I randomly get emails from my insurance provider and there is usually at least article I can apply to my current life or pass along to a friend.
In the most recent email from TD Insurance Meloche Monnex there was an article titled “What to do after a car accident” I thought this was a great article because who is thinking calmly and rationally after a car accident. Step #5 lists out all the information you should request from the other party or parties. I think this is worth printing out and putting in the glove box of your car.
Also mentioned in step 5 was to take pictures of the accident if possible. This is a wonderful idea and should be pretty easy with how common it is to have cell phones that can take pictures. This past winter my sister got in an accident on the highway. It was very early in the morning and not a single vehicle passed during or after the accident when she was talking to the other person/vehicle involved. Neither party had a camera or phone with a camera and because of the time of day and budget cutbacks no police office was dispatched to review the accident. Instead they were instructed to proceed to the nearest RCMP station and file their reports. It became a game of he said, she said. A camera would have been very helpful in this situation.
Anyway, checkout the article below and let me know what other tips you’d advise in the case of “What to do after a car accident.”
After an accident: your 7-step action plan
Accidents can happen. That’s a fact of driving. Good drivers know that and try to be prepared for when things don’t go as planned. “Since being involved in a car accident can be a source of great stress, it’s important to know what to do even before you start piecing together what happened,” advises Isa DiPalo, Senior Manager, Claims Services,
Here is her recommended 7-step action plan to help you make the right decisions during those critical moments following an accident.
1. Stay calm
That may be easier said than done — especially if you have children in the car or if someone needs medical attention — but staying calm will help ensure your safety, your passengers’ safety and that of anyone else involved.
2. Call 9-1-1 if…
- Someone needs emergency assistance. “Be aware that moving someone who is injured may cause them more harm,” says Ms. DiPalo. “Instead, explain the situation to the 9-1-1 operator, answer their questions clearly and calmly — and follow their instructions. If you have children in a car seat who are in distress, try to calm them down without removing them from their seat until you get the go-ahead to do so.” This also means you should make sure your cell phone is fully charged when you head out.
- A criminal offence has taken place; for example, a hit-and-run situation occurred; you suspect someone was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or someone was attempting to steal, vandalize or carjack your vehicle.
- You smell fuel. “If you suspect a fuel leak, get out of your car — if it’s safe to do so — and call 9-1-1,” advises our expert. “Do not turn on the ignition or try to move your car until you are advised that it’s safe to do so.” Follow the 9-1-1 operator’s instructions until emergency services arrive and take over. If 9-1-1 is not needed, proceed with the following steps.
3. Move your car out of harm’s way
If 9-1-1 is not necessary, move your car in order to prevent additional damage or injury. If the accident occurred on a very busy street or highway, stay in your car — even after you move it to the shoulder or side of the road,” says Ms. DiPalo. Don’t wait for assistance on the side of the road, unless you’re on a city street and a sidewalk is available.
4. For non-emergencies, call the local police department — not 9-1-1
“Local police will determine whether or not a police officer will be sent to the scene,” she says. “In some instances and jurisdictions, they may direct you to a collision reporting centre or a police station. Whether in person or on the phone, make sure you understand and follow the instructions you are given.”
Expert tip: Take time to program your police department’s non-emergency phone number into your cell phone — that way, you’ll have it handy. Also, Ms. DiPalo advises that all drivers know what’s expected of them should they be involved in an accident. Some jurisdictions require that you report all accidents that result in over $1,000 in damages. Check with your provincial or territorial ministry of transportation (search online using your province plus “ministry of transportation”) for more information.
5. Collect all relevant information
“If the police come to the scene, they will gather the information,” says Ms. DiPalo. “If police don’t come, be sure to collect the necessary information before you and others leave the scene. This information will be needed when you file an accident report or insurance claim.” The information you need includes the following:
- The other driver’s complete information — name, address, phone number, insurance company and policy number, driver’s licence number and licence plate (just to be sure).
- Contact information for all passengers in all cars involved.
- Contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
- Specific details about the accident scene — date, time, location, road conditions, weather conditions, traffic conditions and the speed at which you were travelling.
- Take pictures — if your phone doesn’t have a built-in camera, keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment along with a pen and paper.
Expert tip: Consider using the TD mobile app to get instructions, collect info and file a claim — see “A mobile app that’s there when you need it most”.
6. Stay objective
“When communicating with others involved in the accident, or with witnesses, keep your cool and do not make accusations, talk about liability, or admit to fault,” says Ms. DiPalo. “Leave that to the police and the insurance companies.”
7. Contact your insurance company
File an insurance claim whenever you need to report losses. “Call your insurance company promptly, especially before you accept any services like towing or agree to any repairs or make arrangements for a rental car,” says Ms. DiPalo. “The claims agent will guide you through the entire process.”