An accident is usually just that – an unforeseen mishap that can suddenly and significantly impact your life and wellbeing. Being involved in a hit and run accident only adds to the stress and suffering you may be experiencing following an accident. Why did the driver flee? Will the police be able to track down the car? Who will cover the costs of this accident? If you were hit by another vehicle, either as a driver or pedestrian, and the other driver left the scene, you may be wondering what to do next or if it is even possible to get compensation for damages or injuries sustained from the accident. That’s where we come in. At Litwiniuk & Company, we’ve represented the victims of hit and run accidents in Calgary and across Alberta since 1976, and we understand the complexity of these types of accidents, as well as the benefits and supports you may be entitled to receive in addition to your claim. When it comes to these types of claims, the sooner you contact a Calgary Hit and Run Accident Lawyer, the better.
Top Reasons for Hit and Run AccidentsUnderstanding the “why” behind a driver fleeing the scene of an accident can be very helpful when gathering evidence and tracking down a suspect. In our experience, some of the most common scenarios include:
- The driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI);
- The driver is operating a vehicle that is either borrowed or stolen;
- The driver does not have a valid license (or their license is suspended);
- The driver is running from the law or has an outstanding warrant for their arrest;
- The driver has multiple traffic incidents and doesn’t want another;
- The driver has a company car and doesn’t want the employer to know about the crash;
- The driver does not have valid insurance; or,
- The driver goes into a state of panic.
- Call the police right away and get medical assessment. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, so if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run you must call the police immediately and complete a police report and statement. The sooner police and medical personnel arrive on scene, the better. Medics may recommend that you go to the hospital; follow that recommendation. Your health and safety are number one – always get assessed by medical professionals and follow up with your family doctor. Many injuries aren’t immediately visible and won’t be felt right away. It’s important to be able to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the accident. As well, the sooner the police are notified the better chance they will have of catching a driver on the run. They may also be able to speak with witnesses and collect relevant evidence. Keep in mind that if you are injured, having a police report can be very helpful if you choose to make a claim.
- If you are able, try to gather as much information as possible. A picture can be worth a thousand words. Take as many photos as you can of the location, damages to your vehicle, yourself, or the surrounding area, such skid marks on the road, and so on. If you don’t have a pen and paper, use your cell phone to record notes of anything you can remember about the at-fault driver and their vehicle while the memory is still fresh in your mind. This may include everything from the colour, make, or model of the vehicle, to identifying markers such as dents, scratches, any letters or numbers you recall of the license plate, or anything else that might differentiate the car from others on the road – no detail is too small. Any recollection you have of the driver or passenger descriptions can be helpful. If there are witnesses who remained with you at the scene of the accident, talk to them and get information about anything they might have seen. Be sure to note of the date, time, and location of the accident. If you were unable to get this information, that’s okay too. Many accident victims lose consciousness, or are so seriously injured that they are taken immediately to hospital, so a lack of evidence is common in hit-and-run accidents. Hit and run accident lawyers are highly skilled at gathering evidence after the fact.
What if the driver is not found? Can I still get compensation for my injuries?If the at-fault driver cannot be identified, or does not have insurance, you may still be compensated through Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, also known as MVAC. This program was put in place by the province of Alberta to offer victims of hit and run accidents, or uninsured drivers, the opportunity to receive compensation for personal injuries. The maximum combined limit for compensation is $200,000. In other words, if you and two other passengers were injured, that amount could be divided between you in amounts that are proportionate to the severity of your injuries and the value of your claims. Of course, an experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer will do everything possible to maximize your share of the available compensation. It is important to note that the MVAC does NOT provide any compensation for property damage (i.e. car, bike, etc.). and does NOT guarantee compensation for your injuries. The Administrator of the MVAC stands in place of the person who you would normally make a claim against. In other words, you still have to make a claim and prove that your injuries are a result of the accident to get MVAC compensation. In order to be eligible to make a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be an Alberta resident (residents of other jurisdictions with similar programs may still be eligible).
- You have sustained a personal injury as a direct result of a motor vehicle accident.
- The accident must have taken place in Alberta.
- The other driver must be at fault for the accident, and recovering your compensation from any other insurance must be impossible.