05 Aug Identifying Hit and Run Drivers

If you are injured by a hit and run driver, the onus is on you to try to identify that driver.  You must make all reasonable efforts to find that driver and if you don’t, your personal injury claim may be dismissed.

What constitutes a “reasonable effort” depends on the circumstances but here are some general guidelines:

  1. If you have the opportunity to obtain the other driver’s identity, you will be expected to do that;
  2. If the other driver gives you false information or you record their information incorrectly, take additional steps to find the driver;
  3. You should report the matter to police and ICBC in a timely manner.  However, simply reporting the matter, without doing more, is not enough;
  4. You need to follow up on available information from the scene of the accident such as information in the possession of police or ambulance personnel who attended the scene;
  5. You should post signs in the area of the accident and/or advertise in local newspapers in an effort to find witnesses within a reasonable time;
  6. Canvas businesses near the accident scene.  Speak to business owners and patrons, and ask about video surveillance.

Li v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2015 BCSC 1010, is a case in which the Plaintiff did not do enough to find the hit and run driver.  Ms. Li was driving her car when she heard the siren of an approaching fire engine. She slowed her vehicle and before she came to a stop her car was struck from behind by a sports car. She exited her vehicle and walked back to speak with the driver of the sports car. The driver appeared frustrated and told her to pull her car over. When Ms. Li returned to her car, the sports car pulled out and drove past her. She followed it but eventually lost sight of it. She attended at the nearby fire hall and was told that a fireman had witnessed the accident. She got the name of the fire hall captain but made no further attempt to contact him nor did she make any other inquiry to obtain the name of his crew member who had witnessed the accident. She did not report the incident to the police and did not obtain information from any other motorists at the scene.

At the trial, the Judge decided that the steps Ms. Li took were insufficient and she did not take all reasonable steps to identify the motorist who caused the accident.  Her claim was dismissed.

ICBC is not obligated to tell you what further steps you should take to find the unidentified driver.  At trial they will argue that your claim should be denied because you didn’t make all reasonable efforts to find the hit and run driver.

If you are involved in a hit and run accident, please contact Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota.  We will assist you in taking all necessary steps to find the driver that hit you.