What You Should Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident

 AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE

  • Call the police (911) if anyone appears to been seriously injured or damage to all the vehicles appears to be in excess of $2000. EMS will be alerted if deemed necessary.
  • Also call police if any of the drivers involved appears to be impaired by alcohol and or drugs.
  • Wait for the police to arrive and provide a witness statement. Keep a copy of your statement for future reference. If the police do not attend the scene, go to the nearest district house and provide a statement. Don’t forget to keep a copy.
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident, as well as the insurance information of all parties involved in the accident.
  • If possible, take photographs of the positions of the vehicles and any damage.Many lawyers offer free initial consultations and contingency fee arrangements (no upfront costs to you).

SAFETY ISSUES

  • Do not move anyone with serious injuries as this may make things worse.
  • Move away from the vehicles to exchange information with the other drivers at a safe location.
  • In the absence of serious injury, move your vehicle to a safe location if possible.
  • Do not move your vehicle if there are serious injuries or a suspected impaired driver, as the positions of the vehicles will play a part in any subsequent police investigations.
  • All occupants of the vehicles should exit the vehicles and move to a safe place.
  • Use hazard lights or other signal devices to make vehicles visible to other traffic.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE

Third party insurers may contact you on behalf of their insured driver following an accident. Do not discuss the accident or the nature of your injuries over the phone, or provide any written statement to the caller. 

  • In the event of serious injury, you will likely be transported by ambulance (EMS) to the nearest emergency room for initial assessment and treatment. Family members will be notified of your situation.
  • If you are uncertain as to the seriousness of any injury, have a friend or family member take you to the nearest hospital immediately for assessment of your injuries and treatment.
  • Follow up with your family physician or primary healthcare provider as soon as possible following the accident to report your injuries and the cause. Following a diagnosis of your injuries, a treatment plan will be developed for you that may be modified during the course of your rehabilitation.
  • Always keep your healthcare providers updated as to your condition and follow their instructions diligently.

NOTIFY YOUR INSURER(S)

  • Contact your auto insurer and report the accident as soon as possible. They will require a statement and will provide you with advice regarding repair or replacement of your vehicle, medical benefits and disability benefits available under your policy.
  • Complete the appropriate claims forms and submit them promptly to your insurer. Note: time restrictions typically apply, so confirm deadlines with your insurer and make sure the forms are completed and submitted on time.
  • Note: some forms may require the assistance of an employer or healthcare provider. Review the forms carefully before submission to ensure they are filled out correctly and completely.
  • Follow up with your insurer to confirm the status of your claim(s) and how benefits will be issued.
  • Notify any other insurer with whom you have coverage and follow the same claims process. (ie. Blue Cross, insurance through employment or other private insurance).
  • Confirm verbal conversations in writing and keep copies.

DEALING WITH THE INSURER OF THE AT-FAULT DRIVER

Follow up with your family physician or primary healthcare provider as soon as possible following the accident to report your injuries and the cause.

  • Third party insurers may contact you on behalf of their insured driver following an accident. Do not discuss the accident or the nature of your injuries over the phone or provide any written statement to the caller. They do not have your best interests at heart and will attempt to settle any claims for a nominal amount in order to get rid of your claim as cheaply and quickly as possible. Seek assistance from your insurer or, better yet, a lawyer knowledgeable in the area of insurance law and personal injury law.

SEEK LEGAL ADVICE

  • It is in your best interests to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the accident to protect your rights.
  • Information gathering in the early stages following an accident is often critical to the success of any claims.
  • Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, a variety of financial compensation may be available to you. An experienced personal injury lawyer is required to get you full and fair compensation.

If possible, take photographs of the positions of the vehicles and any damage.

  • Many lawyers offer free initial consultations and contingency fee arrangements (no upfront costs to you).
  • You must file a Statement of Claim with the court within two years of the date of the accident or you will lose your rights to legal recovery for your injuries.
  • Whether you decide to actually hire a lawyer or not, it is important to understand your legal rights in order to make informed decisions.
Authors:

Donald L. McFarlane

Donald L. McFarlane is a Personal Injury Lawyer at Donald L. McFarlane Prof. Corp., Calgary, Alberta.

 


A Publication of CPLEA