Hit and Run Collisions: Understanding the Heinous Crime and Pursuing Justice Through Civil Lawsuits

Hit and Run Collisions: Understanding the Heinous Crime and Pursuing Justice Through Civil Lawsuits

Written by: Aidan Vining, Lawyer and Cierra Hurley, Summer Student

Motor vehicle collisions can happen quickly and without warning. The consequences of such collisions, whether resulting in injury or death, are often life-altering. It is common for someone injured in a crash to expect the at-fault driver’s insurance to provide financial support, but what happens when the at-fault driver flees the scene and cannot be located?

Hit-and-run incidents occur when an at-fault driver fails to remain on the scene after striking another motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian. By law, you are required to stay at the scene of a collision until each party involved has exchanged insurance details.

Those who commit a hit-and-run may face penalties under the Criminal Code or the Highway Traffic Act. In addition, an at-fault driver can be sued for negligence if they are located. If you find yourself injured in a hit and run collision and the driver cannot be located, there are systems in Ontario to help you receive the assistance you require.

What To Do If You Are Injured in a Hit and Run Collision

If you are injured in a hit-and-run crash, there are steps you should take immediately, including calling 911 when injuries occur, reporting the hit-and-run incident to the police, taking pictures of the scene, obtaining witness contact information, and looking for surveillance cameras in the area. This information can be helpful in establishing the necessary evidence for your claim.

When deciding whether to pursue a civil lawsuit, it is important to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer so that they can look after your legal interests while you focus on your recovery.

Recourse Available from a Hit-and-Run

If you are seeking recourse after a hit-and-run collision, there are three primary systems available in Ontario:

1. No-Fault Statutory Accident Benefits

Statutory Accident Benefits are available for every person insured under an automobile insurance policy in Ontario. If you are insured and are injured in a hit-and-run collision, you can apply to your own insurer to access these benefits. These benefits are meant to be accessed quickly and will cover your medical treatments, rehabilitation, and income replacement needs while you recover. The financial amount you may collect from these benefits depends on the severity of your injuries.

2. Uninsured and Underinsured Automobile Coverage

Uninsured automobile coverage (UAC) is mandatory in Ontario. It automatically applies to your policy whether you ask for it or not. The purpose of this coverage is to ensure that if a person is injured in a motor vehicle collision involving an uninsured vehicle, the person may still receive financial support. UAC will cover up to a maximum of $200,000 in Ontario. In the case of a hit-and-run, you can turn to UAC for compensation up to the maximum coverage limit. To make a successful UAC claim when you are injured by an unidentified vehicle, you must: provide written notice of the claim within 24 hours (or as soon as possible), provide details of the claim as soon as possible; and provide details of other insurance coverage you may have access to.

Underinsured motorist coverage (OPCF-44R) is not mandatory in Ontario. You must purchase the endorsement alongside your standard coverage if you want the additional coverage. It follows you as the insured person, not the vehicle involved in the accident. OPCF-44R applies when the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are not sufficient to cover your claim. Your insurance will step into the shoes of the at-fault driver and top up the available insurance limits to cover your claim. The OPCF-44R endorsement may also cover spouses, dependents, and those residing in the same dwelling as the policyholder. To make a successful OPCF-44R claim when you are injured as a result of a hit and run, you must provide independent witness evidence and physical evidence indicating the involvement of an unidentified vehicle. It is crucial to report the accident to authorities and provide a written statement within thirty days of the collision taking place.

3. Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVAC)

The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVAC) was established to respond to situations where an individual is injured in a hit-and-run crash and there are no other auto-insurance policies to respond to your claim. This may arise where a pedestrian or cyclist is struck by a driver who flees the scene. If no other automobile insurance policies are available to respond to your claim, the MVAC can provide compensation up to a maximum of $200,000.

How We Can Help

In the event of a collision involving unidentified drivers, it is important to always consult with experienced personal injury lawyers to ensure you are making informed decisions. We can help navigate the complex system of insurance policies and identify avenues to provide appropriate compensation while you recover.

If you have been injured in a hit-and-run collision, we recommend contacting one of our lawyers at McLeish Orlando. We are always here to ensure you receive the assistance and benefits you require to make the best possible recovery.

Aidan Vining


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