Hit and Run in Canada: What to Do If You’ve Experienced

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Charged with hit and run case in Canada? What should I do in such a scenario? Well, the struggle is real. And like any other kind of accident, hit-and-run cases are equally important to report and take action immediately.

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a person leaves the crime scene, instead of reporting the damage or helping the victim. Along with doing a criminal offence, the driver fails to perform their humanitarian work. So, as per Canadian law, anyone performing this act has to face severe penalties and punishments.

So what to do if you have experienced it or are charged illegally? In this following article, we will learn about the hit and run Canada, along with giving the answer to all the questions revolving in your mind.

Table of Contents

What is Meant by a Hit and Run Canada?

A hit and run is a kind of incident that takes place when a driver doesn’t remain at the incident scene. Instead, they leave the accident spot immediately as if nothing had happened.

Some common scenarios of the hit and run accident are hitting a car while attempting to park parallelly or rear-ending someone at the time of driving and fleeing the crime scene.

In many cases, motorcyclists strike pedestrians or bicyclists while driving. Whether it is a motorbike, a pedestrian, or even a bicycle, it is an accident. And thus, a driver is legally obligated to remain at the accident.

They also must help the victim in any way they can, such as providing information to the victim and the police they may need or reporting the incident to the police in case the damage exceeds $1,000.

According to Canadian Traffic Law, it is illegal to leave an accident site, and anyone who leaves the place can be charged with a hit and run for breaching the law. It is lawfully punishable, coming with quite severe punishments, particularly if the victim suffers from some severe and incurable injuries.

What are the Penalties for a Hit and Run in Canada?

In Canada, there are 2 kinds of charges for a hit and run. One is the Highway Traffic Act, and another is the Canadian Criminal Code.

When a driver leaves the site of an accident without stopping, it is deemed a criminal offence, with the driver being convicted under the Criminal Code.

Most often, when a pedestrian or bicyclist is subjected to an accident, criminal hit-and-run charges are issued. It is because this particular hit and run offence has the potential risk of leaving the victim with life-threatening injuries, such as broken bones, paralysis, or even worse, death.

On the other hand, a driver receives a traffic ticket under the Highway Traffic Act for failing to stay at the collision spot. It is more often the case if someone strikes your automobile while it is parked or if they run you over while you are moving.

According to the criminal code, there are severe consequences for hit and run accidents. This includes the following:

  • If the driver is convicted of failing to stop even though the victim was unharmed, they might have to serve up to 5 years behind bars.
  • If they are accused of neglecting to stop or stay, and the victim was hurt severely, in that case, they might have to face up to 10 years in prison or possibly be prosecuted with criminal negligence.

What to Do After You Experience a Hit and Run as a Victim?

Here is a list of the things that you should do after experiencing a hit and run accident, as a victim:

Note down the licence plate number

First things come first; try to obtain their licence plate number. As it is the most effective way to track down someone. People have been known to hit parked vehicles or speed away too quickly when you weren’t looking.

There are several angles from which they could strike you while you are crossing the street. If you can, try to remember or note down the licence plate number.

Take the witness names and contact details

You can also ask any of the nearby neighbours whether they saw the license plate or any other identifying features that might be helpful if there are any witnesses. In case, the witnesses didn’t see the license plate; you must still note their names and contact information for future help.

Check for security cameras

Reporting a hit-and-run can be challenging since it is pretty difficult to find out who has hit you or your vehicle. It is particularly valid if they struck your vehicle while you were inside the building and it was parked in the parking space.

However, the good news is that most buildings, stores, and parking spaces nowadays come with high-quality security cameras. These cameras can play quite a big role in capturing the entire accident.

Therefore, check for this kind of red light camera, and in case you spot any, make sure to get hold of the footage. As it can come quite handy in identifying the assailant and finally shedding light on the mysterious case.

Talk with the Security Guard

Another possibility is that a security guard nearby may saw the entire incident happening. You can ask them if there is any. It will help you to find a lead in this case.

Will the Driver Be Held Responsible If s/he Leaves a Note Behind?

