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Do Injured Car Accident Victims Have Responsibility To Collect Drivers’ Information?

According to Canada’s Criminal Code, drivers who are involved in a car accident are required to stop and exchange important information such as their full names, contact details, insurance company and policy number. Going over these facts with the other driver will help make the process of filing an insurance claim more seamless. The insurance adjuster will use this information to determine who is at fault by assessing the vehicle damaged, the information provided and any supporting documents such as police reports.

However, what would happen if the other driver doesn’t collect any information about the driver who caused the accident and goes ahead to file a claim? Will the claim be granted?

The Lamb v. Co-operators General Insurance Co, 2020 ONSC 4955

In a recent case involving Ms. Lamb, who was driving her electric scooter in a parking lot and got hit by a car resulting in serious injury that required surgery, Co-Operators General Insurance denied her coverage, arguing that she made no effort to identify the driver or owner of the car that ultimately fled the scene.

Ms. Lamb was hit by a reckless driver in a plaza parking lot and suffered a damaged tibial plateau, which required surgery. When the driver came out of his car, he was only concerned about his vehicle’s damage and did not engage with the plaintiff, her friend or her husband.

Co-Operators argued that Ms. Lamb had every opportunity to record the information about the responsible driver since he had even exited the car to survey the damage to his vehicle. Ms. Lamb was assisted by her husband and friend, who took her to a nearby restaurant to get help only to find that the driver who struck their loved one had fled the scene.

The motion for summary judgement brought by Co-Operators was denied by the Superior Court of Justice, who argued that the plaintiff’s condition after the accident resulted in significant pain, shock and confusion. That neither her husband, friend or herself acted unreasonably for failing to collect the driver’s information. The court ruled that Ms. Lamb did not have a reasonable opportunity to identify the driver or vehicle that struck her. It clearly stated that determining the case otherwise would be to ignore the reality of her situation.

What to do after an accident

The aftermath of an accident often involves a lot of chaos. You may be too confused, anxious or hurt to record any of the other driver’s details. We’ll start with the typical checklist, which covers the steps you need to take after a car accident.

  • Check yourself and the other passengers for injuries and ensure you’re okay. If you’re able to, move out of the car and to a safe spot.
  • Involve the police, whether it’s a minor accident or a serious one. Getting a police report will help in filing an insurance claim and ensure everyone is safe.
  • Jot down any details you may have about the accident, including the persons involved, the location, colour, make and model of the other car. Get it all down because it may be difficult to remember some of these details later on.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, the car damage and the condition outside of your car. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, tiny details you may capture in these photos can help locate the other driver.
  • Jot down any information you may get from someone else who witnessed the accident. Witnesses may tell you details about the other car that you may have missed.
  • Contact your insurance company. Even if you don’t have any details of the driver that hit you, your insurance coverage may instantly cover the cost of treatment. You will just need to report the accident and file a claim.
  • Get the help of a car accident lawyer if your claim is denied. In fact, it’s always recommended that you speak to a lawyer before giving your insurer any statement or accepting their settlement offer. Our lawyers will review the facts of your case, protect your rights and explain all your legal options.
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