Can you claim for injuries arising from a hit and run accident?

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. 

What damages are you entitled to from ICBC?

If you were injured in an accident in BC, chances are you will be dealing with ICBC.  In British Columbia, ICBC is the only insurance company that is entitled to provide basic insurance to all drivers.  Basic coverage is mandatory in British Columbia and consists of third party liability coverage of $200,000 (though it is strongly recommended you obtain more than just the basic coverage) and a number of Part 7 - No Fault benefits that will be the subject of another blog post.

Often times people will want to negotiate with ICBC without getting a lawyer involved at first.  If you are in that position, you should know what damages you are entitled to by way of monetary compensation.

1) Pain and Suffering - you are entitled to a lump-sum amount for the injury that you have sustained and the pain and suffering that comes with that injury.  The maximum amount that one can get for this head of damage is approximately $330,000 and that is generally reserved for the most catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, major brain injuries or other similar catastrophic injuries.  Each case is assessed on its facts and a judge will look at previous cases to find a similar fact pattern and often times base their award by analysing previous case law.

2) Past Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity - if you have missed time off of work because of the accident or have missed out on opportunities to earn income that you would have earned had the accident not happened, you will generally be entitled to recovery of your net (after tax) lost wages or potential earnings.  

3) Future Earning Capacity - in cases where the evidence supports the likelihood that you will lose out on days of work, the ability to work certain jobs, or do not have the capacity to work full-time any more, you may also be entitled to future wage loss.  Future wage loss is much more difficult to prove and assess because the future is uncertain where the past has already happened.  If you can prove that there is a real and substantial possibility of a future income loss, you will be entitled to compensation for that future loss.

4) Future Costs of Care - likewise, you may also require treatment into the future to help you deal with your injuries, maintain a reasonable lifestyle, or .  If the care is not covered by the government health care system, you also may be entitled to future care items.  Again, you will need evidence of the need, frequency required, and efficacy of these care items and often times that can be achieved by getting medical evidence from an expert witness.

5) Special expenses - if you have had to spend money for treatment, medication, or other out of pocket expenses that are directly attributable to your accident, you can present these expenses for reimbursement.  The expenses have to be reasonable and supported by the evidence about your injury.

If you have been in an accident and have any more questions about fair compensation, settling claims with ICBC, or wish to meet for an initial consultation, contact James Gill and Jasroop Grewal at 604-638-1100. 

 

 

 

The postings on this website represent the summaries by and opinions of Apna Law. They are not in any way to be taken as legal advice. In order to receive legal advice, contact the members of Apna Law to book a consultation appointment.