What To Do After a Hit and Run Accident
Few incidents on the road are as upsetting as being involved in a hit and run accident. When another driver’s negligence leads to a collision, they have a legal obligation to remain at the accident scene. According to Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act, when a driver flees the scene of a collision, if apprehended, they will receive six demerit points. These demerits will remain on their driving record for two years from the date of their conviction. In addition, under the Criminal Code of Canada, convicted hit and run drivers face automatic license revocation, and lose the privilege of obtaining a license in the future. If convicted, drivers who fail to remain at the scene of an accident they cause may also face lengthy periods of incarceration.
When another person abandons a car crash scene before providing the driver they hit with their contact information and insurance details, accident victims often feel a combination of both shock and outrage. The province’s Insurance Actrequires all drivers in Nova Scotia to provide a reasonable duty of care to other road-users. Failing to provide a reasonable duty of care to other drivers could be considered negligence. In addition to engaging in negligent behaviour, by fleeing the scene of an accident they caused, hit and run drivers exhibit a blatant disregard for the people they may have injured or killed in the collision.
Being struck by a driver who runs away from the accident scene can result in fatalities, as well as serious injuries. Some common injuries resulting from car accidents include:
- Neck injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- And more
Important Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Accident
In the moments following an accident caused by a driver who failed to remain at the collision scene, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Before doing anything else, it is important to call 911 and notify the police of the crime that has taken place. Once dispatched to the crash scene, emergency services may suggest taking you to the hospital for immediate medical examination. After a traumatic event like a car accident, a body in shock may produce adrenaline, which can diminish or delay the symptoms of a serious injury. That is why even if you do not feel as though you have been badly hurt, by seeking emergency medical care, you may be able to properly identify the severity of your injuries, and avoid future complications in your recovery process.
If your injuries allow and it is safe to do so at the collision scene, the following actions may help you strengthen future legal cases against the hit and run driver:
- Record the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, including any remnants or paint marks from the other driver’s car
- Write down as many details about the offending driver’s vehicle and physical appearance while they are fresh in your mind
- Provide a thorough account of the accident to law enforcement officers
What is Section D Insurance Coverage?
In Nova Scotia, all drivers are required to carry mandatory automobile insurance coverage. All auto insurance plans in the province are required to include Section D, providing eligible policyholders with unidentified and uninsured driver coverage.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver who does not hold their own insurance policy, you may be able to collect damages for your injuries through your own automobile insurance under Section D of your policy. The same rule for uninsured drivers applies to drivers who cannot be identified. If the offending driver failed to remain at the scene of the accident and cannot be identified, you may be able to claim for compensation through your policy’s Section D coverage.
Section D coverage for injured accident victims only covers up to a certain limit. The minimum Section D coverage limit for policyholders in Nova Scotia is $500,000.
This minimum level of coverage is substantially higher than the minimum limit insurance providers in some other provinces are required to offer. However, even if you are a resident of Nova Scotia, if your hit and run accident took place outside of the province, your insurance company is only required to provide you with the minimum coverage amount mandated by the Insurance Act governing the province where your accident took place.
For example, if you drove to New Brunswick and, while visiting the province, were the victim of a hit and run accident with an unidentified driver, you will most likely only be eligible to recover the minimum level of Section D benefits legally required in that province, even though New Brunswick’s minimum level of coverage is only 40% of the amount offered in Nova Scotia.
Claiming Section D benefits should not affect your insurance premiums or be recorded on your insurance record.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Hit and Run Drivers
If you’ve been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence and have suffered financial losses as a result, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you file a claim for damages. However, in order to pursue financial compensation, you must first make reasonable efforts to identify the owner/operator and vehicle that caused the accident. This being the case, victims of hit and run drivers often feel powerless about their situations, and confused about where to go to find accountability.
Drivers may wish to take extra precautions against hit and run drivers by installing a dash cam in their vehicle. Dash cams act as an impartial witness by keeping an indisputable video record of other drivers’ negligent behaviour on the road. Most devices are designed to automatically record video from the moment the car’s engine is ignited. That means if your accident with a hit and run driver occurred while your vehicle was in motion, a dash cam might have captured the other vehicle’s license plate number or a clear image of the offending driver, both of which can be presented to the police investigating your accident.
In addition, many dash cams are equipped with motion sensors that trigger the device to begin recording when it detects movement nearby. If your injuries were caused by a driver who collided with your vehicle while you were parked, video evidence recorded by your dash cam may help track down the driver who failed to remain at the accident scene.
If you are able to successfully identify the driver who caused your collision and fled the crash site, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover costs for damages you incurred. These costs might include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- Pain and suffering
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who failed to remain at the scene of an accident, Preszler’s car accident lawyers may be able to review your insurance policy and advise you about avenues for financial compensation that may be available to you. If the police are able to identify and convict the at-fault driver for fleeing the collision site, a lawyer may be able to help you recover damages by filing a lawsuit against them.
To discuss the circumstances of your accident and the costs you have incurred as a result of your injuries, contact us today.