Ontario law requires you to complete a motor vehicle accident report in any case where damage to the vehicles exceeds $1,000 and/or injury is involved. A detailed accident report may bolster your tort claim against an at-fault party when a lawsuit is commenced and may be requested in support of your application for statutory Accident Benefits.
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Below are essential details to include in your Ontario motor vehicle accident report.
1. The names and contact information of everyone involved in the crash – Provide your legal name, drivers’ license number, license plate number and contact information to the police officer at the scene. Ensure that officer obtains the same information for any other drivers. If you are going to attend a Collision Reporting Centre, ensure that you collect as many details from the other driver before you leave the scene of the accident. This is especially important should the other involved driver fail to appear at a Collision Reporting Centre within the allotted time.
2. Your insurance information – Include information about your auto insurance carrier and policy and contact information if possible.
3. Witness contact information – Collect witness contact information as soon as you are able and provide full names and phone numbers to police, the insurance company and your personal injury lawyer.
Witnesses may be able to speak to such factors as:
- road conditions;
- traffic conditions;
- what the other driver was doing prior to the crash (especially important if they can attest to illegal or negligent behavior, such as texting while driving or disobeying traffic signals);
- events that preceded the accident (such as another vehicle turning left, an animal running out in the road and so on); and
- the other driver’s behavior at the crash scene (such as appearing intoxicated or screaming at other drivers, and so on).
4. Damage description – A police officer will assess the damage to your vehicle. This will happen either at the scene of the crash or at a designated Collision Reporting Centre. You may wish to augment this report with additional information to ensure a thorough documentation of damages. Take your own pictures if possible.
5. Your memory of how the accident occurred – Offer a fact-based, detail-oriented description of the accident. Include such details as:
- road, weather and traffic conditions;
- time of day of the accident;
- vehicle information (make, model, year and color or all involved vehicles);
- accident location;
- where you were traveling;
- how the accident occurred;
- what you were doing just prior to the collision; and
- where your vehicle came to rest after the crash.
Avoid making accusations about fault or liability. Remain as calm as possible and stick to objective information, instead of phrases like – “He was a terrible driver.”
6. Some details about your injuries – You needn’t provide a detailed description of your injuries, but you may report such facts as whether or not you were treated at the scene for injuries or whether you were transported to a medical centre for additional care.
Your Next Steps after a Motor Vehicle Crash in Ontario
Remember: You must report your accident to your insurance company within seven days of the collision. You then must file your application for Accident Benefits within 30 days. Be sure to list all your injuries in the application and advise your health practitioner of ALL injuries, no matter how minor. For help from a personal injury lawyer, call Preszler Law at 1-800-JUSTICE®.