A new AAA study done in the U.S. and released in April states that hit-and-run accidents are at an all-time high in that country. Hit-and-run crashes killed more than 2,000 people in 2016, a 62% increase from 2009. That number makes 2016 the deadliest year ever since data began to be compiled in 1975. The most fatalities occurred after hit-and-runs involving pedestrians or cyclists.
And Canada isn’t doing much better. In Saskatchewan, the province’s insurance agency SGI has reported that from 2000 to 2009 auto insurance claims resulting from a hit-and-run tripled from 1% to 3%. A Calgary Herald article published in May of this year using statistics collected from the Calgary Police Service says that over 10 years ending in 2014, in 18% of hit-and-runs involving pedestrians the driver fled the scene of the accident. Remember, pedestrians are unpredictable, so being able to predict their behavior is key
Types of Hits-and-Runs
Generally, there are two types of hit-and-runs. The first is your average parking lot fender-bender, where there is only property damage involved. The second type, when there is an injury or fatality, is far more serious. Only a very small group doesn’t actually realize they’ve hit anything. For the most part, drivers simply panic, dread the consequences, and leave.
If You Are Found Guilty of a Hit-and-Run
Hit-and-runs, failure to remain at the scene of an accident, and failure to report an accident are all the same offence under Alberta law. Being found guilty will result in at least seven demerit points on your license. This will also result in a rise in your auto insurance rates. A criminal charge can be applied to those who are found to have been under the influence of alcohol and/or who caused injury to another person.
Police have a high rate of charging those who commit a hit-and-run. In 2015 the Peel Regional Police reported that they caught more than 90% of drivers who had left the scene after an accident, citing leftover car parts and security cameras as being instrumental in investigations.
What To Do After a Hit-and-Run
You can be in your vehicle or not when a hit-and-run happens. You may come back to your vehicle after heading into the store to find a mysterious dent or scratch. Or you may be stopped at a light and be rear-ended, only to watch the other driver back up and drive away in your rearview mirror. If it happens to you, do the following:
- If you are in your vehicle, move to a safe location.
- Record as much information as you can about the incident, including the date, time, and location.
- Take photos of the scene.
- Take photos of your car and the damage. Make special note if there is visible paint from the other vehicle.
- Ask around to see if there are any witnesses.
- Report the accident to police.
The police will make the necessary inquiries of local business owners to see if there may be video footage of the incident, as well as question any witnesses.
Hit-And-Run Auto Insurance Claims
Your auto insurance company may require you to report a hit-and-run incident within a certain amount of time to ensure you are not found “at fault.” Regardless of this, it is advisable to call your provider as soon as possible.
If the driver of the vehicle that hit yours and left can’t be found by the proper authorities, your claim will be paid out under the collision part of your auto insurance. However, not everyone chooses to purchase collision insurance. If you have comprehensive coverage only you may be responsible to pay for repairs out of pocket.
In both cases, remember you will be required to pay your deductible as well. However, if the driver of the other vehicle is found and charged, the compensation may be paid out directly by your insurance company without the requirement of a deductible. Find all the information you need about filing an auto insurance claim here.
What Happens if My Car is Determined a Write-Off?
A hit-and-run may be serious enough to completely write-off your vehicle. If this happens, your vehicle then becomes the property of the insurance company.
They will classify it in one of two ways:
- Irreparable. This means the damage is so severe the vehicle may be sold for parts only.
- Salvage. This means the vehicle can be repaired, but must go through a thorough inspection before being driven again.
You have the option to dispute the result of your claim if this happens.
Affordable Auto Insurance From Lane’s
Lane’s Insurance has some of the top Calgary auto insurance brokers on its team, and we always work to protect your best interests. We work for you, not the insurance companies. Contact us at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton or Alberta offices for a fast, free quote.