What To Do If A Car Accident Happens

two men examining the damage to their cars

We hope you never need this information, but since car accidents do happen, it would be a very good idea to keep a copy of this article in your car with your insurance certificate.

If you get into a car accident, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Remain calm. This can be difficult given the stressful event you have just experienced but it is always best to treat others with respect.
  2. Call 911 to get help at the scene if anyone is seriously hurt or you suspect drunk driving or some other criminal offence. Also call police when there is significant damage done.
  3. Activate the 4-way flashers or hazard lights of your car.
  4. Move your vehicle to the side of the road away from traffic, as long no one requires medical attention and the vehicles are operational.
  5. Exchange information with all involved. If you have a smartphone, be sure to take photos of the scene, the damage and their documents too.  Details you will need are:
    • Their driver’s license (take a photo of it, if possible)
    • Their license plate number (take a photo of it, if possible)
    • Their name, address and phone number(s) and email is useful too
    • Names of any witnesses, if any
    • Their insurance company and policy number
    • Print out and use this list to collect all necessary info. Keep a copy in your car.
  6. Take notes of all circumstances of the accident – again, photos are very helpful if possible – such as:
    • Driving conditions,
    • Time of day,
    • Where it happened (major intersection),
    • Describe how it happened as best you can– what speed you were going; the driving direction of the vehicles; colour of traffic lights; etc.
    • Draw a rough sketch of the scene, or take a photo if possible.
  7. Call us at Mitchell & Whale at 1.800.731.2228 as soon as possible. We are here to help you every step of the way. As your broker we are your advocate and on your side.
  8. Or if it is an emergency or after business hours, call your insurance company. Their 24 hours a day number usually appears on the insurance certificate kept in your car. Be aware: if you talk to the insurance company directly they will most likely record the accident as a claim and it will go on your record, even if later you decide not to go through with it. It is always best to consult with us first if time allows.


Collision Reporting Centres

In many urban areas, you can go to a Collision Reporting Centre to report the accident within 24 hours when police are not needed at the scene. However you are obliged by law to call the police when the combined damage to vehicles is over $1000 (which is most accidents these days) or if there are injuries. If in doubt, call the police.

Again, we hope you will never need this information but it is best to be prepared so please take a moment to print this and put it in your car. You’ll be glad you did should you ever need it.

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