You've crashed your car - now what?
May 10, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
You had a car accident and now your car isn't safe to drive. If you aren't seriously injured then you are going to have to make some quick decisions. Thinking about the decisions now will help you save time and money after the accident.
Fortunately most car accident are considered minor and don’t involve serious personal injury. Many minor car accidents will leave your car unsafe to drive though, and you should know what to do in order to save yourself out of pocket expenses that your insurance company may well refuse to pay. Once you’ve made sure that no one is seriously hurt, and you’ve gathered al the information about the other driver, ideally by using your phone to take a picture of their insurance, driver licence and registration, along with any witnesses, you’ll have to decide on the tow service, and tow location.
Under new rules for tow truck drivers Ontario law now requires that the driver must give you clear information about the rates they charge to tow and store your car. Assuming you aren’t seriously injured and that the police/towing company aren’t making these decisions for you, you need to consider several things:
- YOU have the right to choose what towing service you want. If the police are ordering immediate removal you may be able to move the car to the shoulder yourself. Keep your cool and consider getting your car towed directly to your preferred repair facility. Call them and ask them directly for a tow. You can also use your CAA membership to get a limited distance tow. If you don’t know where to go for a repair you can call your dealership for a recommendation. If you are not near home you can call any car dealership for a reputable repair shop recommendation.
- If it is late, or a weekend or you are on holiday you should call your car insurance 24 hour phone number for direction on how to proceed. Remember, you don’t want to be left with more out of pocket expenses than necessary.
- Having your car towed to the impound facility run by the tow truck company should be your last resort.
- DO NOT authorize any repairs until you have clearance from your insurer.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada here is a list of the 8 things you should do immediately after a car accident (http://www.ibc.ca/mb/auto/crisis-management/crash) :
- Stop. Failure to do so may result in criminal prosecution.
- Remain calm. Call 911 or the police if:
- Someone is injured
- You think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as drunk driving
- You suspect you’re the victim of a staged collisionâ€‹
- There is significant property damage or the vehicle is not drivable.
- Report the collision to police, as required by regulations in your province.
- If it’s safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road. If the vehicles aren’t drivable, turn on the hazard lights or surround the vehicles with cones or warning triangles.
- Regardless of the circumstances, never admit fault for the collision, never sign any documents regarding fault and never promise to pay for the damages.
- Record all collision details. Use IBC’s Collision Report Form.
- Record what happened and how, and when, where and why it happened, as well as weather and road conditions.
- If possible, take cellphone photos of the vehicle damage.
- Collect names, addresses, licence plate numbers and insurance details of all drivers, passengers and witnesses.
- Be wary of tow truck operators who pressure you to authorize towing or repairs. You have the right to request estimates of fees in advance.
What You Need to Do Within 48 to 72 Hours
- Report the collision to your insurer as soon as possible. If you are injured in the collision, you may be eligible for benefits. Submit claims forms as instructed by your insurance company.
- Don’t authorize repairs to your vehicle – other than those needed to prevent further damage – until your insurer inspects the damage or consents to the repairs. Your insurer will decide whether to repair or replace your vehicle or pay for the damage. Your insurance company may provide a list of preferred vehicle repair shops.
If you are injured you should contact a personal injury lawyer to seek advice on how to deal with the insurance company in order to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
|Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Drunk Driving Accidents, Spinal Cord Injury, Truck Accidents
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.