WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS IF I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN A HIT & RUN?
We all understand that accidents happen. We would hope that anyone involved in an accident would have the decency to remain at the scene of the crime, and ensure that anyone in need of medical attention is assisted in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is not uncommon for a vehicle to flee the scene after striking another vehicle, a cyclist or even a pedestrian. It is both a criminal offence, and an offence under the Highway Traffic Act to leave the scene of a car accident, especially one where somebody has been hurt in a car accident.
In our experience,there are various different motivations of an at-fault driver to flee an accident scene. Some negligent drivers are in denial that an accident actually occurred, others are operating their vehicle without insurance, without a license, or had their license suspended and fear the ramifications of being caught by law enforcement. Other negligent drivers may be driving intoxicated by way of alcohol or drugs. These drivers also might not want to get caught, or believe that the penalty for fleeing an accident scene is far less than being charged with a DUI. There is no excuse for fleeing an accident scene. It is careless on so many levels and can leave a victim without timely medical care.
Fortunately, the offenders are often caught and the penalties are much more severe than they ought to have been. When the injuries are severe, the media will often cover the accident, and alert the public that the police are on the lookout for a certain make, model and year vehicle. The description of the at fault driver will also be released. The result of the ensuing manhunt is that the perpetrator will often get caught and feel the full force of the law. Hit and run collisions can result in brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, chronic pain, psychological injury, broken bones, fractures and a multitude of other personal injuries. The most important thing is for the accident victim to get proper medical treatment following the car accident.
Often clients of ours who are victims of a hit and run are concerned with who to sue in these situations where the at-fault driver was not located. In Ontario all car insurance policies contain a provision against uninsured or unknown motor vehicles. Essentially, your own car insurance company will step in place of the unknown at fault driver and indemnify you for your pain and suffering damages, loss of income, loss of competitive advantage, or any other claim which you have at law.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, please contact Pranzitelli Law today for your free consultation. We are here too help!
Wondering what steps to take if you are the victim of a hit and run? Read our Blog on Hit and Run Accidents.