What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Ontario?

The following is intended as a procedural guide only, and is not intended to provide life saving or medical advice.

    1. Stop. If you fail to remain at the accident scene, you may be criminally charged. Trust me, you don’t want to pay an Ontario lawyer to defend you from criminal charges. It will make auto insurance rates seem cheap in comparison.
    2. Turn off your car.
    3. Put on your hazard lights.
    4. Assess whether there are any immediate dangers to the people in your car, i.e. is your car on fire, is there any smoke, is your car blocking traffic, obscured from the view of oncoming traffic, resting on an ice covered river? Outside of your car, do you see any fallen power lines or leaking fuel?
    5. Check whether anyone in your car (including you) is injured. If anyone is injured and may require medical attention, call 911 immediately. If you’re in pain, let the paramedics take you to the hospital to get checked out. Likewise, if you believe the total damage to all vehicles exceeds $1,000.00, or you suspect that the other driver may have been guilty of a criminal offence, call 911 and follow the instructions given to you.
    6. If you believe no one is injured, and the property damage to all vehicles is less than $1,000.00, call the local police to report the accident, and follow their instructions. If possible, take pictures as described below before moving your vehicle, should the police direct you to move your vehicle.

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Car_Accident

Someone in my vehicle is injured, my vehicle is not drivable, or I was told not to move my vehicle.

  1. Assess whether it is safe to get out of your car, and if so, where is there a safe place to stand, well away from traffic or other dangers. Before getting out of your car, think about the route you will take to get to safety.
  2. Do not move anyone who appears to have suffered a serious injury, wait for medical help (unless you absolutely have to move them, for example, the vehicle is on fire). If in doubt, ask the 911 operator what you should do.
  3. Check on the occupants of the other vehicle(s) if you can do this safely, (preferably, when you are on the phone with 911 or the police dispatcher if you are alone). Politely ask if they need medical help or if they would like you to call 911 if you have not already done so. If they do not appear completely fine, call 911 to be on the safe side (they could be in shock, have a concussion etc.). DO NOT ADMIT FAULT OR DISCUSS THE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT.
  4. Do not assume responsibility for the accident, say “I’m sorry”, sign statements regarding fault, or promise to pay for damage at the scene of the accident.
  5. Write down the license plate information for all vehicles involved, as well as the names and contact numbers for any passengers, witnesses and their license plate numbers if they were driving. Often, witnesses do not stick around long enough to give statements to the police.
  6. Call a family member or friend to meet you if possible. You’ll likely appreciate the moral support, and also, you’ll have a place to transfer any valuables from your damaged vehicle and someone to give you a ride home.
  7. Once you’ve had a chance to collect yourself, use your cell phone or camera to take lots of pictures, of the different vehicles involved in the collision, damage to those vehicle, their license plates, the people, any visible injuries, any damage to other property, pictures of any debris on the road, the road itself. If in doubt, take a picture. Save all pictures on at least 2 computers, devices, or in the cloud. DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER WHEN TAKING PICTURES, i.e. do not wander near or onto the road to take pictures.
  8. When the police arrive, you are obligated by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, Section 199 to provide them with a truthful statement concerning the accident. However, first, you should ask the officer whether you are being investigated criminally. If you are being investigated criminally, you should invoke your rights against self-incrimination and to remain silent, and you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer before making any such statement. If the officer insists on a statement pursuant to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, you should give it, but indicate (by loudly saying) it is given only to “fulfill the mandatory statutory requirements of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.” You should write that on any statement taken by police that you sign as well. Put your copy of the police report in your wallet or purse. You will need it later.
  9. Be cautious of unauthorized tow truck operators (or anyone else) pressuring you to take your vehicle to their friend’s “really great body shop.” I hate spending money on cars myself, but usually take my car to the dealer to get fixed, as I generally prefer to pay a lot of money to have it fixed properly, rather than paying quite a bit of money several times…. For body work, your local dealer or your insurance company will be able to recommend a reputable shop. Have the shop agree (in writing) to provide you with pictures of all property damage to your vehicle, including underneath the vehicle.
  10. Report the accident to your insurance company. Be cautions of anyone who wants to ‘avoid insurance’ and wants to pay you, or you to pay them out of pocket. If they admit fault, and agree to pay for the repairs to your vehicle, how do you collect if they decide they just really like their money, don’t want to pay you, etc.? If you’re not at fault, the accident won’t affect your driving record though you will still be responsible for any deductible.
  11. Be cautious of making definitive statements about your health to your insurance company or agent (i.e. I’m fine), sign waivers, or accept early cash settlement offers in exchange for signing a Release. An insurer may use these early statements to set reserves and later, to deny coverage. If you are pressured to do any of these things, contact Michael’s Law Firm for a free consultation to learn about your rights.
  12. If you’re not feeling 100% within a few days, go and see your doctor. If you have lingering pain at the end of a week, go and see your doctor. In short, make sure you get the medical treatment you need to return to the physical condition you were in before the accident. Make sure you get your doctor to prescribe things like physiotherapy, chiropractic care, or massage therapy (rather than just going and obtaining it yourself), as this will likely affect whether your insurer reimburses these claims.
  13. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, contact me for a free consultation to learn about your rights.

