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British Columbia insurance law makes sure that every vehicle licensed in this province carries at least basic coverage of $200,000 in third party liability insurance through ICBC. This basic level of required ICBC coverage means that if someone else injures you with their vehicle, you at least have some certainty that you will at least have access to some insurance funds. Even if the minimum insurance is inadequate for most serious injuries, the driver that injured you will be able to, at least a certain extent, compensate you for things such as your lost wages, medical expenses not covered by the medical services plan (MSP), and for your pain and suffering. To access this coverage, however, you need to know who the other driver was, or at least have enough information so that the vehicle can be found and the appropriate insurance policy identified. But what happens if the driver that hurt you fled the scene of the accident and you can’t identify either the driver or the vehicle?
Some insurance coverage is still available even if your collision was a hit and run. Section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act still provides basic coverage through ICBC for anyone injured by a vehicle in BC, even if the vehicle or driver can’t actually be identified. This coverage provides up to $200,000, the same amount as the minimum provided by any BC licensed vehicle.
This insurance is last resort, however, and isn’t available if there is other insurance coverage available elsewhere, such as if the vehicle’s owner can be found but not the driver. There are also requirements that you be proactive in attempting to identify the other driver, which usually means making a police report and attempting to find witnesses.
In addition to still not being able to identify the driver after taking reasonable steps, there are two other requirements to access this coverage through ICBC:
A highway in BC has a broader meaning than the usual sense and is broadly defined as most roadways that are meant for public use. Beyond this, it’s not necessary that you have any insurance of your own to access this coverage or for you to prove that the driver that injured you actually had any insurance. This is because hit and run coverage is a matter of public policy intended to ensure those without a way to directly access the insurance of the person that hurt them won’t be left entirely unprotected from the actions of someone who has wronged them twice, first in the collision, and second by leaving the scene.
If you do have your own vehicle insurance, this provincial hit and run coverage also extends to the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and the United States, provided you can show that another vehicle hit you.
Accessing hit and run coverage can be a technical area of insurance law with some strict time limits in reporting the collision and making a claim. If you find yourself in a situation where you were injured by an unknown driver, you should contact an injury lawyer experienced in making ICBC hit and run claims as soon as possible to make sure that you preserve your rights.
If you have a question about this issue topic or another legal issues, please feel free to contact us for a free legal consultation. We may be reached at our offices at 250-888-0002, or via email at email@example.com.