Personal Injury Lawyers Since 1999

Recent blogposts

How to React to Ottawa, Ontario Auto Accidents

An automobile accident can cause much stress and serious injury, require time off work for recovery and numerous medical appointments for diagnosis and treatment. A collision also entails determining who the at-fault party is and if there is contributory negligence on the party who is not the key party at fault. While each accident is unique, the procedural steps to take in response are common.

Ensure Safety

The first step after an automobile accident is to observe the injuries you and your passengers may have and determine whether you are in a vulnerable place on the road and need to move to the side of the road for safety. Before considering moving anyone, check for breathing, consciousness, and signs of neck or back injury. Do not try to move anyone experiencing neck or back pain. Take time to assess whiplash, broken bones, lacerations and whether there is risk of a head injury.

If you can move your vehicle out of traffic to the side of the road, then do so when possible after assessing the damage and taking photos if you can. If the accident occurred at night or during inclement weather, place road flares or warning signs to create a safe zone around the site, keeping the flares a safe distance away from any flammable liquid that may have spilled during the collision.

Call an Ambulance if Needed

Calling 911 will dispatch a medical emergency response team to the scene. The ambulance attendants will provide first aid treatment and take you to the hospital for further assessment and treatment. If an ambulance is not deemed necessary, it is important to see your family physician as soon as possible after leaving the accident scene for an assessment and to document the resulting injuries. Sometimes an injury will not show up immediately or can worsen over time and needs to be monitored.

Call the Police

Calling police to the scene will help ensure the safety of you and others involved in the accident. Police will also help to direct traffic safely by the accident scene if needed. The officer will take witness statements from each party, document the facts, including the weather, road and traffic conditions, and lay charges if appropriate. If you already left the accident scene without contacting the police, you should attend to the local police collision centre to file a report.

Take Photos

If you have a camera with you or available to you (e.g., on your cell phone or iPod), then take photos as soon as possible. Storing a disposable camera in the glove compartment for such purposes can be helpful.

If you can safely take photos of the accident scene before moving the vehicles off to the side of the road, then do so, as these photos will provide objective evidence for your case. Take the pictures from different angles and distances and include photos of:

  • The damage to both vehicles
  • Skid marks
  • Weather conditions
  • Parts or debris in the road
  • The location of the accident
  • Visible injuries to all parties involved

Be sure to save the pictures taken for later use, including a backup copy. If you are unable to take photos immediately due to your injuries, then return to the accident site as soon as possible to take pictures.

Exchange Insurance Information

You have a positive obligation to share insurance information with the other driver. Try collecting as much information as possible, such as:

  • The make, model, year, registration and licence plate number of their vehicle
  • The driver’s name and licence number (if the driver is not the registered owner)
  • The date, time and location of the collision
  • The injuries sustained
  • The number of passengers involved, if any
  • The extent of damage to the vehicles
  • Your description of the accident
  • The names and driver’s licence numbers of any other drivers involved, and the names of their insurance companies and their auto insurance policy numbers
  • The license plate and VIN numbers of the other vehicles
  • The name and badge number of the investigating police officer (if the accident was reported to the police)

It is best to ask to see the documentation yourself. Take a photo of the other person’s driver’s license and insurance policy for an accurate record. If you exchange cell phone numbers, then call the driver before leaving the accident scene to ensure you have the right number.

Follow up with Your Physician

Automobile accidents do not necessarily leave visible scars, and pain is not always felt immediately but can result hours or even days afterwards.

Visit your family doctor as soon as possible after the accident to document your injuries. Briefly explain all your injuries and ensure your doctor records each item, including the location of any soreness or stiffness. Common symptoms that occur after a motorized vehicle accident include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Lack of energy
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating or foggy thinking

In personal injury cases, your doctor’s analysis of your condition immediately after the accident can be very important later.

Contact Your Automobile Insurance Provider
Notify your insurance provider of the accident so they can start a claim. Read your Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1) as it provides details about your insurance coverage and your rights and responsibilities, including limitation periods. If you do not have a copy of the Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1), then download a copy from the internet or request it from your insurance agent, broker or claims adjuster.

Call a Lawyers

A lawyer can assess your case and, once retained, can advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the accident benefits you are entitled to and collect the most compensation possible from the other driver’s insurance company.

By preparing for the possibility of an auto accident, you may avoid further injury and obtain important information for your case. If an auto accident has caused physical or mental pain, contact a local personal injury lawyer.