If you have been involved in an auto accident, what do you have to do after?
1) First of all, do not panic and do not leave the place where the accident happened otherwise you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
2) Try to stay calm (even it is hard). Do not argue with the other parties. Do your best to write down the following information:
- the driver’s name and his/her licence number
- the name of the other driver’s auto insurance company and a policy number
- the plate number, model, and year of the vehicle
- the date, time and location of the accident
- the number of people involved
- your description of the accident and damage to the vehicles involved
- the name and badge number of the police officer
- the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses
3) Take pictures of the accident scene, of yourself or any passengers if you can. If it is appropriate, follow up with pictures a few days later (when bruises become apparent, etc).
4) If someone is injured and the damage to the vehicles involved looks more than $1,000, or you suspect that the other driver is guilty (under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example), call 911. Police will come as soon as possible. Follow their instructions. Remember, that you shouldn’t move anyone who is injured – you may complicate their injuries!
5) If nobody is injured and the damage to the vehicles involved looks less than $1,000, report the accident to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours
6) Notify your insurance company or insurance agent as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT TIME LIMITS
- You have to notify your insurance company within 7 days from the date of the accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- You have 30 days from the date of the accident to fill in the accident benefit forms and send them back to your insurance company.
- In case if the insurance company refuses to pay the accident benefits, you have 2 years to apply for mediation.
- In case if mediation fails, you have 2 years after the insurance company refuses to pay the accident benefits claimed to apply for arbitration or 90 days after the mediator issues the Report of Mediator, whichever is later.
- You have 2 years to sue the insurance company for accident benefits.
- You have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
- You have 120 days from the date of the accident to send the other driver a notice of your intent to sue.
What You SHOULD and SHOULD NOT do after an auto accident
- Inform the police of the accident and record the attending officer’s name and badge number.
- Record the names of any witnesses and all those directly or indirectly involved in the accident.
- Contact your family doctor.
- Contact your insurance company within 7 DAYS.
- Report your injury to your employer or school.
- Record the names of all attending health care professionals.
- Keep all receipts for related expenses including those incurred by family members helping the injured person.
- Keep a record of the victim’s health problems.
- Check for health and injury coverage provided through your employer, credit card or other sources.
You SHOULD NOT:
- Rely on a non-professional advice from friends, co-workers or family members about your case.
- Sign any document you do not understand.
- Rush into any settlement.
- Accept an offer of settlement without reviewing it with a lawyer or paralegal.
- Be afraid to ask questions.
- Assume that the insurer is always right.
- Wait to get good advice.
Please remember, getting financial compensation is anything but simple. The process can be overwhelming even for professionals. If you or your loved ones are injured as a result of motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for accident benefits. It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer. In most cases, no fee will be charged unless a recovery is made.