Unbelievable! You were just in a car accident! No matter how experienced a driver you may be, a collision always comes as a shock. It’s such a shock that you probably don’t know how to react. You could be tempted to apologize or to tell the other driver that you’re fine, whether or not that’s true. You might even think about just driving away as quickly as you can.
But slow down. Say as little as possible about what happened or who’s to blame. Instead, focus on 3 things:
1. Make sure that you and others on the road are safe.
2. Follow the correct procedures for reporting the accident.
3. Collect the information you need to file an insurance claim.
Our guide below will walk you through the procedure and answer your Ottawa auto body repair related questions.
Stop Vehicle And Check For Injuries
After a car accident in Ontario, you must stop the car. That’s the law, no matter how minor you consider the incident. Switch on your headlights and four-way flashers to make your vehicle more visible to motorists. If you have road flares, set those up too.
Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Do not attempt to move anyone who is hurt unless absolutely necessary.
Call The Police (OR 911)
First, call 911 if you believe it’s an emergency. Call the local police if:
1. A human being has sustained any injury.
2. One or more of the drivers involved seems to be intoxicated or high on drugs.
3. Combined damage to the vehicles seems to be greater than $2,000.
(If none of these is the case, you do not have to contact the police, but you must call a collision centre within 24 hours.)
Answer all questions from the police officers honestly. However, stick strictly to the facts, without speculation or admission of blame.
Do Not Drive An Unsafe Vehicle
Do not attempt to move your vehicle off the roadway if you have the slightest suspicion that it might be unsafe to do so. Avoid further harm to the car’s occupants, as well as to the vehicle itself. Obviously, you don’t want to be driving around with a windshield that needs replacement.
Collect Information From Other Driver
Give your name, address, phone, license number, insurance, and vehicle details to the other driver(s) and collect the same information from them. Do not argue or discuss what happened, who was at fault, or the extent of any injuries, and NEVER sign any document presented to you by the other driver. If there were witnesses, get their name and phone number — this information can be invaluable when you make your insurance claim.
Beware of Scams Or Fraud
Warning: Unscrupulous scammers prey on other drivers in Ontario. Sometimes the fraud involves staging a phony accident to rip off their insurance company, which is why you should carefully document the details. Another popular swindle is sending a tow operator who’s in collaboration with a dishonest collision repair shop to the scene; they’ll try to get you on the hook for unnecessary or overpriced repairs and “storage charges.”
Take Pictures Or Video Of Damages
Get a visual record of the damages to all vehicles and other property (e.g. someone’s landscaping) by photographing or videotaping. In addition, write down or audio-record all the details of the accident that you can remember. Don’t worry about being coherent — the important thing is to make notes on everything while it is still fresh in your mind. Here are a few essentials:
- Time and location of the accident
- Number of vehicles involved
- Injuries to humans and damage to vehicles
- Traffic signs
- Unusual weather or road conditions
- Additional evidence such as skid marks (get pictures if relevant)
- The investigating officer’s name and badge number
Make An Insurance Claim
Contact your insurance provider ASAP. If the accident took place outside business hours, contact the company’s 24-hour phone line or app to start the insurance claims process. An insurance adjuster will get back to you for a follow-up.
Inform yourself of what your automobile insurance company will and will not cover. For example: How much is your deductible? Will you be reimbursed for car rental while your own vehicle’s in the shop for mechanical repair? How does the insurer determine fault?
Be sure to choose a collision repair shop which your insurance provider approves.
Call A Tow Truck And Trusted Collision Repair Shop
Call a tow truck from a reliable source. Bemac operates a 24-hour towing hotline, servicing the entire Ottawa area. We also offer post-collision repair at our state-of-the-art auto body shop, recognized by all insurance companies in Ottawa and the rest of Canada.
Here’s how one Ottawa motorist describes the collision repair process with BEMAC:
After an accident, my insurer offered BEMAC as an option to repair damage. I’m glad they did. The work was done professionally, perfectly, and even more quickly than they promised. Their personnel were courteous, professional, and enthusiastic. I cannot say strongly enough how pleased I am with their work. -Paul S.