Ontario Hit and Run Laws

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

Under federal and provincial laws, leaving the scene of an accident in Ontario is a hybrid offense. That means prosecutors decide what charges to pursue based on the facts. The penalty could be ten years to life, fines, and driving privilege suspension/revocation.

Ontario hit and run laws: What happens if you leave the scene of an accident

  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury is an indictable offense.
  • Insurance coverage is mandatory in Ontario.
  • The court and insurance investigators designate fault.
  • If the victim dies or suffers serious injuries, survivors or the victim may take civil action.


Ontario hit and run laws: What to do if someone hits your car and drives off

Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act section 200, “Duty of Person in Charge of Vehicle in case of Accident” if you are directly or indirectly involved in an accident in the province, you have a legal obligation to immediately stop your vehicle and fulfill the obligations listed in the act and under the Canadian criminal code.

Failure to remain at the scene or fulfill the obligations listed below constitutes a hit-and-run.

Duties of a driver at the scene of an accident in Ontario

  • Stop and remain at the scene. If you left, you must immediately return to the scene.
  • Render reasonable assistance to anyone who may need It.
  • Upon request, you must give your name, address, license number, motor vehicle insurance policy, or the name and address of the registered owner to the struck person, property owner, witness, or peace officer present at the scene.

Note that section 1.1 says that, quote:

“A motor vehicle is deemed to be involved in an accident if any door of the motor vehicle that is open or opening comes into contact with a cyclist, a bicycle, or a moving vehicle, even if the motor vehicle is stationary, stopped, or parked”

Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021, S.O. 2021, c. 26 – Bill 282

What to do after an accident in Ontario

Legal experts recommend that you do the following if you are involved in a traffic collision.

What happens if you hit an unattended vehicle or domestic animal in Ontario?

Provincial and federal laws say that you must make a reasonable effort to locate the struck property owner. If you cannot find the owner, you may leave a note on a conspicuous section of the struck vehicle containing your name, address, and contact information.

You may also report the accident.

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

Under provincial laws, the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident is a fine, not less than $400 and not more than $2000. The court may also order imprisonment for up to six months and license suspension for up to two years.

If you hit a domestic animal, you must report the incident to the police.

Under federal laws, the penalty for a hit and run is:

  • Intentionally/knowingly Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. Indictable offense, punishable by up to ten years in prison.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury. Indictable offense, punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.

How long do you have to report an accident in Ontario?

Under section 199″ “Duty to Report Accident” you must report any accident that results in death, injury, or property damage above $2000 within twenty-four hours.

Failure to report a reportable accident in Ontario is punishable by, quote:

“A person who fails to notify the Registrar in accordance with subsection (4) or (5), as the case may be, is guilty of an offense and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $20000″”

Is car insurance mandatory in Ontario, and how do victims of hit and run accidents get compensation?

Under provincial laws, it is illegal not to have insurance in Ontario. Upon arrest for driving without insurance, you will likely face a fine with no prison or jail time.

If you fall victim to a hit and run, you may file a claim with the state’s public insurer and a private insurer if you have additional coverage.

If the accident results in serious injuries or death, the victim or survivors may have grounds to sue the hit and run driver to recover medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and so on. Again, we recommend consulting with an attorney.

Note: Serious injury refers to any type of injury that puts the victim at significant risk of death, temporary or permanent disability, or disfigurement. Examples include organ damage, limb loss, loss of bodily function, and facial disfigurement.

Instead of going to trial, the parties may use alternatives, including:

  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration.

If you are the victim of a hit and run in Ontario, you should do the following if capable:

How is fault determined in Ontario?

Under Ontario’s Insurance Act, the province’s public insurer and the court designate fault. Consequently, it would help if you didn’t admit fault. Admitting fault may result in higher insurance premiums.

Ontario’s negligence act says that, quote:

Where damages have been caused or contributed to by the fault or neglect of two or more persons, the court shall determine the degree in which each of such persons is at fault or negligent, and, where two or more persons are found at fault or negligent, they are jointly and severally liable to the person suffering loss or damage for such fault or negligence, but as between themselves, in the absence of any contract express or implied, each is liable to make a contribution and indemnify each other in the degree in which they are respectively found to be at fault or negligent””


In any action for damages that is founded upon the fault or negligence of the defendant if fault or negligence is found on the part of the plaintiff that contributed to the damages, the court shall apportion the damages in proportion to the degree of fault or negligence found against the parties respectively””

Ontario hit and run laws: Defenses

Depending on the facts presented, your attorney may argue:

  • You were unaware of your involvement in a traffic collision.
  • You had a reasonable cause to fear for your safety.
  • Mistaken identity.
  • You did not consent (someone else drove your vehicle from the scene without consent.

Remember. If the police fail to find a hit-and-run driver, prosecutors may pursue charges against the registered owner of the vehicle.

Other Ontario Laws