No one in my vehicle appears seriously injured, my vehicle is driveable, and the police dispatcher told me to move my vehicle to the side of the road.

  1. Assess whether it is safe to get out of your car, and if so, where is there a safe place to stand, well away from traffic or other dangers. Before getting out of your car, think about the route you will take to get to safety.
  2. Check on the occupants of the other vehicle(s) if you can do this safely. Politely ask if they need medical help or if they would like you to call 911 if you have not already done so. If they do not appear completely fine, call 911 to be on the safe side (they could be in shock, have a concussion etc.). DO NOT ADMIT FAULT OR DISCUSS THE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT.
  3. Do not assume responsibility for the accident, say “I’m sorry”, sign statements regarding fault, or promise to pay for damage at the scene of the accident.
  4. Write down the license plate information for all vehicles involved, as well as the names and contact numbers for any passengers, witnesses and their license plate numbers if they were driving. Often, witnesses do not stick around long enough to give statements to the police. Make sure you get their insurance information, including company name, State or Province, policy number, vehicle owner’s name etc.
  5. Once you’ve had a chance to collect yourself, use your cell phone or camera to take lots of pictures, of the different vehicles involved in the collision, damage to those vehicle, their license plates, the people, any visible injuries, any damage to other property, pictures of any debris on the road, the road itself. If in doubt, take a picture. Save all pictures on at least 2 computers, devices, or in the cloud. DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER WHEN TAKING PICTURES, i.e. do not wander near or onto the road to take pictures.
  6. When the police arrive, or when you report to a collision reporting centre, you are obligated by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, Section 199 to provide them with a truthful statement concerning the accident. However, first, you should ask the officer whether you are being investigated criminally. If you are being investigated criminally, you should invoke your rights against self-incrimination and to remain silent, and you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer before making any such statement. If the officer insists on a statement pursuant to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, you should give it, but indicate it is given only to “fulfill the mandatory statutory requirements of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.” You should write that on any statement taken by police that you sign as well.
    Put your copy of the police report in your wallet or purse. You will need it later.
  7. If your car needs repairs, check with your local dealer or have your insurance company recommend a reputable shop. Have the shop agree (in writing) to provide you pictures of all property damage to your vehicle, including underneath the vehicle.
  8. Report the accident to your insurance company. Be cautions of anyone who wants to ‘avoid insurance’ and wants to pay you, or you to pay them out of pocket. If they admit fault, and agree to pay for the repairs to your vehicle, how do you collect if they decide they just really like their money, don’t want to pay you, etc.? If you’re not at fault, the accident won’t affect your driving record though you will still be responsible for any deductible.
  9. Be cautious of making definitive statements about your health to your insurance company or agent (i.e. I’m fine), sign waivers, or accept early cash settlement offers in exchange for signing a Release. An insurer may use these early statements to set reserves and later, to deny coverage. If you are pressured to do any of these things, contact Michael’s Law Firm for a free consultation to learn about your rights.
  10. If you’re not feeling 100% within a few days, go and see your doctor. If you have lingering pain at the end of a week, go and see your doctor. In short, make sure you get the medical treatment you need to return to the physical condition you were in before the accident. Make sure you get your doctor to prescribe things like physiotherapy, chiropractic care or massage therapy (rather than just going and obtaining it yourself), as this will likely affect whether your insurer reimburses these claims.
  11. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, contact me today for a free consultation to learn about your rights.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, contact our Personal Injury lawyers in Hamilton and Toronto for a free consultation to learn about your rights.

Call 647-495-8995 or fill out the Free Case Evaluation form online.