There are roughly 9000 hit and run claims in Canada every year. While many of these accidents involve pedestrians, there are plenty that involve collisions with other vehicles.
Here’s everything you need to know about hit and runs: what happens if you commit one, what happens if you get into an accident with a hit and run driver, and more.
Hit and run drivers commit this crime for any number of reasons. Some panic in the moment and hit the gas before they really think about their actions. Some really are callous and don’t care that they’ve just hurt another human being. Some are in the process of committing another, more severe crime and are afraid of getting caught. Some are afraid their insurance rates will go up, failing to realize their insurance rates will go up far more when they are caught.
Whatever the reason, hit and run driving is a crime in every province in Canada. Fleeing the scene of any accident opens the driver up to consequences. You’re not only required to remain at the scene, you’re required to stop and render aid to anyone who might need it as well.
What constitutes leaving the scene of an accident in Alberta?
You have left the scene of an accident if you don’t provide the proper information to the other driver (contact and insurance information) and if you fail to wait for the police.
Do you have to stop at the scene of an accident?
Bystanders are not required to stop at the scene of an accident.
What do I do if I hit a car in a parking lot?
If you hit a car in a parking lot you are supposed to report it both to the police and to your insurance company. You’re also supposed to leave a note on the windshield with your name, phone number, and insurance information. The note must have accurate contact information or you can be charged with fleeing the scene.
The penalties for a hit and run on a parked car are a little kinder: 3 demerits and fines ranging from $400 to $750. You can even be charged if you didn’t realized you hit the other car.
How much trouble can you get into for leaving the scene of an accident in Alberta?
You can get into quite a bit of trouble. You can spend 6 months to 5 years in jail, incur a fine of up to $2300 and can receive 7 demerit points on your license. You’re only allowed to accumulate 15 demerit points before your license gets suspended.
Driving on a suspended license can mean more jail time, additional fines, and even the impoundment of your vehicle. It’s not worth it.
If the police determine that you were committing a DWI or dangerous driving then you can expect additional charges, jail time, and demerit points. You may even be charged with vehicular manslaughter or homicide if you strike and kill a pedestrian and then flee the scene of the accident.
Read Also: Why do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
How does a hit and run impact your insurance in Canada?
If you’re convicted of a hit and run accident you can expect your car accident rates go up by 87% or more.
If you were the victim of a hit and run accident and you do everything right then your insurance rates should not change. Fear of increased insurance should never stop you from reporting an accident with a hit and run driver.
What do I do if I get into an accident with a hit and run driver in Alberta?
Start just as you’d start with any Alberta auto accident: get yourself and your car somewhere safe if you can, and call the police. Get a copy of the police report. You’ll need to provide that information to your insurance company, your lawyer, and to others. It is vital evidence.
Your next task is to gather other information and evidence. Take photos of the scene, of your vehicle, and of your injuries. If there are witnesses around, get their contact information. Try to notice if any businesses around you have exterior video cameras: the evidence they may have inadvertently collected may be invaluable to you.
Do not chase the at-fault party. You are now leaving the scene of the accident as well, and you’re putting yourself in danger. You’re also disturbing evidence that you might need to back your personal injury claim later.
Record anything you remember about the other vehicle, and find out if the witnesses got even a partial plate. You will be required to try to locate the other driver before you can take advantage of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC).
Contact a lawyer right away, especially if you want your lawyer to take point on filing a claim with your insurance company. Some insurance companies want you to report within 24 hours, some give you a little more time. Few give you more than 7 days. You need to act fast.
You will need a lawyer’s help to recover funds any time you end up in an accident with a hit-and-run driver. There are just too many variables and too many roadblocks to recovery otherwise. The more severe your injuries the more help you’ll need identifying potentially liable parties, filing claims, and launching lawsuits. You may in fact have to launch more than one lawsuit when a hit and run driver is involved.
Know More: Qualifications for Legal Aid in Alberta
Get Help Today
If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident you’ll have your work cut out for you when it is time to recover funds.
Get help from experienced auto accident lawyers. Our lawyers have over two decades of experience with personal injury cases, including cases involving hit and run drivers. We can help you attain the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, cover your lost wages, and more.
For a risk-free initial consultation, call (403) 237-9777 today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the punishment for leaving the scene of an accident?
It is a huge crime to leave the scene of an accident. Therefore, you face serious penalties based on criminal and civil charges. However, some charges could include license suspension, fines and imprisonment.
What happens if you don’t stay at the scene of an accident?
You need to stop if you have an accident. However, it isn’t necessary to be at fault, getting an injury or damage. In Alberta, if you don’t stay at the scene of an accident, you could end up with criminal or civil charges.
Is failing to stop after an accident a criminal offence?
Yes, it is a criminal offence if you fail to stop after an accident. However, you can be a suspect to injure or know someone who injured a person. On the other hand, you can also face charges when you cause damage to your surrounding like property, vehicle, wall, etc.
Do I have to stop at the scene of an accident?
It would be best if you stopped at the scene of an accident. It isn’t compulsory that you injured or caused any injuries. Nevertheless, you can turn out to have criminal prosecution or demerit points if you don’t stop.
What to do if you are in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
There are two main steps that you need to take in a motor vehicle accident, which are:
- You need to call 911 as soon as possible
- You need to file about the accident at your nearest police station.