Of course. By law, they will still be held guilty of hit and run behaviour, responsible for the harm they did, and subject to charges for leaving the site without reporting it. But, again, a message is useless without contact details if the driver simply leaves a note.

Besides, in most cases, the notes a driver leaves behind are inaccurate and contain false information. That is, they might just sit down and write a fraudulent phone number to make it appear as though they were trying to assist you. While, in reality, they don’t have any such intentions.

What are the Settlement Amounts for Hit-and-run Cases in Canada?

Under Section 252 of the Criminal Code of Canada, getting entangled in an accident and leaving the scene without stopping is highly punishable.

And if someone is found guilty of this crime, they run a high risk of getting their license automatically suspended for up to three years. If that wasn’t enough, next comes to the insurance providers increasing their premiums by 50% or above.

Now for the Highway Traffic Act, the driver is expected to lose about 7 points from his licence and a suspension of licence for 30 days.

In certain cases, this might continue for up to as long as 2 years. Additionally, there are consequences that include paying a fine of $400 to $2000.

Despite all these penalties, the offender might receive a 6-month imprisonment. The following are some of the penalties for hit and run under the Canadian Criminal Code:

  • Receiving a permanent criminal record
  • 1-3 years of license suspension
  • Probation period
  • Having to pay a fine as ordered to

Depending on the type and severity of the case, the penalty and sentence can get increased.

What Happens If Alcohol is Involved in Hit and Run Case?

If any traces of alcohol is later found, the punishment would be much more severer than if the defendant had left the scene panicking. It is because driving under the influence of any drugs is totally forbidden. Therefore, you are already breaking the law, leading to another bigger crime.

Obviously, the sentencing will take into account the accused’s driving behaviour, which has indeed contributed to the collision.

In the event of a death, you may need to serve two years in jail. This punishment will be even more if records of drinking are found.

Overall, the history and criminal history of the accused are taken into consideration while determining the sentencing. In addition, the court may order to run some clinical tests to fully examine the suspect’s body.

How Should You Respond If You are Accused of a Hit and Run Accident?

A hit-and-run offence is a much more severe offence compared to a simple traffic infraction, ultimately coming with harsher punishments. In case you are already charged with a hit-and-run offence, you need an experienced criminal lawyer’s help right now. In fact, the sooner, the better it will be for your case.

Claims of hit-and-run can be very stressful. It might even be necessary for someone who wasn’t in the collision to provide an explanation for their actions. The pain can be equally as terrible as the victim’s, especially when the accusation is validated.

As a result, the impulse to escape this situation frequently becomes more challenging. Instead, dropping the charges seems like the more profitable option to both sides. Therefore, it is not advised you continue your legal defence in this situation.

Remember, your life doesn’t have to be ruined by a hit and run incident. Besides, in Canada, if you have recently been charged with fleeing the scene of an accident, consult with a hit and run lawyer to learn how they can help you defend your rights and pursue the best resolution to put your life back on the roll.

To Conclude

Hopefully, after reading the article, you have no more questions in your mind about the hit and run Canada. An accident is damaging, whether it has minor or severe injuries. Therefore, reporting the accident right after it took place is certainly the wisest decision as it will save you from a lot of stress.

However, for any kind of confusion, make sure to take legal support from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible for your own betterment.


Check out the below queries regarding the most frequently asked question regarding the hit and run accident:

Does a hit and run count as an accident?

Of course. It's crucial to report your accident to the police within 24 hours, counting from the time of the incident to ensure it falls under 'not at fault'. Otherwise, if you wait longer, the insurance companies will even get the chance to not pay you any compensation for marking the entire accident as your fault.

Can you sue someone for a hit and run?

Yes, indeed. You can file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your damages. In addition, you may be eligible for a sizable payment in a civil lawsuit if you suffer great injuries in the hit and run accident.

Can you get arrested for a hit and run?

Absolutely. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a hit and run accident carries severe penalties and punishments. If the driver is convicted of failing to stop even though the victim was totally unharmed, they still run a high chance of spending up to 5 years behind bars.



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