Car accident, now what?

Do you know what to do after a car accident?

The first thing to be aware of is that you must remain at the scene. Has anyone been hurt? If someone is injured you need to determine if that person is breathing, bleeding or broken. Do not attempt to move the person. Give assistance where you can and try to protect the scene so that no other vehicles become involved.

If there is no injury then you determine whether or not the police need to be called. You call the police if:

  • The overall damage exceeds $1,000. This can be damage to all vehicles, property and animals.
  • If there as been damage to a traffic control device, railroad sign or signal, traffic sign of any kind, a parking meter or any public property - even if the value would be less then $1,000.
  • If any person has been injured or killed.

If you need to call the police then be as accurate as you can, especially about the location of the crash and the condition of any injured persons.

Surveys show that only about 45% of Canadian drivers feel that they know the proper steps to take after a car accident. More then 30% will not remember to gather the information from the other driver(s) including:

  • Names and addresses of all witnesses.
  • Insurance information for all drivers.
  • Time, location, weather and any other details that may be relevant to the accident.
  • Do not discuss who is at fault and notify your insurance company as soon as possible.

When questioned just over 25% of women though that they were likely to gather all the necessary information at the scene of an accident. Male drivers did better with 40% managing to record the details.

What if you are the only vehicle at the accident - you have hit an unattended vehicle? Then you try to find the owner and if you cannot do so then you must securely attach your name, address, driver's license number and plate number to the damaged vehicle. You might want to leave your phone number for easier contact.

The Superintendent of Insurance for Alberta has provided a "to do" list for after an accident. We attach it below for your reference as well. Do you know what to do after an accident?