If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you understand how frightening it can be. Knowing what to do when a wreck occurs allows you to approach the situation with a calm demeanour and level head. The steps we’ve outlined below will help you protect your rights.
Ensure Everyone Is Safe
Before you do anything else, stop your vehicle and make sure all parties involved are safe and injury-free, including:
- Other drivers
If someone is seriously injured, call for an ambulance immediately.
Even a minor accident can cause injuries — never assume that everyone is okay.
Collect the Right Information
You’ll want to document the accident so you can accurately report what happened to the authorities, as well as your insurance company. The more details you record, the easier filing a claim will be. Collect the following information at the scene:
- The location of the accident, such as the street name or address.
- The driver’s contact and insurance information.
- The driver’s license plate number, driver’s license number and vehicle registration details. This includes the colour, year, make and model of their car.
- Photos showing damage to all vehicles involved in the collision, as well as any indicators that show the positioning of vehicles, such as skid marks.
- Names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Notes on what happened leading up to the crash.
When talking with the other driver and any witnesses, do not say the accident was your fault, even if you believe it was. Focusing on factual information is the best way to discuss the accident.
Alert the Authorities
It’s important to call the police regardless of the accident’s severity. Having a police report can strengthen your claim and help us substantiate your case. If the other driver was at fault, the police may also issue a ticket, further increasing your ability to pursue reparations.
It may take the authorities a while to arrive. Protect yourself and the scene of the crash while you wait by:
- Turning on your car’s flashers
- Setting up flares, cones or flags if you have them
- Remaining in your vehicle if possible
It’s best to avoid moving your vehicle so the police have a precise image of what happened. However, if you’re blocking traffic, you may need to move off to the shoulder.
When the police do arrive, give them an accurate account of what happened. If you don’t know or don’t remember specific details, tell them so. Since car accident injuries like whiplash can take time to manifest, say you’re unsure when asked if you’re injured. Remember to get the names and badge numbers of all officers, as well as a copy of any police reports written.
Notify Your Car Insurance Company
Once you’ve safely returned home, call your car insurance company as soon as possible. Most policies require that you report an accident within a certain timeframe.
Ask about the details of your coverage and answer all questions truthfully. Give a step-by-step account of what occurred and avoid admitting fault without first consulting our legal team.
Visit Your Doctor
You should always make a doctor appointment following a car accident. While you may not feel any pain, some symptoms can take days or weeks to appear. This is especially true of concussions and soft tissue injuries.
Not only will visiting the doctor help you seek treatment early on, it also provides documentation that can support your case. Should you wait, the claim could be made that you’re not badly injured.
Contact Our Ontario Car Accident Lawyers
Our car accident lawyers are here to help you through this overwhelming process. Call 905-522-9799 to schedule your complimentary consultation. Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers serves clients in Hamilton, Burlington, Stoney Creek, Brantford and other nearby areas of Ontario.