Imagine my surprise when after visiting our office in downtown Port Elgin, I return to my parked vehicle to find my rear bumper laying on the ground behind it. After scratching my head briefly and wondering what happened, I notice the vehicle that hit me is still at the scene and parked behind me. There are people in the vehicle and there is damage to their vehicle as well. At this point there are a lot of emotions running through my mind along with a bunch of questions. “Is everyone okay? Who do I contact? Where do I go to get my car fixed? Is my car driveable?” All of these questions can fog up your mind and confuse you. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and to know what steps to take after an auto accident.
What you should do after an accident
1. Don’t leave the accident scene – leaving the scene could lead to serious or even criminal charges.
2. Determine if there are any injuries and if so, call 911 immediately.
3. Try to determine if there is more than $1,000 in damage for the whole accident (your car and any other vehicles involved). If the damage appears to be more than $1,000, call the police and they will come and assess the scene. If the damage is less than $1,000, you still need to call the police, but they will instruct you on what to do next to assess the damages.
4. If it is safe to do so, move the vehicles off to the side of the road and make the situation safe for all, including passing traffic.
5. Collect names, addresses, telephone numbers, insurance information, license plates numbers, driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved in the accident.
6. Don’t forget about witnesses and passengers; gather their information as well – names, addresses, telephone numbers.
7. Take notes of what the immediate scene looked like – placement of trees, shrubs, stop signs, signal lights, pedestrian crossings etc. If you have a camera on your phone, take some pictures. This will help when you report the claim to us.
8. As soon as possible call your broker or agent to report the claim. We’ll answer your questions and guide you through the claims process.
Keep in mind…
• Stay calm
• Don’t argue with other drivers, witnesses, passengers or on-lookers
• Tell your story only to the police
• Never admit liability
• If a tow truck driver suddenly appears without you calling them, don’t allow them to take your car. You have the right to choose a tow truck company or if you like, we can help guide you
• Most importantly, STAY SAFE