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What to do if you are in a car accident

Serious injuries or fatalities are frequently the outcomes of car accidents. Car accidents can involve rear-end crashes, head-on collisions, side impacts, and rollovers. It can happen to anyone, anytime. The very nature of a car accident is a sudden unexpected event.

According to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database (NCDB), the year 2020 had the following car accident statistics:

  • 1,745 motor vehicle fatalities
  • 7,868 serious injuries

With these numbers in mind, we want to emphasize how important it is to know what you should do if ever faced with such a situation.

What to do immediately after an accident

If you are involved in an accident, remember to do the following:

1. Remain calm. Keep your composure and assess the situation: are you or anyone else hurt?

2. If someone is hurt, dial 911 right away. When the police arrive, try to get the responding officer’s name, badge number, and police report number. Ask the police to offer a driver’s copy of the Motor Vehicle Accident Report.

3. Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses.

4. If you can, take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles involved. It is important to try to get a photo of the other driver’s licence and insurance card.

What if the other driver flees the scene?

If you are involved in a hit-and-run incident, try to record a description of the other vehicle (colour, make, model), the driver, and the license plate. See if street or security cameras are around (such as at a nearby gas station). Record the intersection because sometimes the City will have cameras that capture the incident.

It is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Car accident claims involving hit-and-run lawsuits can become complicated, and it is essential not to delay. Your lawyer will need time to investigate the incident and try to locate the other driver.

What to do in the days following the accident?

The other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you. We strongly recommend consulting with a lawyer before speaking to anyone else’s insurance company. The insurance company may try to use the information they gather against you later.

Avoid signing documents, including recorded statements or settlement offers, until you speak with a lawyer. Insurance companies may present offers far less than your actual entitlements, especially if you are injured. An experienced vehicle-accident lawyer will battle to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you cannot go to the hospital, make an appointment with your family doctor or attend a walk-in clinic. It is crucial to ensure you have imaging done soon after an accident to confirm your injuries (such as an X-Ray, MRI, CT Scan, or Ultrasound). Many wounds are invisible, and you may not know how seriously hurt you are until a doctor examines you.

Hiring a lawyer

You are not required to obtain legal representation following an automobile accident; however, it is in your best interest to do so. A lawyer can negotiate with insurance providers to secure a fair settlement.

The situation can be highly traumatic if you are the victim of severe injuries due to an automobile accident. In addition to the damage, you must also deal with the insurance company, paperwork, and medical expenses. Trying to concentrate on rehabilitation while dealing with all of this can be very daunting.

Having a personal injury lawyer with years of experience in your corner will be beneficial as it will help even the playing field.

The sooner you speak with an injury lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can begin working to help with your recovery and enforcing your rights.

Legal rights

Your lawyer will protect your rights. In addition, they are instrumental for you to understand the laws that apply and your monetary and other compensation.

If you were hurt in an accident, you have the right to pursue legal action against the driver who was to blame for your injuries. Furthermore, you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover lost wages, medical costs, and physical and emotional damages.

Who can be sued?

Even if you were not to blame for an accident caused by another driver, you could still face legal action. This is because the other motorist may argue that you somehow contributed to the collision. For example, even if they were responsible for the crash, the other driver could still sue you for damages for several reasons.

If you are a driver, your passenger may also file a claim for damages against you if you cause an accident and they suffer injuries. Therefore, make sure to exercise extra caution when driving with passengers.

Sometimes you are the passenger in a friend or family vehicle that is struck. Depending on the circumstances, you may be recommended to sue the driver of your vehicle and the other driver who hit your car. A personal injury lawyer can help explain these important considerations and how this choice may affect your financial compensation.

The no-fault law

Since Ontario is a no-fault province, regardless of who was to blame for the collision, the property damages to each vehicle are covered by each driver’s insurance. However, if your injuries are severe enough, you can still file a lawsuit against the other driver.

According to Ontario’s no-fault statute, a severe injury includes:

  • Amputation
  • Paralysis
  • Brain injury
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Permanent impairement
  • Severe deformity

You might be entitled to compensation even if no other car was involved in your accident. For example, if you lost control on a roadway and crashed, an accident benefits lawyer can help ensure you still receive fair compensation.

Filing a Claim

After you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are a few steps you will need to take to file a claim.

1. Inform your insurance provider about the collision. You will need to give them specific fundamental details, like the accident’s date, time and location, and the names and contact details of any witnesses.

2. File a police report and any relevant medical records or bills.

3. After all this, you can submit a claim to the insurance provider.

It. is critical to remember that insurance companies are businesses with a primary focus on profit. As a result, they may offer you compensation lower than your actual damages and losses. Again, this is one reason why it is advisable to have a knowledgeable automobile accident lawyer who will fight for just compensation.

Lastly, always keep in mind the deadline for filing a case. In Ontario, you have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. After this timeframe, you lose the right to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation within the statute of limitations.

To Summarize

We must uphold the importance of engaging an experienced lawyer early in the claims process. Your chances of success depend on it. And while you may not pursue a claim for damages immediately following the accident, your actions may determine your chances of success if you ever decide to.

You are entitled to compensation for the agony you or a loved one has endured, and a personal injury lawyer will intelligently assess your legal options to get the settlement you deserve.

So what to do immediately after a car accident? Focus on your recovery, and let your injury lawyer do all the heavy lifting.

I have dedicated my career to helping people involved in all types of accidents. Badre Law is a results-driven law firm located in Ottawa, and our team has successfully represented dozens of personal injury cases in Ottawa and other cities within Ontario.

You can count on us to provide expert representation, and you only pay fees if we win your case. Please get in touch if you need help.

Daniel Badre, Lawyer of Badre Law Professional Corporation