Leaving the scene of a car crash is illegal in Ontario, but hit-and-run accidents continue to happen. Ontario law protects drivers, pedestrians and cyclists involved in hit-and-runs. Since getting total compensation isn’t always easy, here are some tips for how a personal injury law firm that specializes in motor vehicle accidents like Feifel Gualazzi can help you in filing a successful hit-and-run accident claim.
REPORT THE INCIDENT TO THE POLICE
If you’re in a motor vehicle accident, and the other party has left the scene, you must report the incident to the police. They’ll document and investigate the accident. Your insurance company may deny your claim if you fail to file a police report in a reasonable amount of time. Under the law, drivers found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident can be fined up to $2,000, spend six months in jail, have their license suspended, get six demerit points and pay high-risk driver insurance premiums for three years. Prison sentences can range from five years to life if someone is injured or dies.
ONTARIO HIT-AND-RUN ACCIDENT INSURANCE COVERAGE
Most Ontario drivers have the minimum insurance coverage allowed, which protects anyone in a hit-and-run for up to $200,000, plus $200,000 in liability for damage to property and another person’s injuries. Victims also qualify for Accident Benefits which can compensate you for lost wages, medical costs and other expenses. If somebody else damages your vehicle, Direct Compensation can pay for the repairs. In Ontario, all auto insurance policies must carry Underinsured Motorist Coverage, compensating victims even if the at-fault driver has no insurance or can’t be identified. Policyholders can also opt for extra coverage with a Family Protection Endorsement, which can provide coverage exceeding the $200,000 minimum.
FIGHTING FOR MAXIMUM COMPENSATION
Insurance companies generally don’t volunteer the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. They may pay you only a portion of your lost wages, and they typically withhold compensation for emotional trauma. Often, the only way to receive these benefits is to file a lawsuit or negligence claim against the insurance company with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
FILING A CIVIL SUIT
If you’re a hit-and-run victim, you can sue a driver found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. If the at-fault driver who is guilty of the hit and run is unidentified, you can still sue your own Insurance Company for your pain and suffering, loss of income and other damages pursuant to the unidentified provisions of your policy as if your own Insurance Company insured the unidentified hit and run driver. However, you have just two years from the date of the crash to file a civil suit. A personal injury lawyer can help determine if you have a case and guide you through the process.
WE SPECIALIZE IN CAR MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY LAW IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
At Feifel Gualazzi, we specialize in personal injury law involving motor vehicle accidents, helping countless car accident victims get fair and fast compensation. Our office in Sault Ste. Marie serves Algoma District and accepts clients across northern Ontario. Contact us today to consult a personal injury lawyer.