Alberta Hit and Run Laws

Alberta Hit and Run Laws: What happens if someone leaves the scene of an accident?

Under Alberta’s Traffic Act Section 69.1, leaving the scene of an accident is a summary offense if the accident involves property damage and an indictable offense if the victim dies or suffers a serious injury.

  • Failing to remain at the scene of an accident is a hybrid offense in Alberta.
  • “Hybrid offense” refers to an offense where the prosecutor chooses to either charge the accused with a summary conviction (misdemeanor) or indictable offense (felony).
  • The seriousness and the actions of the accused determine the charge.
  • An at-fault accident in Alberta will remain on your record for 6 years.
  • You have two years to file a personal injury claim.
  • Uninsured drivers or victims who cannot afford medical expenses may qualify for Alberta’s Motor vehicle accident claims fund.


Alberta hit and run laws explained: Is leaving the scene of an accident a criminal offense?

Under Canada’s criminal code section 252(1) “Failure to Stop at Scene of Accident,” and Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act section 69.1, you are guilty of a hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident without fulfilling the requirements below.

Driver Duties at the scene of an accident in Alberta, Canada

  • Immediately stop your vehicle and remain at the scene. If you have left the scene, you must return and remain there until you do the following.
  • Render reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
  • Submit, in writing, your name, number, license plate number, and financial responsibility card to the struck person, property owner, or peace officer.

Note that section 252 (2) reads, quote:

“Evidence that an accused failed to stop his vehicle, vessel or, where possible, his aircraft, as the case may be, offer assistance where any person has been injured or appears to require assistance and give his name and address is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof of an intent to escape civil or criminal liability.”

Also, if the victim requests it or if it is apparent that immediate medical assistance is necessary, you may transport the individual to a physician or care facility.

What to do after an accident in Alberta?

Under state and provincial laws, an accident becomes a crime if you leave the scene without fulfilling the requirements above. That raises the question;

Can I sue for an accident in Alberta?

Yes. Even if you fulfill the requirements above, the victim or property owner has the right to take civil action against the driver. To lessen the fallout, if you are involved in a traffic collision, you should:

  • Do not admit fault at the scene of an accident.
  • Seek medical assistance before commenting about your health.
  • File a police report.
  • Contact your insurer.
  • If capable, gather evidence that may aid investigators, including dashcam footage and witness testimonies.
  • Call a lawyer immediately if the accident results in death, serious injury, or expensive property damage.

Alberta’s Motor vehicle accident claims fund: what happens if the police do not find a hit and run driver

Established in 1947, Alberta’s Vehicle Accident Claims Act is a program intended to aid individuals involved in accidents. If you are uninsured, suffered injury, are unable to pay medical bills, or if the police do not find the hit and run driver, you may apply here.

Alberta Vehicle Accident Claims Act: What you need to know

  • Uninsured motorists involved in an accident may qualify.
  • The property damage must be above $100.
  • You need a copy of your police report to apply.
  • You must be a resident of Alberta.
  • You may apply on behalf of a deceased person.

Download Alberta Vehicle Accident Claims Act here.

Is leaving the scene of an accident a summary offense in Alberta?

Yes. Under The traffic act, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage without fulfilling the requirements above is a summary offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail.

What happens if you hit an unattended vehicle in Alberta?

Under Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act section 69(2) (a), if you are involved in an accident involving an unattended vehicle, you must immediately stop your vehicle and make a reasonable effort to locate and notify the property owner. Failure to notify the owner and exchange information is a summary offense.

What if you cannot find the owner?

Section B of the statute reads, quote:

“Leave in a conspicuous place in or on the unattended vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the driver, the number of the driver’s operator’s license, and the license plate number of the vehicle that was involved in the accident with the unattended vehicle.”

Section 3 reads.

“If the driver of a vehicle is incapable of providing the information required by subsection (1) or (2) and there is another occupant of the vehicle capable of providing the information, the occupant shall provide the information required to be provided by the driver.”

How long do you have to report a hit and run in Alberta?

Under provincial laws, you have twenty-four hours to report any accident that results in death, injury, or property damage above $2000. Failure to file a report may result in a fine.

If you are unsure if the accident is reportable, we recommend calling the police to confirm.

Is leaving the scene of an accident an indictable offense in Alberta?

Yes. If the victim dies or suffers serious injuries, the hit and run driver is guilty of an indictable/hybrid offense -punishable by up to five years in prison.

Section 252. 1. (1.2) reads, quote:

Every person who commits an offense under subsection (1) knowing that bodily harm has been caused to another person involved in the accident is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Alberta?

  • Leaving the scene of an accident. Hybrid offense (Summary/indictable offense).
  • Hit and run involving property damage/injury. Summary offense. Punishable by up to 5 years in prison/6 months in jail, depending on the facts presented.
  • Knowingly Leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury. Indictable offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
  • Knowingly leaving the scene of an accident involving death. Indictable offense, punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.

How do victims of a hit-and-run accident get compensation?

If you are the victim of a hit and run in Alberta, you may apply for MVAC (Alberta Motor vehicle Claims program). You may also file a claim with your insurer if you have cover, or you may file a civil action.

The requirements for taking civil action are:

  • The accident must be the fault of the other party.
  • You must know the identity of the hit and run driver.

To that end, we recommend that you do the following at the scene of an accident:

How is fault determined in Alberta?

Under the Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD) system, your insurer pays you after an accident. The system designates fault based on negligent actions, willful misconduct, reckless driving, violations of traffic rules, and other factors.

What if you are the at-fault driver?

Under the system, the at-fault party will have to pay higher auto insurance premiums.

How long do you have to sue someone after a car accident in Alberta?

If your injuries exceed MVAC program limits ($200,000), you may take civil action against the other party.  

Remember, you have two years to file a claim and one year to serve your claim on the accused. If the parties involved agree, you may avoid going to court by settling the matter through Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation or settlement.

We recommend consulting with a claim’s attorney immediately.

Alberta hit and run laws: Accident forgiveness

As mentioned, a conviction for a hit and run in Alberta will impact your insurance premiums. If your insurance cover includes “accident forgiveness” and you have been accident-free for at least 6 years, your insurer can “forgive” your first accident, meaning your premiums will not go up.

 We recommend contacting your insurer.

How long does an at-fault accident stay on your record in Alberta?

If the investigators find you at fault for an accident., the accident will remain on your record for at least six years.

How long after a hit-and-run accident can you be charged?

  • The limitations on personal injury in Alberta is two years.
  • If you suffer property damage, you have ten years to file a claim.
  • If the victim dies, survivors have two years to file a wrongful death claim.

Other Alberta Laws