Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a stressful experience, but it's even more so if the other driver flees the scene. Hit-and-run accidents can be confusing and frustrating, but there are steps you can take to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
6 Steps to Take Immediately After the Accident
Immediately after your hit-and-run accident, check for injuries. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 immediately. Only after that should you take the following steps:
1. Exchange information with any witnesses. If there was anyone who saw the accident, get their contact information so you can follow up with them later.
2. Take photos and write down information. If possible, get the licence plate number and description of the other vehicle. Also, take photos of any damage and the accident scene.
3. Call the police and report the accident. The police report will play an essential role in your insurance claim. You have 24 hours to file a police report.
4. Seek medical attention. Even if you don't think you're injured, see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries can take weeks or months to appear. Seeing a doctor directly after the accident can help establish a causal link if you need treatment later.
5. Contact your insurance company. Notify your insurance company of the accident to start your claim.
6. Hire a hit-and-run accident lawyer. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review your case, determine if you're within the statute of limitations and help you collect benefits through an accident benefits or tort claim.
Criminal Charges and Civil Suits
Penalties for a hit-and-run conviction can include hefty fines, jail time and driver's licence suspension. In addition to criminal charges, you can also file a civil suit — or tort claim — against the hit-and-run driver, which can recover damages for injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.
In Ontario, uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) protects you against an uninsured or unidentified driver for $200,000, plus an additional $200,000 for property damage and injuries to other parties. If your insurance includes a Family Protection Endorsement, your benefits may far exceed the $200,000 minimum you’d get through a basic insurance policy.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Victims of a hit-and-run accident should seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, gather evidence and file claims for compensation. A lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary.
Contact A Hit-And-Run Accident Lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie
If you've been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Sault Ste. Marie or within the District of Algoma, contact Feifel Gualazzi, where we specialize in motor vehicle accident claims. A lawyer will review your case and help you collect the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.