Are You a Victim of a Hit and Run?
Cyclist, Pedestrian and Car Accidents
Getting in a car accident is any driver, cyclist or pedestrian’s nightmare. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents occur far too frequently.
A hit and run is when a driver hits a pedestrian, cyclist, property, another car, or causes any collision, and then flees the scene or doesn’t provide truthful information. In these cases, it is important to know what to do.
What Steps Do I Take If I Was Involved In A Hit and Run?
These are the steps to take if someone hits you or your vehicle and drives off:
1) Get to Safety
If you are in a car, pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible. Don’t attempt to chase or apprehend the culprit, as this can make the situation worse. If you are a pedestrian or cyclist, assuming you are conscious, get to a safe area on the sidewalk where you are out of harm’s way.
2) Seek Medical Attention
Whether you were a pedestrian, cyclist or a driver in a hit and run, you could be seriously injured. You should call 911 for immediate assistance and receive a full medical evaluation, even if you think you are fine. Often after being struck, people are in physical and emotional shock—you might not feel injured, but you still may need medical attention. Medical records from the scene of the accident can also help your insurance claim, so it is important to be medically assessed.
3) Report the Hit and Run to the Police
A hit and run is considered a crime, and it’s extremely important that it is reported as soon as possible – and MUST be within 24 hours. Ideally, the police will come with the paramedics at the scene of the hit and run. After you report to the police, you might be advised to go to a collision reporting centre. If the police tell you the damage is too minor to report, write down the information about the officer – name, badge number, and phone number – so your insurance can follow up.
In addition to criminal charges or Highway Traffic Act charges, anyone else who is at fault for an accident in Toronto can be involved in a civil suit. Personal Injury lawyers can sue the driver on behalf of the victim for negligence – Tort Claim.
4) Gather As Much Evidence As You Can
While you are waiting for the police and paramedics to arrive, gather as much evidence as possible!
It is very important to take clear and precise pictures of:
- your vehicle showing the damage from all angles
- any paint that may have transferred onto your vehicle from the one that hit it
- the surrounding area where the incident occurred.
If you were not around for the accident and discover your car has been damaged, ask anyone nearby if they witnessed the incident.
If you were a pedestrian or cyclist who was hit, take pictures of:
· everything in the area: your bicycle, the car, the plates, the traffic light, intersection, street signs, and anything else you can see.
Write any details down that you remember about the incident and vehicle that hit you. For example:
- vehicle colour
- vehicle make and model
- license plate number (even if you only remember part of it). Having the plate number makes it much more likely your deductible will be reimbursed by your insurer.
- any descriptions you can remember of the damage to the other vehicle
- which direction the other vehicle was headed
- the date, location, time and cause of the accident.
Situations like these are when a video recorder comes in handy!
If you are too shaken or injured to collect photos and information yourself, don’t hesitate to ask a bystander to help you. It is important to ask them for their name, phone number, and email address for your records.
5) Look for Witnesses
Write down any witness stories and contact information. Even if you saw or experienced the hit and run, witnesses are still important to back up your version of events.
Insurance Coverage in a Hit and Run
If you have car insurance, contact them immediately. Even if you were a pedestrian or cyclist in the accident, your car insurance policy will cover these types of accidents.Do NOT discuss fault on the scene or with the motorist’s insurance company – anything you say could be used against you in legal proceedings post-accident.
If no one involved in the collision has auto insurance, you might be eligible for compensation for your injuries or property damage through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. It is available to victims regardless of whether the driver, cyclist or pedestrian is in the wrong.
Experienced Hit and Run Accident Lawyer – Protect your Rights
If you or someone you know has been recently involved in a hit and run accident, Tony Lafazanis can assist you with filing a timely claim. As a hit and run victim, you could be fighting for many things—pain, suffering, property damages and loss of income to name some. This is why retaining an experienced accident lawyer is important to navigate the intricacies of your case and fight for your rights.
Contact Tony Lafazanis for a free case review. He will determine if you are within the statute of limitations and help you collect benefits through an accident benefits claim and tort claim.