In the moments following an accident, you may be running off of adrenaline, distressed or in shock. You may feel confused and overwhelmed. Here are some steps you can follow to help you ease that distress:
Your health and safety are priority. Seek medical attention right away. Even if your injuries are not readily apparent or you think your injuries are “minor”. Certain injuries such as whiplash, soft tissue injuries and minor brain injuries/concussions do not always show symptoms right away. If you have any pain at all and an ambulance is offered to take you to the hospital from the collision scene, strongly consider letting them do so.
It is also imperative that your care does not stop once you leave the hospital or medical centre. Continue to follow the advice of your family doctor. Tell your doctor about your physical pain and report all symptoms you have sustained as a result of the accident. Avoid speculating about the extent or severity of your injuries. To ensure an accurate diagnosis and classification of your injuries, make sure you report all symptoms.
Documentation is always important. If you are physically able to get out of your vehicle and it is safe to do so following a motor vehicle collision, take pictures of the accident including car damage and relative positioning of the vehicles.
It is also critical that you obtain information from the other driver, again if you are able to do so. Some important information to exchange includes names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers and insurance company and policy information. If possible, ask for a valid ID with a photo, for example their driver’s license. Additionally, you should offer to share the same information.
If there are any witnesses at the scene of the accident, do your best to obtain their names and contact information.
It is helpful to remember that if the total damage to the vehicles is over $1,000 or someone has been injured, you must report the accident to the police. If you want to report a collision and the police were not involved at the time of the accident, you have 24 hours to report it at a Collision Reporting Centre. Even if the accident is minor, you may not know the full extent of damage to your vehicle or the injuries you have sustained immediately after the accident. It is always a good idea to report it to the police.
You have seven days from the date of the accident to report the incident to your insurance company and you have thirty days from receipt of the Accident Benefits package to submit your completed application. Accident benefits are no-fault benefits paid by your insurance company to help pay for income loss and treatment costs not covered by OHIP or group insurance through work. If you were a pedestrian or cyclist and don’t own a vehicle, then you claim accident benefits from the insurance company for the driver who hit you.
After the accident, you or your loved ones may incur expenses, such as transportation to and from medical appointments, parking fees for medical appointments, housekeeping assistance and treatment you have had to pay for out of pocket.
It is important you keep your receipts and invoices from these expenses as you may be able to claim them either through your accident benefits insurer or your personal injury claim.
In addition to receiving the appropriate medical attention and contacting the police and your insurance company, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. You may not need to hire a lawyer right away but most personal injury lawyers will offer a free consultation which allows you to ask questions and get some advice. Auto insurance can be complicated. It is important that you understand your rights and obligations. If you do need to hire a lawyers, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they get paid only if your case is successful.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, as a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
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