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Navigating Hit and Run Laws in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Hit and Run Laws: What Drivers Need to Know

Every driver in Newfoundland and Labrador has the responsibility and legal obligation to act responsibly in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, some drivers do not adhere to this responsibility and become involved in Hit and Run accidents.

In this article, we explore the laws surrounding hit and run accidents in Newfoundland and Labrador, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, and what drivers should do if they find themselves in such a scenario.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

As per the Canadian Criminal Code, anyone involved in an accident must stop and remain at the scene of the accident until the requirements under Section 169 have been fulfilled. Failure to do so could result in a variety of penalties, including fines or possible jail time.

If you leave the scene of an accident where either property damage or injury has occurred, you could be charged with a criminal offense, and if found guilty, could face imprisonment. In the most serious cases, for example, when someone dies as a result of a hit and run accident, drivers could face life imprisonment.

In addition to the penalties under the criminal law, drivers found to be responsible for a hit and run accident may also be subject to civil action from those who have been harmed, such as the victims or their insurers. In such cases, the driver may be required to pay compensation for property damage or personal injury they have caused.

Defenses for Leaving the Scene

There are situations where drivers who leave the scene may have some defenses. For instance, if they were unaware that the accident had occurred, then it would not be a hit and run accident.

Similarly, if the driver was involuntarily incapable of complying with their statutory obligations, such as being unconscious, then defenses may apply. Other situations of fear or duress may give rise to a possible defense.

Filing a Claim or Taking Civil Action

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you have been injured. After that, you should report the accident to your insurer and the police, even if the driver has fled the scene.

The police will most likely conduct an investigation into the matter, and if the driver is identified, they will face possible criminal charges. However, even if the driver is never identified, you may be able to recover damages through an uninsured motorist policy or by filing a civil lawsuit against the driver.

When filing a civil lawsuit, it is advisable to retain an attorney who can guide you through the process. The lawsuit must be filed within two years if it is for property damage only and within three years if it is for personal injury.

Duties of a Driver at the Scene of an Accident

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the law requires drivers involved in an accident to follow specific procedures under Section 169 of the Highway Traffic Act. These include stopping at the scene of the accident immediately and providing their name, address, registration number, driver’s license, and proof of insurance to the other parties involved in the accident.

Additionally, they must provide reasonable assistance to the injured parties, such as calling an ambulance if the situation warrants it.

What to do After an Accident in Newfoundland

If you are involved in an accident in Newfoundland and the other party involved in the accident has failed to comply with the legal requirements under Section 169 or has fled the scene entirely, you must take specific steps to protect yourself. First, if you have been injured in the accident, get medical attention immediately.

Then, seek the advice of an attorney who can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit and recovering compensation for any injuries or property damage. When you file a lawsuit, you must do so within two years of the accident if it is for property damage or within three years if it is for personal injury.

It is also essential to collect evidence, such as photos of the scene, witness statements, and copies of the police report.

Hitting an Unattended Vehicle

If you hit an unattended vehicle, the law requires that you make a reasonable effort to locate the owner and report the accident to the police within 24 hours. If this isn’t possible, you must leave a note with your name, address, and other details on the vehicle, and notify the peace officer as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

Hit and run accidents are serious offenses that receive harsh penalties under the law. Whether you are a victim or driver involved in an accident, it is important to understand the legal requirements and to follow them.

Remember, if you have any queries or concerns, seek the advice of a lawyer. By taking a responsible approach, everyone on the road can help minimize the risks of hit and run accidents, making the highways safer for everyone.

Reporting an Accident in Newfoundland: Everything You Need to Know

Car accidents can happen at any time, and when they do, it’s essential to know what steps to take. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the law requires drivers involved in accidents to follow a specific protocol for reporting the incident.

In this article, we delve into the requirements under Section 170, penalties for failure to offer assistance, stop and exchange information, what to do if you suffer injury from a hit and run, civil and administrative penalties, Newfoundland’s at-fault province status, and unclear fault scenarios.

Requirements Under Section 170

Under Section 170(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, any person involved in an accident resulting in death, injury, or property damage exceeding $2000 is required to report the accident as soon as possible using the quickest available means of communication. This can be done through a written report of the accident to the police or by calling 911 if someone needs immediate medical attention.

If a driver is incapable of providing a report or is a passenger in the vehicle involved in the accident, any other occupant of the vehicle who has knowledge of the incident must file the report. In addition, if the vehicle involved in the accident is disabled, the driver must make an effort to move it out of the way of other drivers, using garages or other machinery available to facilitate this.

Penalties for Failure to Offer Assistance, Stop, and Exchange Information

The law requires drivers involved in accidents to give reasonable assistance to those injured, to stop at the scene of the accident, and to exchange information with the other parties involved in the collision. Failure to do so can result in separate offenses, including obstruction of justice and providing false information to the authorities, which can result in criminal charges.

In addition, if a driver fails to report an accident, they can be charged, which is a separate offense from failing to stop and provide information. A driver who provides false information to the police or makes a false report of the accident can also face criminal penalties, including imprisonment and fines.

What to Do If You Suffer Injury from a Hit and Run

If you suffer an injury from a hit and run accident, you should seek medical care immediately. Report the accident to the police, and provide as much information as possible, including descriptions of the driver and car make and color.

Seek guidance from your insurer and document as much information as possible about the accident, such as photos, a copy of the police report, and witness statements. If you are unable to identify the driver responsible, you may still be able to recover compensation through your insurer or by taking legal action.

Consult a claims attorney to determine the best course of action. Newfoundland as an “At Fault” Province

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the province operates under the direct compensation model, which means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, the insurance company pays the claim.

However, if the accident is taken to civil court and fault is a factor, comparative negligence laws apply to determine the degree of fault assigned to each party in the accident. Under the Comparative Negligence Act, a court may assign fault to both parties involved in the accident, in which case they have joint and individual liability.

Joint and individual liability means that each party carries some fault and is liable for their proportionate share of the damages.

Unclear Fault Scenarios

In unclear fault scenarios, both parties involved in the accident may share responsibility for the incident. In this case, each party’s insurance company will usually cover their share of the damages.

If evidence suggests that one party carries more of the blame, the other party’s insurer may sue the initially responsible driver for indemnification or contribution. Indemnification means that the insurer will pay for any damages, while contribution means that the court will assign a percentage of the fault to each driver and each driver will pay their proportionate share.

In such cases, the court may also take into account any costs associated with the accident and set them off against any compensation awarded.

Final Thoughts

Car accidents can be stressful and overwhelming, but by knowing the law and following the right steps, you can minimize the damage and protect yourself against penalties, civil action, and legal claims. Remember, it’s essential to report any accident resulting in death, injury, or significant property damage to the authorities and your insurer and seek medical attention if necessary.

If you need further advice, consult a legal professional to understand your rights and options for compensation. In conclusion, reporting an accident in Newfoundland is not only a legal obligation but also crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of all parties involved.

The requirements under Section 170 of the Highway Traffic Act outline the steps drivers must follow, including reporting the accident promptly and providing accurate information. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties and criminal charges.

Additionally, hit and run accidents can have serious consequences, but victims can seek compensation through their insurer or by taking legal action. The province’s status as an “at fault” jurisdiction means that fault is considered in civil court cases, and joint and individual liability may come into play.

It is vital for drivers to understand their obligations and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others when accidents occur. By remaining informed and acting responsibly, we can all contribute to safer roads and ensure justice for those affected by accidents.

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