What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Hit and Run

Man on his cell phone after a hit and run car accident with a damaged vehicle behind him

“I was the victim of a hit-and-run collision! The other guy just drove off! Can I get ANY compensation?”

Usually, if you are hurt in a motor vehicle collision, the other driver is known. But what can you do if the at-fault driver flees the scene?

Sadly, it happens.

Luckily, there is recourse available – so be sure to speak to the hit and run lawyers at Robinson LLP to make sure you receive the compensation for your injuries to which you are entitled!

Receive compensation through the Motor Vehicle Accidents Claims Fund

Fortunately, there is a fund available to assist injured victims of hit and run accidents.  This is called the Motor Vehicle Accidents Claims Fund (the Fund). If you are hurt in a car accident and the driver cannot be identified, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries from the Fund. However, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • The Fund only covers car accidents that happen in Alberta.
  • In order to collect, you must be an Albertan resident, or from a jurisdiction that has a program similar to the Fund (and would cover an Albertan in that jurisdiction).
  • In a car accident involving a number of vehicles, liability for the crash must rest SOLELY with the unknown driver – if there is insurance coverage from another party (other than you), the Fund won’t get involved.
  • The Fund only assists with personal injuries – it won’t cover any vehicle or other property damage.
  • The other driver and owner must be unknown and unascertainable to you. This means you have to make some effort to determine who caused the accident.
  • You have to notify the Fund about your accident within 90 days. That is not a lot of time, and if you fail to give notice to the Fund, then your claim may be barred, so be sure to talk to a lawyer quickly! However, if you have missed the 90 day notice period, your lawyer may be able have that period exempted for you.  Be sure to get legal advice from Robinson LLP whether you are inside or outside the 90 day period.
  • You still have to file and serve an actual lawsuit to get your compensation. A number of legal steps need to be taken prior to your having access to compensation from the Fund.
  • Compensation from the Fund is limited to $200,000. Further, if multiple people are hurt, that $200,000 has to be spread among them all – so you could be receiving quite a bit less.

SEF 44 coverage

If your loss is greater than $200,000, there may be other recourse for you, but it would come from your own insurer.  Do you have SEF 44 coverage on your own insurance policy or does someone in your household have this policy endorsement?  The SEF 44 Family Protection Endorsement is an optional endorsement that you can add to your insurance policy at minimal extra cost and in our opinion, it’s a good idea.

A SEF 44 endorsement provides coverage above the limits of the at-fault hit-and-run driver.  That means if an uninsured or unknown driver is to blame for your injuries and you are only eligible to collect $200,000 from the Fund, you may be protected for your losses that exceed the available $200,000.

Imagine that you are in a hit-and-run and your injuries require $300,000 in compensation. The Fund only covers $200,000.  Your insurer (assuming you have the SEF 44 endorsement) will top up the shortfall, up to the limits established by your policy. In this example, your insurer should cover the remaining $100,000.

Hit & Run Lawyers in Edmonton

This is a simplified example, however, when you are dealing with personal injuries, simplicity is rare. That’s why when you’re injured in a motor vehicle collision, be sure to contact the hit and run lawyers at Robinson LLP – we’re always here to help.

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