Written by: Dale Orlando
Car accidents are scary and stressful experiences, no matter how long you have been driving. As a personal injury lawyer in Toronto, I’m all too familiar with the stories told in the aftermath. It is easy to panic in this situation, but recognizing what to do and what not to do will help make the accident much more manageable.
After an accident, follow these steps:
- If your vehicle is involved in an accident and you do not stop, you may be subject to criminal charges.
- First, see if anyone is injured and call 911 if necessary. Move the vehicle off the road to a safe location, if possible. Next, assess the damage. If the total damage to all vehicles involved appears to be more than $1,000, or you believe that a driver is guilty of a Criminal Code offence (such as driving under the influence), call the police right away.
- Cooperate with the responding police officers, including giving a breath sample if requested.
- Give the other driver(s) your vehicle registration number, license information, your name, address and insurance information. Collect the same information for all vehicles involved. Also, write down the make, model and license plate numbers of all vehicles. Take photos if it is safe to do so.
- If the accident caused injury or property damage, you are legally obligated to report it to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours.
- Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Some things not to do after being involved in an accident:
- Do not leave the scene.
- Do not argue with other drivers or passengers. It is important to remain calm.
- Do not move anyone who is injured. Instead, call 911 and wait for medical help to arrive.
- Do not discuss specific details of the accident with anyone other than the police or your insurance company.
- Do not voluntarily assume liability or take responsibility, sign statements regarding fault, or promise to pay for damage at the scene of an accident.
- Do not delay reporting an accident to the police/reporting center and your insurance company, no matter how minor it may seem.
For more information about your legal obligations after a car accident, visit this site.