What you need to know about hit-and-runs
We all know someone who has tried parallel parking and has accidentally bumped another vehicle while doing so. Most people’s first instinct is to leave a note with their name and phone number on the damaged vehicle’s windshield. That reflex, even if it is in good faith, is considered a hit-and-run offense. Here are the obligations that the Highway Safety Code requires you to fulfill in the event of a hit-and-run.
What is a hit-and-run?
First of all, it is important to understand what a hit-and-run is. In the event of a collision with another vehicle or an inanimate object, you must remain on the scene. If you decide to leave the premises or not to provide certain information, this act constitutes a hit-and-run.
For example, if you hit a city pole while backing up and you leave the area thereafter, you have committed a hit and run.
What are your obligations in the event of a hit-and-run incident?
The Highway Safety Code imposes two obligations on drivers.
- If you bump a parked unoccupied vehicle or an inanimate object (e.g. a railing, a pole, a fence, a tree), you must contact the police to notify them of the event. A police officer will join you at the scene to take your statement and other relevant information, then forward it to the owner of the vehicle or inanimate object. The police will act as an intermediary to ensure the complete transmission of information between all parties involved in the collision.
- When a driver is in the bumped up vehicle, you are required to provide the following information:
- The name and address of the owner listed on the registration certificate
- Insurance certificate (proof of automobile insurance)
- The vehicle's license plate number
A simple name and phone number, contrary to what you might think, is not enough!
If you are accused of having committed a hit-and-run, contact an SOS Ticket lawyer to see if you have a defense to make, and to establish whether the evidence presented against you complies with the law.
Who is responsible for covering the damage?
Know that you NEVER have to pay out of pocket for any damage you caused to the other vehicle. Each individual must have auto insurance as soon as they become the owner of a vehicle in Quebec. The accident victim's insurance will cover the damage sustained to his own vehicle.