Whether it's a minor collision or a major crash, knowing what to do after a car accident can make the experience a little less frightening and help you avoid costly mistakes.
These are steps to follow in case you are involved in a car accident in Ontario:
- Stop. If your vehicle is involved in an accident and you don’t stop, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
- Call 911 under the following conditions:
Follow the instructions given to you by the emergency operator. Police will arrive as soon as possible.
- If anyone is injured
- If the total damage to all the vehicles involved appears to be MORE than $1,000
- 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, racing, etc.)
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. The local police numbers are 519-653-7700 (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge) and 519-570-3000 (other areas in Waterloo region). If local police do not attend the scene of the accident, they will instruct you to report to a Collision Reporting Centre or Police Station within 24 hours to file a report.
- If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road, out of traffic. If your vehicle cannot be driven, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares, as appropriate.
- Jot down specific details about the scene of the accident, using this car accident worksheet. Write down the names, addresses, phone and driver’s licence numbers of all of the other drivers, the licence 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. Also obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of passengers and witnesses.
- If possible, take pictures of the accident and your injuries.
- If your vehicle needs to be towed and there was no police at the scene, you should tow it to a Police Reporting Center. If the police were at the scene, consider who you will want to repair it and have it towed directly to the service firm. If you are a CAA member or if you have a relationship with a towing firm be sure to tell the police which firm you want to use.
- Consult a doctor if you have been injured.
- Report the accident to your broker, agent, or insurance company as soon as you can after the accident.
- If you or other people in your vehicle were injured seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer to assess whether you have the right to claim benefits or compensation.
Download our Car Accident Worksheet and Keep this in your Glove Compartment. Automobile accidents can be very stressful making it difficult to think clearly. Being prepared will help ensure that you cover all your bases. We recommend that you download and print our car accident worksheet
to provide a checklist that you can follow and to help you to remember the types of information you’ll need to record at the scene.
If you are injured in car accident, it is strongly advised that you obtain legal help immediately. If you are in a hospital recovering from injuries, have a family member contact a car accident lawyer to visit you in the hospital.
Personal injury claims are subject to time limitations, consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can so that you do not lose your right to sue.