What if the other driver didn’t stop?
Imagine that you are injured in an accident that was not your fault. Instead of stopping to exchange information, the other driver speeds away. Unfortunately, a hit and run happens all too often, but the good news is that the injured party does have an option to cover most losses.
As discussed in previous blog posts, the New Brunswick Standard Automobile policy has several sections. While not as well-known as the others, Section D will cover an injured driver in the case of a hit and run. This part of the policy allows a driver to claim all the same things he or she would normally claim against the at-fault driver, but the coverage comes from the injured driver’s own insurer. It acts essentially like Section A coverage, which you can read more about here.
The main difference between Section A and Section D coverage is that the maximum amount a person can claim under Section D is $200,000. While this maximum could be a problem if your losses total a greater amount, there are still other ways to claim that money, which will be discussed in a later blog post.
Here are a few quick things to remember if you are involved in a hit and run:
- Credibility is extremely important in a Section D claim. If the other driver has disappeared, your statement could be the only evidence of what happened, or even whether there was another driver involved at all. You must be truthful and clear about what happened.
- Try to recall details. You are probably in shock from being unexpectedly involved in an accident, but if you think of it, try to remember the other driver’s licence plate number or the make and model of the vehicle. It is always better to locate the at-fault driver than to try to rely on making a Section D claim.Call the police immediately. The police officer will take your statement and take steps to find the at-fault driver. In fact, if you end up needing to make a Section D claim, you will have to prove that you did everything possible to locate the at-fault driver. Calling the police is a good first step.
- Take photographs. It all comes back to evidence and credibility; photos of the scene could mean the difference between your story being believed or not.
- Call a lawyer immediately. Whether or not the police locate the at-fault driver, your lawyer will need as much evidence as possible to prove your story. The best time to speak with witnesses or gather evidence is very soon after the accident, before memory starts to become foggy. The longer you wait the more difficult gathering evidence will be.
There are a number of reasons a hit and run could happen. Maybe the at-fault driver was unaware that they caused an accident, maybe he or she was afraid of insurance premiums increasing, or maybe he or she was drunk driving. No matter the reason, Section D was designed to provide the innocent driver with a recourse when the at-fault driver cannot be found. A Section D claim can be rather complicated, so it is recommended that you hire a lawyer if you intend to pursue on.