What to do after a car accident
STEP 1 – Stop immediately. 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 scene of the accident, 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 motor vehicle accidents. At the reporting centre you will be assisted in completing a police report, and damage to the vehicle will be photographed. 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 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.
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 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.
STEP 5 – Also obtain the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of passengers and witnesses.
STEP 6 – Jot down specific details about the scene of the accident, using the accident worksheet provided.
STEP 7 – Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. You can find the phone number of your insurance company located on the front, or back of your pink liability slips.
Remember, when you are in a car accident…
- As difficult as it may seem, it is important that you 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 scene of the accident.
- Be careful of unauthorized tow truck operators pressuring you to have your vehicle towed, demanding immediate payment for the tow, or attempting to take your vehicle to a garage or body shop of their choice. They may try to use the confusion of the moment to intimidate you into allowing your vehicle to be towed. If you feel you are being 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 vehicle. 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 type of nonperishable food,
- hand wipes,
- a thermal blanket.
If you suspect that you may be a victim or target of a scam or fraud, you can help put an end to the scam or fraud by reporting it. As a first step, report the matter to police. You can also make a report to FSCO’s Fraud Hotline. Go to www.fsco.gov.on.ca/TipNow or call 1-855-5TIP-NOW. Tips to FSCO’s Fraud Hotline can be anonymous.