What should you do after a motor vehicle accident?

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident there are several things you should do to make sure you are safe and that your rights are protected.

Stop

First, if you are involved in a collision, stop.  If you do not stop you may face criminal charges.

Report to the Police

If anyone is injured or if the vehicles damage appears to be over $1,000.00, you must contact the police.  If there is an emergency or if you believe any of the other drivers are drunk, on drugs or guilty of another Criminal Code offence, you should call 911.   

If it appears that no one is seriously injured and the total damage to all vehicles is less than $1,000.00 you should still call the local police for instructions.

If the police or a collision reporting centre are not involved and there is no Motor Vehicle Accident report, the other party may dispute who was at fault for or even involved in the accident.  It is important that the details of the accident are documented. 

The Motor Vehicle Accident report will identify the names and addresses of the parties involved in the collision and their insurance information.  This information is needed for your claims.

Move Your Vehicle to Safety

If it is safe, move your vehicle to the side of the road.  If your vehicle cannot be moved, turn on your four-way flashers or use some other warning signal such as warning triangles or flares, if appropriate.

Take Photos

If possible take photos of the accident scene, preferably before the vehicles are moved.  Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles.

Photographs can be helpful to demonstrate the seriousness of your collision to the insurance company and possibly a judge or jury.  They may also assist with an understanding of how the accident happened.

Get Contact and Insurance Details

Get the names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance policy information of the other drivers involved in the collision.  Write down the license plate numbers and names of owners of the vehicles involved in the collision.   

Also write the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of passengers and witnesses.  If there is any dispute about who was at fault, the evidence of a witness could prove crucial to winning your case.

Seek Medical Attention

If you are injured, depending on the seriousness of your injuries, go to the emergency department at the hospital or see your family physician.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Contact a Lawyer

Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.  Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company may want to meet with you to sign authorizations, take a written statement or settle your claim.  Do not agree to do any of these things until you have contacted your injury lawyer.

There are deadlines and limitation periods that apply to your accident benefit claims and the claim against the other driver.  Your lawyer will help ensure you do not miss any of the deadlines.

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