Gathering Information and Advice: The Right Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Ontario

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Getting into a motor vehicle accident is stressful and traumatic, but when your or your loved ones are injured, it’s a whole other story.  Whether it’s hitting the highway to cottage country, beating the commute back to Hamilton, or driving through another tough Canadian winter; it’s important to bear in mind the right steps to take after a motor vehicle accident in Ontario.  This way you can ensure your family’s ultimate care and peace of mind for the future.

First Steps

What are the "right” steps to take?  Your first priority becomes protecting yourself and your family.  This means assessing injuries and damage, as well as collecting important information at the scene of the accident.

Immediately following a collision you must:

  • determine if anyone has been injured, including pedestrians and cyclists;
  • move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so; and
  • assess the need to call 911.
Calling the police is important in the case of serious injury, implied criminal action (such as drunk driving) or if vehicle damages seem to be more than $1000.  To avoid being criminally prosecuted, don’t leave the scene of the accident or attempt to move anyone seriously injured.  Instead dial 911, attempt to keep them calm, and wait for help to arrive.

Gather Information

In the age of smart phones and mobile devices, almost everyone has easy access to a notepad, camera and camcorder all at the swipe of a finger.  This will come in especially handy at the scene of the accident in order to document any damages and injuries.  Be sure to get the other driver’s:
  • name; 
  • address;
  • phone number;
  • extent of any/all injuries;
  • license and plate number;
  • auto insurance company, policy number; and
  • model/year of their vehicle.
Collect the same from any witnesses at the scene, as well as names and badge numbers of attending police officers. Take pictures and videos to document any damage and injury, as well as contributing road conditions that may be a factor.  Though it may seem excessive at the time, these are helpful tools for the police or a personal injury lawyer— to insure protection for yourself down the line.

Protect Yourself

A common instinct is to contact an insurance company immediately following an accident, but it’s important to know your rights beforehand.  Keep in mind anything you say to an adjuster will go into your file and may affect future claims.   Calling a personal injury lawyer can be a useful safeguard to level the playing field before any conversations with an adjuster.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions… rushing into a settlement or relying on uninformed advice can be a mistake that will cost you down the line.  Having someone negotiate on your behalf can be a welcome aid in another potentially stressful situation.
When you’re not able to protect yourself in the case of an accident, choose it for the future.  The ‘right’ steps turn out to be the ones you need to take, in order to defend yourself after a motor vehicle accident in Ontario.  By collecting information, asking the right questions, and reaching out to educated sources—you can secure proper care and compensation for your family after an accident.

The Right Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Ontario

The Right Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Ontario
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