Unfortunately, hit & run accidents are a regular occurrence in BC. Fortunately, all BC residents have the right to file an injury claim against a hit & run fund, managed by ICBC.
Hit and Run Conditions
There are three conditions to claim from the hit & run fund:
- the accident must have occurred on a roadway in BC that is publicly accessible;
- the accident must have arisen out of the “use or operation of a motor vehicle”; and
- the owner and driver must not have been identifiable.
Before discussing these conditions, note one that is not required: you do not have to be insured with ICBC, any resident of BC is eligible. In fact, if you have ICBC insurance, you have additional coverage that extends to hit & run accidents throughout Canada and the United States.
The first condition is even broader than it sounds: it includes almost any space intended for the passage of vehicles, including alleys and right of ways, and private property to which vehicles have access or are invited (e.g. private parking lots). Even if the accident occurred off of the roadway, it may be covered if something happened to the vehicle while it was on the roadway to cause the accident (lost control and drove onto the sidewalk).
The second condition, “use or operation of a motor vehicle”, also covers a broad range of accidents, including a cyclist who was injured when he fell off his bicycle after being sprayed with a water gun from a passing vehicle (cyclist was covered), and an attempted carjacking where the driver was shot (driver was covered).
The third condition is often the hardest one to satisfy. The other driver must not be identifiable, and you are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to identify the driver or the vehicle. This usually includes:
- Attempting to get identification from the other driver if he/she stops.
- Attempting to record the plate number if it is visible.
- Getting contact information of any witnesses.
- Calling the police immediately.
- Reporting the accident to ICBC as soon as possible.
- Posting signs, asking nearby residents or businesses if they saw the accident, and potentially placing advertisements in the newspaper.
All these steps need to be taken quickly (usually within days or a few weeks of the accident).
Finally, you need to file a hit and run report with ICBC no later than 6 months after the accident.
Many BC residents do not know that they are protected by the hit & run fund, and often wait too long to speak to a lawyer. If you or someone you know was injured in a hit & run accident, please contact us. We will meet with you free of charge and discuss your claim.