If you or a loved one have been injured in a “hit and run” motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, you are entitled to ICBC coverage. Pursuant to section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, ICBC is required to compensate you for death or injury or damage to your vehicle caused by an unidentified motorist. They can, however, deny your claim if you do not take “reasonable steps” in ascertaining the identity of the driver that hit you.
What is reasonable to do in the circumstances is dependent on the facts. As determined in case law over the years, reasonable efforts include: reporting the claim to ICBC, reporting the accident to the police, keeping notes of the accident, collecting the contact information of any witnesses and posting signs at the scene of the accident for any potential witnesses. Reasonable efforts should be made at the time of the accident and in the days or weeks following the accident.
Reporting your claim immediately to ICBC will not suffice as “reasonable steps” in ascertaining the identity of the other driver. Furthermore, the adjuster assigned to your claim may not necessarily advise you of the steps you need to take in accordance with the Insurance Act. In fact, the courts have ruled that there is no such obligation on the part of an ICBC adjuster to do so. In Morris v Doe 2011 BCSC 1053, the court ruled that the plaintiff had not taken all the necessary steps in ascertaining the identity of the unidentified driver and that ICBC had no obligation to inform the plaintiff of the nature of the steps to be taken in doing so.
While victims of hit and run accidents have a right to claim compensation from ICBC, these claims have monetary and strict time limits compared to standard injury claims. In order to ensure you receive a proper ICBC car accident settlement, it is best to contact a lawyer before you contact ICBC to report your hit and run claim. Call to schedule an initial consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers at HART Legal in our Vancouver, Victoria, or Surrey office – we will ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. Please contact us at 778-328 2828 for more information on how we can assist you with your claim.