What to do in a car accident?

Do you know what to do in a car accident? Most people don’t. Road accidents happen, yet not everyone knows which pieces of information are relevant to their car insurance policy. All of us should be prepared to handle the situation in order to make the car insurance claim process as smooth as possible.

The goal is to get things back to normal in no time. Here’s what to do in a car accident: retrieve these pieces of information immediately after ensuring everyone’s safety and relocating to the side of the road.


1) Driver’s license

Always write down the license of other people involved in the accident. This is crucial in identifying who drove the other car at the time. The other driver will want your license as well for the exact same reason.

Since collisions causing over $2,000 in damages need to be reported in Ontario, you will need proof of the other driver’s presence at the scene. This will also be important information for accountability if you develop any kind of injury, like having a sore neck after a car accident.


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2) The other driver’s name and contact information

Instead of wondering what to do in a car accident, get started recording the other driver’s name as written on their identification, and then get his or her contact numbers. You will get this information from the driver’s license primarily, but ask to see another piece of identification just to be sure. It’s the best way to start handling accident insurance claims.

This will mitigate any risk of the other driver not being reachable (in case he or she uses false identification), but it’s also important for you to be able to reach that driver in general. You never know what kind of hidden damage a mechanic’s inspection might reveal, which can change the situation.


3) Insurance company name

You cannot rely on the other driver to report the accident to his or her own insurance company, and you may need to inform that company yourself.

The other driver might even suggest covering your damages out of pocket in exchange for keeping the insurance company out of the loop. However, doing that runs the very real risk of being on the hook for any additional damages or injuries that you don’t notice until later.

Accident benefits can become the most important part of your policy, so definitely avoid arrangements where you can’t use them.


4) Insurance policy number

Get the other driver’s insurance policy number to make sure that you can prove you had an encounter with the other driver in case you need to report the car damage to his or her insurance company. It also serves as an additional layer of proof if you need to file a claim in the future, or if the other driver suddenly becomes “unreachable.”


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5) All vehicle model details

Insurance covers vehicles, making it incredibly important to recall the exact vehicle used. Seriously, get every detail about the other driver’s vehicle that you can, including:

  1. Make
  2. Model
  3. Year
  4. Sub-Model
  5. Front or Rear-Wheel Drive
  6. Automatic or Manual Transmission
  7. Hatchback Variant

The last 4 details help to cement your claim in case anything is disputed.


6) License plate number

Take pictures of everything while you’re at it, including the other license plate. The other vehicle’s license plate number can be linked to the driver and his insurance policy. This can also be linked to the driver if or when you report the accident, even if the other driver is evasive.

It’s also handy to combine the license plate number with the driver’s license so that you can put a specific person at the scene, just in case anything is disputed.


7) Time and place of the accident

Be as specific as possible with the address and location on the road, and record all of this before you leave the scene. It can have a serious impact on who is deemed to be at fault. That’s because insurance companies want an accurate illustration of what happened. Bringing these details to an Ontario collision reporting centre will help to straighten out the claim with the police, too.

Take pictures of where your car is parked as well as any debris from a collision. With these details you can confirm your side of the story if it’s disputed.


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8) The officer’s name and badge number

If an officer comes to the scene, then you will want that officer’s contact information for accountability in the future—especially if you need that officer’s assessment to support your claim for the other driver’s fault.

It’s also handy to have that officer’s contact information in case you have questions about how to report the collision, or to clarify the details of the car accident report.


9) Take pictures of all vehicles damages

You cannot predict how the other driver will handle (or report) an accident. Take a picture of the other driver’s vehicle to keep a clear record of damages in case anything is exaggerated. Don’t be intimidated if the other driver gets upset by that. You’re within your rights to do it, and there’s no better way to record evidence aside from dash cam footage or photos of the accident.


10) Witness contact information

Be sure to grab the names and contact information for any witnesses at the scene, especially if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run collision. You may need a witness to corroborate your story to support a not-at-fault claim in the near or distant future. Recording these 10 items will set you up for success in the claims process. Just keep in mind that gathering this information isn’t worth compromising your safety.


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