By Me Laurence Dubé-Proulx
When we talk about a “victim” and a “car hit and run” that involves one or a few drivers, we spontaneously think about severe accidents that we see in the news: hit pedestrians, road rage, high speed, etc.
However, did you know that according to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, a “victim” of a car hit and run also designates any person that, without being present at the moment of the hit and run or is incapable of identifying the faulty driver, is a victim of damage caused to their properties.
As an example, you are invited to dine at one of your friend’s house a Saturday evening during the month of June after a bicycle ride. You park yourself in the street in front of your friend’s house and you enjoy an evening in good company. Later that evening, you decide that it is this to head home. You walk towards your vehicle and, suddenly, you notice with dread that the back of your vehicle has been smashed. That’s not it: the bicycles that were on the bike rack behind were crushed. There are no notes on the windshield and no one has seen anything!
If, like a good number of Quebeckers, you are only insured on one “side” for your vehicle, you will probably bite your fingers off. It’s a good thing that the SAAQ has a compensation system that is applicable according to the following criteria:
- The accident happened in Québec;
- You are the owner of the damaged vehicle or the damaged properties (for example : a bicycle)
- You are not entirely responsible for the accident;
- Your insurance policy does not cover hit and runs;
- Your insurance policy has a civil responsibility clause of at least $50 000;
- You have denounced the accident to a police service at the latest 48 hours after the incident;
- You produced a demand to the SAAQ at the latest 60 days after the accident;
- You did not do any reparations to your vehicle or to your properties before the SAAQ had evaluated the damages;
- Your driving licence is valid and there was no pending suspension at the moment of the accident;
- Your vehicle is registered and your registration is valid;
- The vehicle’s or properties’ damages are of at least $500 (minimal franchise of $500 and maximal indemnity of $10 000).
Ouf! That is a lot of criteria, but it is relatively simple and fast to verify if you respect all these requirements.
The same logic applies if a vehicle destroys your lovely fence when finishing a race as long as your insurance does not cover this type of incident. Thus, there is a solution for the hefty solution that would result from the repair work.
Other conditions can apply, thus, in case of doubt, do not hesitate to communicate with us!
The information contained in this newsletter may be of juridical nature, but does constitute legal advice.