“It’s better to be safe than sorry” is sage advice when you’re
involved in a collision. More than one third of Canadians experience a
motor vehicle accident at least once in their lives, so chances are that
you or someone you love will be impacted by a car accident, pedestrian
accident or another type of automobile accident.
Most importantly, you need to follow Ontario regulations for
reporting the collision. Not only is this the right thing to do from a
legal standpoint but further, a police report or collision report will
serve as evidence of the accident in the event that the report is needed
to substantiate your losses or another driver’s negligence. And, if
you were involved in an accident, even a minor fender-bender, whether or
not you initially feel unhurt, be prepared for the possibility that you
may have sustained an injury. Injuries such as concussion, sprains,
and neck and back injuries may not show their effects until several days
or weeks after the accident and may worsen if untreated.
Ontario regulations governing collision reporting
- You must stop after a collision to ensure that there was
no damage to property, vehicles or another person, or you may be charged
with ‘failing to stop’.
- If total damage is likely less than $2000 and no one was injured, you are not obligated to report the accident.
Nevertheless, it’s still in your best interests to take your car to a
Collision Reporting Centre within 1 day of the accident, so that
pictures are taken of any damage to the vehicle and you are covered
legally if someone discovers they were more seriously injured than first
thought and/or a civil action is later brought in connection with the
- Ontario law requires that you report an accident under the following circumstances:
- anyone was injured
- a pedestrian was involved in the accident
- the total damage to vehicles and property appears to exceed $2000
- one of the drivers is uninsured or unlicensed
- you believe a driver is impaired or guilty of another criminal offence
- a government vehicle was involved or government property was damaged
Normally, you must call 911 to report an accident. However,
depending on the circumstances, police may decide not to come to the
scene of the accident, in which case you must take your vehicle to the
nearest Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours.
Steps to take to protect yourself and others
- If your vehicle is driveable and it’s safe to move it, move your
vehicle to the side of the road and out of danger from being hit by
traffic. If your vehicle is disabled and can’t be moved, engage the
- If someone was injured, don’t try to move them and call 911.
- Don’t discuss the circumstances of the accident or admit liability
with other involved parties or witnesses. Discussing the accident may
contribute to emotional outbursts and may make you vulnerable in a
future liability action. However, you should exchange the following
information with any involved drivers:
- Driver’s name and contact information
- Drivers licence license number
- Insurance company and policy number
- License plate
- If the accident involved more than a very minor impact or you think
there’s a chance you may have been injured, get checked by your doctor
or at an emergency clinic as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t
have an injury that could put your health at risk if untreated.
- Many unsuspecting motorists have been taken advantage of by tow
truck scams, so be wary of tow trucks that show up at the accident
(including tow truck drivers who claim that they were called by the
police). And, don’t let anyone tow your vehicle without reading the
towing agreement and first getting a quote on the cost.
- Call your insurance company to report the circumstances of the
accident. This step is required under Ontario insurance policies, even
when the collision is minor and was not reported to police. Your
insurance representative should inform you of any further steps that may
need to be taken and deadlines for making a no-fault accident claim.
- If you sustained an injury, talk to an experienced personal injury
lawyer to ensure you are taking the right steps to protect your legal
rights. A personal injury lawyer will also make sure you don’t miss any
timelines for making your claim. For example, if a municipality or
government vehicle was negligent and contributed to your injuries, you
must notify the municipal clerk within 10 days of the accident.