Guide to Hit and Run Claims

hit and runYou were involved in a motor vehicle accident, but the other vehicle drove off before you could record any information. What do you do next?

If you are involved in a hit and run accident in British Columbia, you may be entitled to compensation from ICBC for your injuries and vehicle damage, but you need to make attempts to identify the driver of the other vehicle. However, most people are unaware of the steps they need to take in order to make a successful hit and run claim.

According to the legislation, you must make "all reasonable efforts" to determine the identity of the unknown driver. But what does that mean?

The following is a useful guide to follow if you are involved in a hit and run, but this is by no means an exhaustive list of the steps you can take. If you are unsure of what to do next, contact us right away and one of our experienced lawyers can assist you with the process.

At the scene

If at all possible, try to record the licence plate number of the other vehicle.

If the other vehicle drives off and you are unable to record its licence plate number, you should do the following at the scene of the accident:

  • Record as much information about the other vehicle as possible, including, for example: make and model, colour, type of vehicle (e.g. van, truck), areas of vehicle that are damaged, any other distinguishing features, and any features of the driver
  • If it is safe to do so, look for any witnesses to the accident, such as other drivers, pedestrian bystanders, people in nearby homes or businesses
  • Record as much information as possible about where, when and how the accident occurred

Of course, your safety comes first, so if you are injured or in shock, or it is not safe (e.g. you are on a busy highway), you aren't expected to take as many steps at the scene to determine the identity of the other driver. However, you should still do as much as you can following the accident.

Following the accident

Simply reporting the accident to the police and ICBC and expecting them to investigate the accident is insufficient to succeed in a hit and run claim. You should take as many steps as possible to determine the identity of the unknown driver to protect your interest.

These are the most important steps that you should take after the accident:

  • Report the accident to the police as soon as possible - provide as much information as possible
  • Follow up with the police regarding the progress of their investigation
  • Report the accident to ICBC as soon as possible
  • You must provide written notice of the hit and run as soon as possible to ICBC
  • Post signs in the area looking for witnesses
  • Canvass nearby homes or businesses to see if anyone witnessed the accident

Here are additional steps you may take to identify the unknown driver:

  • Ask the surrounding businesses if they have video cameras that may have captured the accident
  • Place an advertisement in the newspaper

If you or someone you know was injured in a hit & run accident, please contact us right away. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that ICBC will deny your claim.