Victim of a Hit and Run Accident? You Have Legal Options!
Picture this: You are driving your bicycle along the street carefully and prudently. You are using your hand signals and watching your surroundings. Despite this, a car comes behind you and strikes your bike causing you to have an accident. Even if the car only clips you, your balance is thrown off and you fall from your bicycle. An accident has happened. Now picture another scenario: You are driving your car down the street carefully and prudently. You are using proper signals and watching your surroundings. Despite this, another vehicle strikes your car causing you to spin out of control and have an accident. These two accident scenarios I am putting forth have something in common: The vehicle that struck the cyclist and other motorist causing an accident, has fled the scene. Not only has the vehicle fled the scene, but the driver is never heard from again. This is not an uncommon situation, especially in busy cities such as Toronto.
As the victim in situations such as these, what are you to do? How are you expected to get compensation for any injuries that were sustained due to the hit and run accident?
When the other vehicle sticks around, usually it would be the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident that would be brought to court. However, if it is impossible for this to occur, the victim of the accident is forced to bring a claim forward against their own insurance company. The problem is, just because they are your own insurance company, it does not mean that they will easily compensate you for your injuries that you sustained in the accident. They become the Defendant in the case and you are the Plaintiff, thus you are put into an adversarial relationship with one another.
One of the major issues in cases such as these comes when there is a question of liability. Liability concentrates on who was at fault for the accident and how did it occur. A real situation occurred when a woman was driving her bicycle in Toronto and was struck by a car before it fled the scene, a witness also saw this accident happen. Despite the eye-witness, it would maybe be difficult to prove that she was indeed struck by a car causing the accident or if her wheels got caught in the streetcar tracks causing the accident. This issue with liability, does not necessarily mean you will not be compensated for your injuries, and you certainly always have the right to proceed to trial, but it may impact how much you’re awarded. It brings a risk factor, that would not necessarily be there if the unknown vehicle driver stayed at the scene and admitted to striking the cyclist.
It is for these reasons, that is important to have your lawyer bring forth all of the evidence, including your expertise as a cyclist and the eye-witness report, forward so that a settlement can be made in your favor or a judge or jury will understand what really happened and you can be compensated for your injuries and other damages caused as a result of the accident. When hit and run occurs, cases can become difficult. However, do not think that just because there is no individual that you can bring a claim against, that you have no legal options to pursue…You do.
If you or a loved one has sustained personal injury from a hit and run accident, or other type of accident, not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm about your legal rights.