The answer is yes; however, anyone considering making a claim for bodily injury from a hit and run accident must be aware that s. 24 of the nsurance (Vehicle) Act imposes specific obligations in such circumstances For example, s. 24 requires that anyone claiming for bodily injury from a hit and run must give written notice of the same to ICBC as soon as reasonably practicable and within 6 months. Further, in order to successfully recover damages, a court must be satisfied that you have made all reasonable efforts to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver and/or owner. This is a very important point as claims for bodily injury have often been dismissed for a failure to demonstrate that such efforts have been made.
The question then becomes, what constitutes reasonable efforts? A review of case law has shown that courts have considered the following to assessing whether reasonable efforts have been made:
- Depending on a person's condition and the circumstances at the scene of the accident, it may not be reasonable to expect that s/he obtain details about the offending driver at the scene of the accident;
- Despite the above, failure to record a license plate number at the time of the accident where a person has the opportunity to do so may be fatal to the claim;
- Reporting the accident to the police, without more, may not be enough to fulfill the requirements of s. 24, for the reason that the Act places responsibility on the person claiming for injuries to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver, not the police ;
- Where an accident is reported to the police, it will not be reasonable to assume the police will make all necessary inquiries to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver;
- Similarly, it may not be enough to simply report the accident to ICBC;
- Even if you have not been informed by ICBC that further steps need to be taken to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver, you will not be relieved of the obligation to take all reasonable steps; and,
- Attempting to promptly locate witnesses by posting signs, contacting nearby businesses and posting in local newspapers may help establish that reasonable efforts have been made.
In short, if you have been injured in a hit and run accident, you are entitled to make a claim for damages. However, there is a burden upon you to take steps to identify the driver and/or owner who caused the injuries. Failure to do so may result in a dismissal of your claim.
If you have been involve in a hit and run claim, please contact Apna Law for more information.