What To Do if You are Injured in a Car Accident
by Friedman Law Professional Corporation – April 2019
Even the best drivers may get into an accident. Here is a general guide about what you can do at the scene of the accident to stay safe and what claims to file for your injuries and losses.
Remember these important tips:
- Drive safely and in accordance with the weather conditions!
- Distracted driving is a big issue. If you are not distracted, be alert to others being distracted.
- It is good to use a dashboard camera to record what happens as you drive.
- Try to stay calm if you get into an accident.
- Do not voluntarily assume liability (i.e. don’t say sorry, just be polite).
- Do not sign statements regarding fault or promise to pay for damage at the scene of the accident.
- Never leave the scene of the accident until all formalities are done (e.g. police attendance, exchange of documents, photos taken).
- If you are involved in a minor collision, it is not recommended that you agree to settle the matter without reporting it to the police or your insurance company. You should seek legal advice so you are protected from any further action resulting from the accident.
Things to collect at the scene:
- Names and contact information of witnesses
- Photos or video of the damages
- Notes on conduct of the other driver(s)
- Details about the road conditions
- Ensure your damaged vehicle is transported to a secure location
- Keep receipts for all accident-related expenses
- See a family doctor or walk in clinic right away for injuries
2. Report the accident
The accident must be reported to police immediately if someone has been injured or died, the total property damages are over $2,000, or the collision involves the following:
- a criminal act like impaired driving
- a government vehicle
- a vehicle transporting dangerous good
- uninsured or unlicensed driver
- damage to private, municipal or highway property
- pedestrians or bicyclists
Also report the accident to:
- a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours after the accident if no police attended the scene.
- the insurance company within 7 days after the accident even if the accident is not your fault.
- your family doctor/Walk-in clinic if you have been injured.
The following information would be helpful when you report the accident:
- the driver’s name and driver’s licence number (if the driver is not the registered owner)
- The driver’s insurance company and policy number
- the date, time and location of the accident
- the extent of all physical and mental injuries
- the number of passengers involved, if any
- the extent of damage to the vehicle
- your description of the accident
- the names and driver’s licence numbers of the other drivers (if applicable), as well as the names of their insurance companies and their auto insurance policy numbers
- the licence plate and vehicle identification numbers of the other vehicles
- the name and badge number of the investigating police officer, if the accident was reported to the police
3. Scams to look out for:
- Staged accidents (deliberately caused collision to make you look at fault)
- Referral scams (you are pressured to use particular repair shop, lawyer, or other service)
- Unauthorized tow truck operators
- Fake Injuries (a “victim” immediately pretends to have a serious injury that is hard to actually detect or diagnose or an individual who files a claim later even though he/she was not involved in the accident at all)
4. Accident benefits:
- Your own insurer is the first source of benefits:
- Medical and Attendant care benefits
- Income replacement benefits
- Non-earner benefits (if you were not employed at the time accident)
- Death and funeral benefits
- Other benefits (e.g., housekeeping and home maintenance benefits, lost education expenses, caregiver benefits, visitation expenses, etc. may also be available)
4.1 Medical & Rehab benefits
In most cases, your own insurer will cover:
- ambulatory care
- chiropractic care
- physical or occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy
- prescription and over-the-counter medications
- assistive medical devices (such as wheelchairs, walkers, prostheses, hearing aids, eyewear)
- vocational assessment
- life skills training
- family or career counseling
- costs associated with examinations
Depending on your injuries, your own insurer will only cover your medical and attendant care benefits up to:
- $3,500 – minor injury
- $65,000 – more serious injury
- $1,000,000 – catastrophic injury
4.2 Attendant care benefits
- Covers the cost of hiring a professional to assist with self-care
- Not applicable in case of minor injury
- Available only if injuries prevent from performing self-care and outside help is needed
4.3 Income replacement benefits
- Partial compensation for lost wages
- If your injuries stop you from working: your own insurer may pay you 70% of your gross pre-accident income to a maximum of $400 a week.
- You have to meet a test to get income replacement benefits
4.4 Non-earner benefits
- Compensates for an inability to perform all activities of normal life
- Available in case of a disabling injury suffered by persons unemployed at the time of the car accident
- You are not eligible for Non-earner benefits for the first 26 weeks of injury
4.5 Death and funeral benefits
Such benefits are available in case the accident causes a death. Generally, the following payments are available:
- $25,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse
- $10,000 lump sum to each dependent
- up to $6,000 in funeral expenses
5. Dealing with your own insurer
Report the accident to your own insurer within 7 days from the date of the accident. You will be contacted by a claims adjuster assigned to your file.
Obtain the following package (additional forms may be required depending on the circumstances):
- Initial Application for Accident Benefits (OCF-1)
- Employer’s Confirmation of Income (OCF-2)
- Disability Certificate (OCF-3)
- Out of Pocket Expenses (OCF-6)
Ask your personal injury lawyer to assist you with completing the forms, and submit the forms to the insurer within 30 days from receipt of the package.
6. Suing at-fault party
In addition to the compensation under your own insurance, you may also have rights to sue and obtain compensation from an at-fault party (the other driver, or the driver of the car in which you were a passenger).
Fault for an accident is determined by the Fault Determination Rules established under the Insurance Act of your province.
You and your family have the right to obtain compensation from at-fault party above the benefits received from your own insurer. A claim must be filed within two years from the date of an accident against the at-fault party or it dies forever.
A claim may include, inter alia, claims for:
- Future income loss or decreased capacity to work resulting from your injuries
- Future treatments, disability and disfigurement
- Future attendant care services
- Lost income of family members caring for you
- Out-of-pocket expenses that have not otherwise been reimbursed
Injuries must be considered ‘permanent’ and ‘serious’ before you can be compensated in a motor vehicle accident claim for your pain and suffering. As of Jan 1, 2018, compensation for pain and suffering is subject to a deductible of $37,983, unless the award exceeds $$126,610. Other family members may obtain compensation for their loss of care, guidance and companionship subject to a deductible of $18,992 unless the award exceeds $63,305.
In cases of fatality, no deductible applies.
Call Friedmans at 416-496-3340 to schedule a free consultation about your case. You are not alone. We can help.
This overview is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice or any other professional advice. Advice from a qualified personal injury lawyer should be sought in relation to your particular situation.