Everything you need to know about how law enforcement can get involved whether you’re the victim or perpetrator of a hit and run.
Hit and run accidents can be frustrating and stressful. As the vehicle owner, it is your responsibility to stop your vehicle, assess damages or check for injuries, and exchange insurance information or file a police report if necessary. When you’ve been in an accident, and you or the other person flee the scene, this could result in charges, fines, and sometimes jail time.
There are numerous reasons people may flee or not stay at the scene of hit and run accidents. Embarrassment, fear, intoxication, not having insurance or a valid license are some of the most common reasons. Whatever the reason is, some hit and run accidents can be severe or devastating, and the police may need to be involved in holding the perpetrator accountable.
When to call the police in hit and run accidents
If you or someone else is injured in a hit and run, you must call 911 right away. If there are no injuries, no need to contact 911. Your local police station will have a dedicated phone number to report collisions and hit and run accidents. You should file a police report as soon as possible, preferably at the scene of the accident if it is safe to do so.
Police procedures for hit and run accidents
You must file a police report for law enforcement to take action against hit and run accidents.
You should gather as much information as possible for your police report:
- The license plate of the other vehicle involved (if you have it)
- Witnesses and their contact information
- The time and location of the accident
- Any information you have about the other vehicle (make, model, colour) and/or the driver
- Photos of the damages to your car and the scene of the accident
- Possible or evident damage to the other persons’ vehicle
The more information you can gather, the easier it will be for the police to find the other driver. All details of hit and run accidents help to conduct a thorough investigation. Upon making a report, a police officer may attend the scene, investigate personally, and contact you or a detective. If a detective must investigate your accident, it may take time for them to follow up.
There are a wide variety of penalties for those who fail to remain at the scene of hit and run accidents under the Highway Traffic Act Section 200 (2) and the Criminal Code of Canada Section 320.16 (1)
I’ve committed a hit and run; what do I do?
If you left the scene of an accident, you should do the right thing and come forward as soon as you can. You may not have realized you possibly caused an accident until you get home and notice damage to your car. Maybe you panicked and didn’t fully process what had happened before you left.
Regardless of the situation, it looks much better for you if you take responsibility. However, it may be best to hire legal help before contacting the police or your insurance company about hit and run accidents. They’ll be able to offer guidance and assistance in handling potential criminal charges.