What to Do After Being Involved in a Car Crash

Car collisions happen in the blink of an eye. They also occur frequently—in 2020, Canada saw over 70,000 car collisions resulting in personal injury!

With more than eight collisions per hour, you’d think Canadians would know what to do if it ever happened to them. The reality is that when a crash occurs, most people have no idea what to do next.

Want to know why that’s an issue? Besides putting your safety on the line, not knowing what to do in a collision can jeopardize your Toronto car insurance claim.

Keep reading for the steps you need to take after being involved in a collision.

Stop Your Vehicle

Even if you’ve never been involved in one, chances are you know what a hit-and-run is. You can face criminal prosecution if you’re involved in an accident and speed off—so stop! 

If the other driver attempts to flee, try to memorize their license plate information to give to the police. 

Use your emergency brakes if you are having trouble stopping, and try to pull over to the side of the road. If you can’t move your vehicle, then leave it where it is. 

Watch out for oncoming traffic and use hazard lights or traffic cones.

Make Sure Everyone is Okay

Check yourself and other passengers for injuries, and take a minute to find your bearings. Call 911 if anyone is seriously injured, or have someone else call if you’re hurt. Try to remain motionless as you wait for paramedics.

Call the Police or a Collision Reporting Centre

After assessing injuries and damage, there are two possible numbers to call to report the accident.

Call the police if: 

  • Anyone is injured because of the accident.
  • You think damage to all vehicles involved exceeds $2000.
  • You suspect other drivers involved are guilty of an offence under the criminal code (e.g., driving under the influence).

The other option is to call a reporting centre within 24 hours of the accident. Collision Reporting Centres are police-run facilities that help drivers report an accident. You’ll be able to file a police report and have your vehicle photographed for damages here.

If you didn’t check off any of the boxes above, then contact a Collision Reporting Centre. Call (416) 745-3301 or click here to find a centre near you.

Take Pictures

If you can, safely exit your vehicle and take some pictures of the scene with your cell phone or camera. 

In Toronto, car insurance claims with detailed photos are much more likely to be approved. Why? Your photos will be evidence of personal injury lawsuits and auto insurance claims.

Document damages by getting various angles on your car first and then other drivers. Take a 360° walk around your vehicle to avoid missed spots. Getting a picture of the other driver’s license plate is also a good idea.

Exchange Information

Once you’re satisfied with the pictures you took, it’s time to talk to the other driver. Be careful not to push stereotypes about Canadians and instinctively apologize.

Saying sorry can be seen as admitting wrongdoing or being at fault. It’s better not to discuss blame with other motorists.

Leave determining that to a Toronto car insurance company or the police. Be sure to get all the following information from all involved parties to support your claim:

  • Full legal name 
  • Phone numbers (work, personal) 
  • Driver’s license and address (take a photo if possible) 
  • Insurance company name and policy number
  • Type, colour, and model of vehicle
  • Location of each vehicle

Making an audio recording is a great way to help you accurately remember everything you and other drivers discussed.

Make a Record of Important Information

Don’t delay calling your insurance provider after an accident. Even for minor incidents in Ontario, you’ll need to inform your insurance company within one week!

Your claim may not be honoured if you don’t report in a reasonable time, so inform your insurance provider as soon as possible. In addition to the other driver’s information that you collected, you’ll need the following to report: 

  • Number of passengers involved
  • Description of injuries 
  • Driver’s name and license number (when the driver is not the registered owner)
  • Your account of the incident
  • Name and badge number of the police officer (if officers showed up at the scene)
  • The extent of damage to the vehicle
  • Location, date, and time of the accident 
  • Your policy number 
  • Make, model, year, registration, and licence plate number of the vehicle

There’s a lot of information to collect, and people are liable to forget a few things in stressful situations. 

Print this accident worksheet from the Ontario Government and keep it handy in your car. It has space to record all of the information required for your claim. 

What Not to Do 

If you want to give your insurance claim the best chance of getting approved, try to avoid making some common mistakes below. 

  • Don’t post anything on social media. 

Only relevant parties should see pictures, videos, and audio recordings of the accident. That will often include your lawyer, your insurance company, and yourself. 

  • Don’t make agreements with the other driver. 

Sometimes, drivers in an accident will attempt to settle at the scene, especially when they’re at fault or lack insurance. 

Don’t discuss settlements without a lawyer. Keep conversations with other drivers short and fact-based. 

  • Don’t fall for tow-truck scams. 

It’s unfortunate, but passing drivers often try to take advantage of people involved in collisions by posing as towing companies. 

A common indicator that you’re being scammed is a tow-truck driver recommending a repair shop without being asked. Click here for other tips to avoid being scammed. 

Protect What Matters Most

Marathon Insurance Group can help keep everything you love safe with home, auto, commercial, and life insurance policies. For more information, call us at 844-429-0837 or click here to send us a message.

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