Ontario law requires people who own motor vehicles to have auto insurance. Therefore, if you become injured and it is impossible to identify the other motorist who struck your vehicle, you could still recover some of your claimed damages.
Submitting a Report to the Police
Ensure that you submit the hit-and-run incident to the police. According to paragraph 5.3.5 of the Ontario Automobile Policy, you have 24 hours to submit the hit-and-run report of the accident in which there has been a bodily injury:
5.3.5 Accidents Involving Unidentified Automobiles
- If an unidentified automobile causes bodily injury or death to an insured person,
- the insured person or their representative must report the accident within 24 hours,
- or, if unable, as soon as possible after that, to a police officer or similar authority.
Avoid waiting until the last minute to submit this report. Similarly, subsection 200 (1) of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act reads as follows:
Duty of person in charge of vehicle in case of accident
200 (1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall,
- remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;
- render all possible assistance; and
- upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 200 (1); 1997, c. 12, s. 16.
The police will need you to provide them with as much information on the accident as possible to enable them to investigate it thoroughly. In other words, inform them of the make and model of the other vehicle and its license plate number. Furthermore, provide the police with any photos you took of your vehicle and inform them of any witness statements you were able to record.
Your insurance company will probably request a copy of this police report. To establish the amount (if any) they will pay to you, they will attempt to determine whether an unidentified driver did strike your vehicle.
Submitting the Auto Insurance Claim
Make sure you contact your auto insurance company within 24 hours. The insurance representative will guide you on the required information and the timeframe within which you must submit the information.
The insurance company will assess your coverage level. This assessment will include verifying whether you bought the elective coverage of Ontario Policy Change Form (OPCF) 44R, known as the Family Protection Coverage. The OPCF 44R can protect you in hit-and-run accidents and similar situations.
Filing a Claim and Suing the Identified Driver
If the authorities track down the driver who left the accident, the injured party can seek damages from the vehicle owner or the at-fault driver. Depending on your third-party liability-coverage amount, you can submit an OPCF 44R claim with your insurer if the damages you seek exceed the driver’s coverage limit. Moreover, consult a seasoned personal injury lawyer on the merits of filing a lawsuit against the other driver for any access amounts.
McNally Gervan has represented personal injury claimants and vehicle owners for decades. Call McNally Gervan Personal Injury Lawyers of Ottawa, at 613-238-1424, to discuss your particular case and determine whether your insurance company is offering you a reasonable amount.