What to do when you see an accident - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

What to do when you see an accident


Almost 36,000 collisions causing fatalities or personal injuries took place in Ontario according to the most recent report from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. More than 68,000 vehicles were involved in those collisions, so the chances are pretty good that you could be a witness to an accident or be an occupant in a vehicle in a collision. It is important for all drivers to know what to do if they are in or happen upon an accident.

Unless your car is in the accident, stopping might not be safe

The sight of a highway accident usually brings stares from curious passersby, but there are many people whose first instinct is to stop and help. As commendable as it might be to want to offer aid and assistance, stopping your vehicle on a busy highway could put you in danger of being hit.

Accident scenes are distractions to other drivers. Pulling over simply puts you and your vehicle in harm’s way where it can be hit by a distracted driver. The best course of action to take upon seeing an accident is to call 911 to report it. Don’t worry about getting a ticket for using your cell phone. Ontario permits hand-held devices to be used when calling 911 to report an emergency.

Give as much information as possible to the 911 operator about the location and extent of the damage, including any injured people you might notice. This will ensure emergency personnel arrive at the scene as quickly as possible.

After reporting the accident, assess the situation and decide if by stopping you could be of assistance to someone who is injured. If you decide to pull over to help, engage the emergency flashers on your vehicle and pull as far away from traffic as possible. Be careful when assisting people at the scene to keep track of your position in relation to passing vehicles to avoid being hit by one of them.

Reporting your own accident

Ontario requires that you report any accident in which someone is injured or the value of damaged property is $1,000 or more. Some areas, such as Toronto, have Collision Reporting Centres that you must go to within 24 hours of an accident to report it. If you are not sure how to report an accident at your location, contact the police.

When your vehicle is involved in an accident, some of the steps you should take at the scene include the following:

  • Move vehicles from the roadway if safe to do so
  • Call local police or 911 if it is an emergency
  • Exchange contact information with other drivers, including licence number, insurance information and vehicle information
  • Write down the name of any people not involved in the accident who might have witnessed it
  • Write down as much information about the accident as you can recall, including details about the position of all vehicles before, during and after the accident. Draw a diagram to help you.
  • When answering questions for the police, try to be as accurate as possible, but do not stray from the facts about the accident. Blaming the other driver or attempting to convince police that you were not at fault is unnecessary and could result in statements being made that could hurt you later on.

After you have reported the accident to police or to a local Collision Reporting Centre, report it to your insurance company.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims on behalf of individuals injured in accidents. Call their 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations and represent accident victims throughout Ontario.

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