Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a very stressful situation. The shock of the accident and the uncertainty of what to do next make for an unenviable experience.
If you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident, here are some useful steps to take afterwards. Remembering these steps will help manage the stress of the situation. It will also assist with any future personal injury claims, should you wish to initiate one.
1. Stay at the scene of the accident
Leaving the scene of an accident can be a criminal offence. Never leave the scene. This applies even if you think that the accident was trivially minor or that you were not at fault. If possible, move the involved motor vehicles to a safe location off the road.
2. Check for injuries and seek help if required
The first priority after a motor vehicle accident should always be your health. After the collision, make sure you are okay. If you require emergency services, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. Note that some injuries, such as muscular injuries, do not always become apparent right away. Stay vigilant in the days following the collision and seek medical assistance as required.
3. Report the accident
If anyone has been injured, or if the property damage from the accident is over $1,000.00, you must report the accident to the police.
Even if you do not have to report the accident to the police, you should still consider reporting it to a Collision Reporting Centre. This will provide a useful paper trail for any potential personal injury claims later on. Reports to Collision Reporting Centres should be made within 24 hours.
You should also report the motor vehicle accident to your automobile insurer as soon as possible. Don’t delay. Failing to report the accident in a timely manner could result in your auto insurer denying future claims, even if you were not the at fault motorist.
4. Gather the evidence
If you are uninjured and able to gather evidence, you should do so at the scene. Examples include taking photos of the accident scene, photos of any property damage to involved motor vehicles, noting the weather and road conditions at the time, and documenting the names and contact information of involved motorists and independent witnesses. Regarding other involved motorists, you should also exchange insurance information.
5. Contact a personal injury lawyer
Even if you are unsure if you want to commence a personal injury lawsuit, talking to a lawyer is an important step that should not be forgotten. Speaking with a lawyer will educate you about your rights following an accident, which is important information to know regardless of your chosen approach. Plus, the sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner he or she can start working on your claim if you do opt to retain a legal representative. Delays can be costly. Generally speaking, individuals have two years from the date of an accident to start a lawsuit. Waiting longer than this could potentially bar your claim.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury and would like more information about your legal options, we can help. Call the Jasmine Daya & Co. team at (416) 967-9100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.