Hit and run victims must garner details

BY BECKER LAWYERS, THE TIMES JULY 26, 2012

Surprising, but true, ICBC may not provide coverage for many of your losses from a car accident, if you do nothing to identify the other driver.

S There are many situations where people have even been seriously injured in a hit-and-run car accident, but their claim was denied by ICBC because they did not make adequate efforts to get information about the other driver.

Our firm is currently dealing with several of these matters for clients where ICBC is attempting to deny coverage.

A recent court decision in New Westminster Supreme Court during March 2011 resulted in a seriously injured person (not a client of our firm) having her claim denied by ICBC because she didn’t make enough effort to identify the other driver.

Her claim for compensation for her care and loss of earnings just evaporated.

It’s tragic and can be avoided. If you are in an accident, regardless of whether you are injured or not, make reasonable efforts to note and record any details you can about the other driver.

This might include the car make, model, and colour, a full or partial licence plate number, driver and occupant’s descriptions, any other observable characteristics, and even the direction in which the car is travelling following impact.

Record these details as soon as possible. At the accident scene, call the police, but don’t rely on them alone.

You’ll also need to obtain names and phone numbers from potential witnesses and follow up to gather additional detail about the accident and the other driver.

Share witness names and contact information with police and ICBC.

Following the accident, here are other steps to take to protect your claim:

. Immediately provide written notice to ICBC to indicate that the other driver is unidentified.

. Within days of your accident, make and post posters around the location of the accident to try to gather information from more witnesses.

. Place an advertisement seeking potential witnesses in local newspapers within days of the accident.

. Speak to a lawyer about your claim as soon as possible.

If you have done everything required by law, as above, and made all reasonable efforts to identify the other driver, it is unlikely your claim will be denied and ICBC should provide adequate coverage for your claim.

Do continue to add information to your file as it becomes available.

The responsibility will continue to be yours, as ICBC is not actually responsible for tracking down the other driver.

You must make reasonable efforts yourself, and they are relatively easy to do and will protect your ICBC claim.

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