7 Things to do After a Car Accident in Ontario

Feb 22 2022 | ZAYOUNA ADMIN

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A car accident—the potential of suffering serious injuries and life-altering consequences—is every driver’s worst nightmare every time they get on the road. It’s why our society puts a premium on road safety. Unfortunately, car accidents can occur with extreme weather and road conditions in Burlington, Etobicoke, and across the GTA, and other drivers’ poor driving habits. The best thing you can do is drive safely, and know what to do in case of a car accident.

It’s no secret that getting in a car accident is stressful. But if you are able, staying alert and following the proper steps during this emergency are essential to your recovery, claiming accident benefits, and recouping losses from property damage. A car accident lawyer in Ontario can help you navigate this difficult time, and secure the best possible outcome that helps you get back on the road safely.

7 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

Were you involved in a car accident? Find out what you need to do in case of a car accident in Ontario. Follow these steps, from the scene of the accident to claiming accident benefits, and getting the help of a car accident lawyer:

1. Stop the car for your safety

In severe collisions, the sheer force of the impact against another vehicle or object on the road can immediately stop your car. However, in the case of minor collisions wherein you are able to maintain control of your vehicle, you need to stop the car. It doesn’t matter if the damage appears to be minor and no one is hurt. Under Ontario traffic regulations, failing to stop in case of a car accident is a criminal accident. Make sure to turn on your four-way lights and set up road flares if you have them.

2. Stay at the scene

Don’t flee the scene. Under Ontario traffic regulations, it is illegal to leave the scene of a car accident. Whether you were directly or indirectly involved, and whether or not the damage appears to be minor, you need to remain at the scene until the police and emergency services arrive. This is especially crucial if someone is injured, as well as if your vehicle is severely damaged and cannot be driven to the side of the road.

However, when it is safe, and if you can, try moving your vehicle to the side of the road, away from moving traffic. If you are unable to move, make sure that your hazard lights are on and have road flares set up.

3. Call 911

Calling 911 alerts the police and emergency response crews to a car accident. This allows them to assess the scene, extract and treat any injured persons to ensure survival, and gather evidence to determine who was at fault. It’s also crucial for the police to be at the scene if there are signs of intoxication among involved drivers, or other illegal activities.

In minor car accidents, the 911 operator may tell you that the police are not required to be at the scene. Instead, they may direct you to call the nearest Ontario collision reporting centre in Burlington or Etobicoke.

4. Take photos of the car accident scene

Feeling shocked and distressed is a normal reaction in a car accident. However, it’s important to do everything you can to maintain your presence of mind. Car accident lawyers recommend documenting the scene once it is safe for you to get out of your vehicle. These photos can serve as evidence when filing a claim for auto insurance accident benefits, and if applicable, a personal injury lawsuit.

5. Record the details of the accident

Similar to taking photos of your vehicle, the location of the accident, the other cars involved, and other details, you also need to record key information pertaining to the collision.

Write down where the accident took place, the time and date, weather and road conditions, the type of accident (i.e., single collision or multi-vehicle collision), your estimated speed, and a description of how the accident occurred. Make note of the number of passengers involved, if any, and their names and where they were seated in the car.

Then, you also need to record details related to the other driver(s) involved. Note their name, address, and contact information, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate, vehicle make and colour, the registered owner of the vehicle, and vehicle identification number.

Next, ask for their auto insurance information. Under Ontario’s no-fault insurance system, you will need to claim accident benefits from the at-fault driver’s insurer. If you were at fault, you will need to provide them with your insurance information.

6. Call your auto insurance company

Under Ontario’s no-fault insurance system, you will primarily be dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurer to claim accident benefits. However, if you need to file a claim, keep in mind that you have to do so within 7 days, or ideally within 24 hours. This enables benefits to be coordinated as soon as possible and avoids denied claims.

Your insurance company will need these details. Note that if you followed Step 5 above, you will already have this information, making it easier to relay these to your auto insurance provider:

  • Your insurance policy number
  • Make, model, year, registration, and license plate of your vehicle
  • Details of the accident
  • The name, license number, vehicle information, and insurance information of all drivers involved
  • Number of passengers involved, if any
  • The extent of the injuries of all persons involved
  • The extent of damage to your vehicle
  • Name and badge number of responding police information.

7. Call a car accident lawyer

Whether you were denied accident benefits, or want to know about your legal options for pursuing a claim against the at-fault party, it’s in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

You can consult a lawyer at any point after a car accident, whether you are just starting the process of filing a claim for accident benefits, or were denied benefits. Bear in mind that there are statutes of limitations defining how long after an accident you can pursue a claim, so it’s best to speak with a car accident lawyer right away.