First, you have to give written notice to ICBC as soon as possible after the accident to let them know that you were injured by an unidentified motorist.
Second, you have to make reasonable efforts to determine who the owner and/or driver of the motorist is. What is “reasonable” depends a lot on the circumstances of the accident – where it was, whether there were witnesses, whether you were hurt or in shock, and whether police attended, to name a few.
We have posted some examples of cases where ICBC tried to deny liability for hit and run accidents. As you will see, ICBC can completely defeat an injured person’s claim if they fail to comply with either of the above requirements. You will also see that these issues can be very time sensitive, so if you have been in a hit and run accident, it is extremely important that you talk to a lawyer as soon as possible so that he or she can advise you on how to make sure that you are taking necessary steps to protect your claim.
ICBC Hit and Run Accidents:
Dobb v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
The plaintiff was struck by a car while cycling on a major road in Tsawwassen on September 13, 1989. The motorist did not stop. The plaintiff went back to the scene of the accident a few days after it happened and told some employees of nearby commercial establishments that he had been hit, but did not follow up or make any real efforts to find witnesses. He did not notify ICBC of the accident until consulting with a lawyer two months later because he did not think he would be covered by any insurance because he was a cyclist. He also did not report the accident to police. He did not post any notice where the accident happened and did not place any ads in newspapers until January 1990. Despite the fact that he suffered injuries and the judge’s finding that the accident was entirely the driver’s fault, his claim was dismissed.
Willey v. John (Jane) Doe et al
The plaintiff claimed that he had been forced off the road after being rear ended by an unidentified motorist on March 25, 1997. The plaintiff abandoned his vehicle and went to hospital, where he stayed for three days. While in hospital he was interviewed by police and told them he was rear ended. However, he did not report the accident to ICBC until September 2, 1997 and made no efforts to identify the driver, believing (without checking) that the police would investigate. His claim was dismissed.
Akbari v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
The plaintiff struck a traffic light standard after being driven off the road by an unidentified motorist who fled the scene. The accident was late at night. Police attended the scene and the plaintiff gave a description of the vehicle. The police did not bother attempting to pursue the unidentified motorist. The plaintiff posted signs near the scene of the accident. ICBC argued that he also should have canvassed the residents of a nearby townhouse complex and “staked out” the accident scene in the hopes that the car would pass by. The court rejected ICBC’s argument, stating that the plaintiff was not required to go on a “fool’s errand”.
Holachuk v. ICBC
The plaintiff was struck by a tractor trailer during rush hour in North Delta. The truck driver spoke to the plaintiff but left the scene before police arrived. ICBC argued that the plaintiff failed to get the truck driver’s particulars, such as his name or license plate number, but the judge accepted that she was in shock, confused and disoriented after the accident and that it was not reasonable to expect her to have made any efforts to get the truck driver’s information because she believed that he was going to wait for police to arrive.
Nelson v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
The plaintiff was struck while crossing a crosswalk on a busy street in Burnaby. The van drove away before she could get any information. She did not take any steps to determine the identity of the unidentified motorist until approximately nine months after the accident. The court found that this effort was “much too late in the day” and dismissed her claim.
Nicholls v. Emil Anderson Maintenance Co.
The plaintiff motorcyclist was injured when he slipped on a patch of diesel on a highway near Mission. Other than report the accident to the police, the plaintiff took no steps to determine the identity of the person who spilled diesel on the highway. ICBC argued that the plaintiff should have made enquiries around the neighbourhood, posted a sign on the highway, and taken out a classified ad in a newspaper. The court rejected these arguments. The highway was in a rural area and the court found that there was no realistic possibility that a resident had seen the diesel spill.
Have more questions about ICBC Hit and Run Accidents? Our law firm is available to answer your questions. (250) 388-9477