By: Taylor Morin, Associate Lawyer
In the best of times, motor vehicle accidents are stressful and confusing events. This is especially the case if the other vehicle leaves the scene of the accident. If you are ever in a hit and run accident, there are several things that you should know and several things that you should do.
Things you should know about hit and run accidents:
If the other vehicle leaves the scene of the accident and is never located, this does not preclude you from commencing a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your damages. Under Section D of the NBPF No. 1 – Standard Owner’s Policy for New Brunswick, which applies to all automobile insurance policies issued in the Province, there is a provision that deals with unidentified vehicles. This provision states that in the event of an accident with an unidentified vehicle, your own insurance company must compensate you for any amounts that you would have been legally entitled to recover from the unidentified driver. Essentially, your own insurance company steps into the shoes of the unidentified driver.
In New Brunswick, this coverage only extends to a maximum of $200,000.00. However, if your insurance policy carries the Family Protection Endorsement (“NBEF No. 44 Endorsement”), you can potentially access your own insurance limits to cover the difference between the value of your claim and the maximum coverage under Section D. Often times, people carry insurance policy limits of $1,000,000.00 and if your policy carries the NBEF No.44, you can access those limits in a claim against an unknown driver.
Things you should do after a hit and run accident:
1) Identify any details about the unknown driver or the unknown vehicle that could assist the police in locating the vehicle and driver. This includes but is not limited to: the make and model of the vehicle, the colour of the vehicle, the license plate number, and any physical characteristics of the driver.
2) Report the accident to the police immediately. Do not wait to do this. Section D of the Standard Automobile Policy requires that you report the accident within 24 hours of the accident, or as soon as practicable. However, it is always best to report the accident immediately.
3) If possible, take pictures of your damaged vehicle and the scene of the Accident.
4) As soon as possible, write a detailed account of how the accident occurred and any details that you noticed about the unidentified driver or vehicle.
5) If you are injured, see a doctor immediately.
6) Within 30 days of the accident, provide your insurer with a written notice, stating that you were implicated in an accident with an unknown driver.
7) If your insurance company requests it, make your vehicle available for inspection.
8) If you are injured, hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
DISCLAIMER: The publications on this website are intended to provide information of a general nature and not legal advice. The information contained in this publication is current to the date of the publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.