Ontario’s roads, especially in winter, can be very dangerous for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Thousands of people are hurt due to car accidents every year, and nobody is ever truly ready to deal with a serious automobile accident.
If you’ve got involved in a car accident, follow these steps to ensure a better result for all parties involved in the incident:
STEP 1: Stop. If your vehicle is involved in an accident and you don’t stop, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
STEP 2: If anyone is injured, if the total damage to all the vehicles involved appears to be MORE than $1,000, or if you suspect that any of the other drivers involved are guilty of a Criminal Code offence (such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol), call 911 and follow the instructions given to you by the emergency operator. Police will arrive as soon as possible. Do not try to move anyone injured in the accident — you may aggravate their injuries!
If no one is injured and total damage to all the vehicles involved appears to be LESS than $1,000, call your local police for instructions. Police units may or may not be dispatched to the scene. If local police do not attend the accident scene, they will instruct you to report to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours. Collision Reporting Centres are police facilities created to assist motorists in reporting accidents. At the reporting center, you will be assisted in completing a police report, and damage to the vehicle will be photographed. Collision Reporting Centres are currently available in several jurisdictions across the province. Visit www.accsupport.com or call: (416) 745-3301 to locate the Collision Reporting Centre nearest to you. If there isn’t a Collision Reporting Centre in the area of the accident, the police will ask you to go to the nearest police station to file a report.
STEP 3: If it is safe, move your vehicle out of traffic to the side of the road. If your vehicle cannot be driven, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares, as appropriate. If you have access to a digital camera or a cell phone, you should use it to take pictures of the scene, preferably before the vehicles are moved. You should also use your cell phone to audio record as much information as possible.
STEP 4: Write down the names, addresses, and telephone and driver’s license numbers of all of the other drivers, the license plate numbers of the other vehicles, as well as the names and addresses of the registered owners of the vehicles, and the insurance information for each of the other vehicles.
STEP 5: Also obtain passengers’ and witnesses’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
STEP 6: Jot down specific details about the scene of the accident. Contact us today for a free copy of an Accident Worksheet.
- As difficult as it may seem, you must remain calm.
- Do not argue with other drivers and passengers. Save your story for the police.
- Do not voluntarily assume liability or take responsibility, sign statements regarding fault, or promise to pay for damage at the accident scene.
- Be careful of unauthorized tow truck operators pressuring you to have your vehicle towed, demanding immediate payment, or attempting to take your vehicle to a garage or body shop of their choice. They may try to use the moment’s confusion to intimidate you into allowing your vehicle to be towed. If you feel pressured, ask the police for the name of an authorized tow truck operator and have your vehicle towed to a Collision Reporting Centre or a police compound until you can talk to your insurance company.
- Be prepared for any emergency on the road.
Always keep a basic vehicle first aid or emergency kit in the trunk of your car. You can easily create an emergency kit for your vehicle by filling a plastic storage container with the following:
- a basic first aid kit,
- a disposable camera,
- emergency road flares, warning triangles or cones,
- a fire extinguisher (A-B-C Type),
- a flashlight and extra batteries,
- bottled water,
- booster cables,
- a tire repair kit and pump,
- a small tool kit,
- a towel,
- a pair of work gloves,
- some nonperishable food,
- hand wipes,
- a thermal blanket.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, call a personal injury law firm for a free, no-obligation consultation.