Leaving the Scene of an Accident

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Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Failing to remain at the scene of a collision is a very serious crime. Unfortunately, people do it all the time. A large portion of Alberta pedestrian accident cases involve hit and run drivers, and a few vehicle-on-vehicle collisions do, too.

Fortunately, there is recourse for personal injury victims who have gotten into accidents with these irresponsible drivers.

Reasons People Flee Accident Scenes

People tend to flee the scene of the accident for one of a handful of reasons.

One of the most common is that they know they don’t have insurance, and they don’t want to get caught. 

Another common reason is panic. This is especially common among teen drivers, whose fear can overcome their memory of what they’re supposed to do after an accident.

The driver may also have caused the accident because they were already fleeing from the scene of another criminal act, or were driving under the influence and didn’t want to get caught.

Regardless of the reasons, things rarely turn out well for hit and run drivers. Edmonton police officers investigate these crimes very thoroughly, especially when they cause injuries or fatalities. 

Traffic cameras, eyewitnesses, security footage, and the accident victim’s own recollection of the crime make it very rare for hit and run drivers to escape justice.

What to do in an Encounter with a Hit and Run Driver

In many ways getting into an accident with a hit and run driver is the same as getting involved in any other accident. Your first steps will be to get you and the car to safety if possible and to call the police. If you can get a photo of the fleeing car as it flees, so much the better. It’s the closest thing you can do to getting insurance information in a hit-and-run case.

You’ll also want to call 911 to get medical attention. Allow yourself to be seen and treated immediately, and follow the orders of all doctors, nurses, and EMTs. Complying with medical personnel will have important impacts on your case later. 

While you’re waiting for the EMTs to arrive, do two more things. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses, and take as many pictures as you possibly can. Take more photos, in fact, than you think you’ll need. Take photos of your car, your injuries, and prevailing conditions if you can.

Of course, there are situations where you may be too injured after such an accident to gather any evidence at all. When that happens your number one job is to get treatment and to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer is adept at accident reconstruction, at locating witnesses, at finding footage, and more. 

And because your case may be subject to certain important deadlines, it’s wise to contact a lawyer just as quickly as you possibly can.

Getting Paid after a Hit and Run

In a normal car accident case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for your losses. In a hit and run case, the driver who you’re supposed to hold accountable has gone AWOL.

Fortunately, you live in Alberta, and if the accident also took place in Alberta, you have recourse: the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAC).

In order for MVAC to work for you, your lawyer must notify MVAC within 90 days of your accident that you intend to make a claim. You and your motor vehicle accident lawyer must also make a good-faith effort to locate the hit and run driver. 

If the driver can’t be located, MVAC will pay up to $200,000 in personal injury losses. If the driver can be located, then you will launch a case against the driver as normal, with one twist: MVAC must now approve any settlement you agree to if you want MVAC to pay it. This usually happens when the driver is uninsured. If the driver who left the scene had insurance this isn’t as important, because it’s the insurance company that’s going to payout.

If MVAC pays out they want the settlement approved because they’re going to pay you and then turn around and pursue the hit and run driver for the debt. That driver, who is already facing criminal charges and fines, may have a hard time doing that, but that’s okay. It won’t be your problem. 

While you’re waiting for MVAC to settle with you, there are other insurance benefits you can tap into. Section B will pay up to $50,000 in medical bills. If you can’t work as a result of your accident Section B provides some limited disability benefits, as well. If you purchased a SEF 44 Family Protection Plan then this coverage will also help in the event that you got involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, underinsured driver, or hit and run driver.

Why trust us with your hit and run claim?

As you can see, claims get quite complex when the at-fault driver flees the scene of the accident. It really is going to pay to have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side from Day 1.

Most of our lawyers have 20 to 30 years of experience helping Edmonton residents navigate claims like yours. We have handled many hit-and-run accidents, and have relentlessly pursued justice on behalf of our clients.

We’re known as some of Edmonton’s toughest litigators and savviest negotiators. We’re also known for our courtesy and responsiveness to our clients. If you want to work with a law firm that will treat you with respect as you navigate an especially difficult process, then reach out to us. 

Calling us is risk-free. We don’t get paid until you get paid. Meet with us to review the facts of your case, get your questions answered, and determine your next steps. 

Call (780) 413-9777 to get matched with one of our top-notch personal injury lawyers today. 

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