses or nearby security cameras. If an accident occurs while you’re driving, pull over safely – do not leave the scene or chase after the other driver. Most importantly, if you or someone else sustains injuries in an accident, call 9-1-1.
- The make, model, and colour of the vehicle that hit you
- Any damage done to your car (take pictures)
- License plate number, even if you can only remember a portion of it
- The contact information of any witnesses
- Date, time, and place of the accident
After you gather as much information as possible, file a police report or contact a collision reporting center. The more information you can get, the easier it will be for police to find the person who hit you and help with your insurance claim.
Hit and run accidents are not exclusive to vehicles. As a pedestrian, you have rights that protect you when a car hits you. Ontario is a no-fault province; this means that pedestrians are always entitled to accident benefits through the driver’s insurance company – regardless of whose fault it was. The same applies if you are a cyclist.
If a driver hits you and flees the scene, gather as much information as possible, and call the police immediately. In Ontario, you must contact the police in any accident involving a pedestrian or cyclist, even if injuries are minor or non-existent.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may not be able to gather or remember information about the accident, driver or vehicle. No matter what, it’s crucial to contact a lawyer to help you receive justice and compensation.
Hit and run accidents are serious
There are many reasons as to why someone may flee the scene of an accident. However, no excuse or justification puts anyone above the law. The law does not handle hit and run accidents lightly; if you commit the crime, you can face charges under the Highway Traffic Act or the Criminal Code of Canada. Penalties can include jail time, fines of up to $2,000, demerit points, and license suspensions.