Car accidents can be a traumatic event regardless of how serious the accident was. Having to deal with the consequences of the accident can also be traumatic and overwhelming.
If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident in Ontario lately, you may be left asking the following questions:
- What should I do?
- Who should I call?
- Should I hire a lawyer?
In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guideline of exactly what to do and who to call after you’ve been in a car accident in Ontario.
What To Do After A Minor Car Accident
This is the essential first step of the process. The moment the incident ends, pull your car off to the side of the road if possible to do so.
The purpose of this step is two-fold. Not only does it ensure your safety from the flow of traffic following a car accident, but it also ensures that you are abiding by the Ontario traffic regulations. These regulations stipulate that anyone involved in a car accident must pull over following such an incident, otherwise, it may be regarded as a criminal act.
This step also serves a two-fold purpose. Firstly, following a car accident, you will need to assess whether you have sustained any injuries, be they minor or major, or whether your vehicle has sustained any damage.
In addition to this, it once again ensures that you are abiding by the Ontario traffic regulations which stipulate that it is illegal to flee the scene of a car accident. Therefore, once you have moved your vehicle and self to safety it is important that you stay put and await the arrival of police and emergency services.
It is always crucial to call 911 following a car accident. The emergency services line will inform the police and emergency services of the accident.
This is so that the emergency medical technicians can attend to the possible injuries of any individuals involved in the accident. It will also enable the police to investigate the sequence of events that transpired leading up to the accident and file a police report.
This step is always important regardless of whether the car accident was a minor accident or a major one. If the former is the case, it may be that the 911 operator will refer you to your nearest Ontario collision reporting center if they are of the opinion that police involvement is not necessary.
Either way, calling 911 is usually a good idea after a car accident.
Although the police are primarily responsible for investigating the details of a car accident, we highly advise you to gather some evidence of your own while you wait for them to arrive.
It is always a good idea to get your side of the story straight by means of photographic evidence. This way, it cannot be disputed by the other driver or by your insurance company later on.
Take photos of:
- the damage to your vehicle sustained
- any injuries you sustained during the accident
- the number plate and identity documents of the other driver
Such evidence will come in handy when claiming insurance and if you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Take Down Details
In addition to gathering the photographic evidence, take down as many of the details of the accident while it is still fresh in your memory.
The details of the accident we’re referring to here include things like the:
- Date and time
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Type of accident
- How the accident occurred
These will all be of use both for the purposes of filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Call Your Insurance Company
You will need to report the accident to your Auto insurance company in order to make a collision damage claim and also make a claim for No-Fault Statutory Accident Benefits.
It is imperative that you report the accident to your auto insurer as soon as possible as well. In terms of the Ontario auto insurance regulations, you have to file your claim within 7 days of the accident.
We would, however, recommend doing so within the first 24 hours following the accident. This will ensure that you can claim your benefits as soon as possible. It also provides the other driver with less time to dispute the facts of your claim.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer
Something we’ll get into a bit later is knowing when you need to hire a car accident lawyer. For the time being though, it is important to understand why it is always beneficial to contact a lawyer – even for a minor car accident.
A car accident lawyer will be clued up on the dos and don’ts of Ontario’s traffic regulations and insurance laws. As such, they will be an invaluable person to have by your side when filing an insurance claim with your own insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Not only will they be able to inform you which benefits you are entitled to, but also aid you in deciphering which legal documents you’ll need to file during this process.
Investigation & Calculation of Damages
A car accident lawyer also plays a crucial role in the investigation leading up to any car crash claims.
In this regard, not only will they help you sort and clarify the evidence you have gathered pertaining to the accident in a manner that is acceptable to your insurance provider, but they will also help you calculate your damages.
The calculation of damages includes:
- Collecting your medical records and calculating the medical costs (such as the costs of seeking medical attention and medical treatment) that you incurred and may need into the future as a result of the accident
- Assessing the property damage (such as minor fender benders to your car)
- Calculating any other financial losses incurred, such as any lost income or lost wages as a result of the accident or your injuries.
Legal Representation & Persecution
A lawyer will serve as your legal representative for all matters relating to your accident. If you decide to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, they will be able to settle on your behalf in accordance with Ontario laws and regulations. They will ensure that a fair settlement takes place and that you receive fair compensation.
When To Hire A Lawyer After A Minor Car Accident
It’s clear that having a car accident attorney by your side can be a great help when navigating the turbulent waters of car accident claims. That being said, sometimes the case may be that you don’t actually need a lawyer.
As such, it could save you some time knowing under which circumstances you need to hire a car accident lawyer.
Here is when you should contact a car accident lawyer to lend a hand:
Suffered Serious Injuries Or Damages
In the event that you have sustained any serious injuries to your body or significant damage to your vehicle, hiring a lawyer for minor car accidents will be invaluable.
Personal injury lawyers specialize in helping you investigate the facts of the accident and calculating the monetary extent of the damages incurred (i.e. any medical expenses or property damage).
They can also help you receive fair compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering the accident may have caused you.
Fault Is In Dispute
It may be that your opposing party claims that you are at fault when it was actually them that was liable for the minor accident that occurred.
In this event, it may be extremely useful to have a lawyer negotiate with the council of the other party to ensure that you can reach a fair settlement.
Unsatisfied With Offer Received
Lastly, you may be unsatisfied with your compensation after your minor accident.
In this regard, never hesitate to seek legal assistance from a car accident attorney. A passionate lawyer will always be of the utmost importance to ensure your best interests.
Such legal assistance could be the difference between mediocre and unsatisfactory compensation, full compensation, or any other similar outcome.
When Do You Not Need To Hire A Car Accident Attorney
Now that you the instances in which you should hire a car accident lawyer for a minor car accident, it should follow that you will not need to hire a car accident lawyer if:
- The injuries sustained are not severe and the damage that was incurred is insignificant
- There are few parties involved meaning that the matter is fairly straightforward
- You are capable of following the insurance claims process with ease and your insurance claims were successful
- You are happy with the settlement from the insurance company
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have To Call The Police After A Minor Car Accident?
As we mentioned, calling 911 is a crucial step in the post-accident routine. It alerts both emergency services and the police that an accident has occurred so that they can immediately go to the scene.
If you were not at fault, this step is especially important. The main purpose of the investigation that the police conduct at the scene is to determine who was at fault. If you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated or under the influence of other illegal substances, it is essential that you inform the reporting police officers of this immediately.
Should I Go To The Hospital After A Car Accident?
If you have sustained any injuries at all as a result of a car accident, we recommend that you go to the hospital afterward. Even if you think you’re fine, it’s best to have a medical professional check for any hidden injuries.
Your medical treatment will go on record. You can then claim any medical bills incurred as a result of your medical treatment in a personal injury lawsuit after you and your lawyer calculate all the damages.
Should I Hire a Lawyer For An Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
If you are the innocent party in a car accident, it will only be in your best interest to hire a lawyer. They will guide you through the complicated process of claiming insurance and compensation and ensure you get a fair settlement.
Should I Hire A Lawyer For An Accident That Was My Fault?
In short, no. If you are the party that was at fault, you cannot claim any benefits from the other driver. So, hiring a lawyer will not be your responsibility but your insurer’s.
There are thousands of car accidents in Ontario every year. If you were injured in a car accident where the other driver was at fault, contact a personal injury lawyer. They will guide you through the claims process and ensure you get appropriate compensation for any medical bills as well as pain and suffering incurred from the accident.
Contact Fosters Law today for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.