Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident the Same as Hit and Run?

If you leave the scene of any car accident that causes injuries to people, animals or results in some property damage, you may be both civilly and criminally liable for hit and run. After you are in an automobile collision, the laws of Canada and British Columbia obligate you to stop and investigate and to report it to the appropriate authorities.

At Preszler Law, we represent individuals throughout British Columbia who have suffered property losses and injuries in hit and run car crashes. We offer dedicated and compassionate legal services to help automobile accident victims to recover the full reparations they are entitled to receive from the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) and other insurers that cover vehicles in the province.

The Kinds of Accidents That Are Considered to Be Hit and Runs 

Under Canadian Law, the definition of “hit and run” includes more than just fleeing from a collision between two or more moving vehicles. A driver will be liable for this, for example, if they hit an unoccupied parked vehicle and fail to leave any contact information for the owner. Similarly, a driver who hits a pedestrian or a bicyclist and fails to stop afterward will also be liable. Furthermore, drivers in Canada have also been investigated for hit and run for failing to stop and report collisions with animals. Even hitting inanimate objects such as lamp posts and street signs can expose a driver to this type of liability.   

Filing a Claim When the Other Driver Leaves the Accident Scene

The ICBC has published procedures for making hit and run claims when a person suffers property losses and injuries, and the driver who caused the accident leaves the scene. Specifically:

  • the affected motorist should gather as much information as is possible about the driver who left the scene, including the make and model of the car, license tag, the direction in which the car was moving before and after, and as thorough a description of the driver as is possible;
  • if property damage is more than $1,000 or if anybody was injured in the accident, the hit and run victim should file a police report within 24 hours with as much information about the accident and the other driver as possible;
  • as soon as possible and in no event later than six months after a hit and run accident, the victim should initiate a claim with the ICBC or any other insurer that the victim might use for accident claims.

The ICBC provides British Columbia residents with liability coverage of up to $200,000 to reimburse them for medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitative therapy, and property damage. This limit also applies to weekly disability payments and death benefits.  Canadian citizens who live in provinces outside of British Columbia or that are victims of hit and run accidents outside of the province will be subject to different limits.

Hit and Run Criminal and Civil Liability

Modern criminal investigative procedures have given police and law enforcement authorities a significant number of tools to track down hit and run drivers. A motorist who is found guilty can face monetary penalties and prison terms of up to ten years. More severe penalties are likely if the accident caused injuries.

A person who suffers injuries and property losses in this type of accident can also file a civil lawsuit against the driver who left the accident scene. If this has happened to you, consult with our team of car accident lawyers for more information on the damages that you may be entitled to recover.

Contact the ICBC Lawyers at Preszler Law

We have offices throughout British Columbia, and assist victims of hit and run accidents to recover the full amount of reparations they are entitled to receive from the ICBC and other liability insurers. We offer complimentary consultations for all parties who have suffered property losses and injuries when the other driver has left the accident scene.

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