What to do After a Hit and Run Collision
Being the victim of a hit and run can be nerve-racking. We outline everything you need to know if you're ever left solo at the scene of a collision.
It’s been a long day, and all you want to do is get home, eat dinner, and zone out in front of the TV. Instead, you’re sideswiped by a car going way too fast. So much for safe driving.
Before you know it, the other driver has sped off into the night, leaving you to manage the aftermath on your own.
You know what to do in a collision where everyone sticks around, but what do you do when another motorist abandons his or her legal responsibility to remain at the scene?
What is a hit and run?
In Ontario, a driver who fails to remain at the scene can be charged under either the Criminal Code of Canada or the Highway Traffic Act.
In essence, if a person involved in a collision doesn’t stop their car, stay at the scene, and provide their information to all involved parties – including name, address, and driver’s license info – they may be charged with failure to remain at the scene of a collision.
A hit and run can also happen in a parking lot, even if you weren’t in your car.
If the other driver doesn’t leave a note, you should still ask for any witnesses and see if parking lot security has any security camera footage. Then, contact your insurance provider to file a claim.
What should you do if you’re the victim of a hit and run?
First and foremost, assess the safety of yourself, and anyone else involved that’s still at the scene. Call 911 if emergency medical services are required. If you can, move your car to the side of the road to prevent a secondary collision.
Next, call the police and note down everything you can remember about the other driver. This includes information like:
The make, model, and colour of the car
Partial or full plate number
The physical description of the driver
Location and time of the collision
Be sure to speak to any witnesses at the scene and gather any details that they remember. The license plate number is the most crucial piece of information you can obtain, so ask bystanders if they managed to see it. Collect your witnesses’ contact information so that you or the police can follow up with them later in the investigation.
You should also take photos of the scene and any damages to your car.
When the police arrive, be sure to file a police report. You should also report the collision to a Collision Reporting Centre (CRC) within 24 hours.
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What’s the insurance claims process like?
You should report the collision to your insurance provider as soon as possible, especially if there is damage to your car – you'll want to get it to an approved repair shop as soon as possible.. When you go to a collision centre, they will direct you to inform your insurance company once they’ve finished recording the details of your report. In fact, most collision centres have direct lines to the major insurance companies.
What happens if the driver is identified
If the driver who fled is identified, you’ll be covered by Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) coverage, which is included in all standard insurance policies.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t automatically apply to a hit and run unless the driver is identified, which is why it’s important to gather as much information from the scene as you can.
What happens if the driver is not identified
Hit and runs where the other party wasn’t identified are specifically covered under collision insurance. Since collision coverage isn't legally required to drive, you'll need to review your policy to see if it's included.
Keep in mind that with hit and run collision claims, your deductible applies, since your policy is the only one available to cover the cost of repairs. The good news is, your rate won’t be affected since you weren’t at fault.
If you are the victim of a hit and run, ensure the safety of yourself and others, collect details from witnesses, file a police report, and get in touch with your insurance provider. It’s an unfortunate situation, but Onlia’s caring claims team is here to guide you every step of the way.