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After a car accident, it is important to properly assess the situation before you consider consulting a lawyer for a car accident or personal injury.
Here are 10 Steps to follow if in a car accident to help assess the situation
- Stop and never leave the scene of the accident. Record the other driver’s license plate. If necessary, take a picture or video.
- Stay calm and confirm that no one is hurt.
- Check for damage and assess the situation.
- Watch for oncoming traffic and turn on hazard lights. Set up flares or reflectors if possible.
- Call for help if the accident is serious (e.g. call 911).
- Address any injuries by keeping injured people warm and not moving them unless they are in immediate danger.
- Gather information for an accident report, including names, license plate numbers, insurance company names and policy numbers, types of vehicles involved, location of each vehicle, and names of passengers and witnesses.
- File an accident report with the police, even for a minor incident.
- Take pictures of the damage to vehicles, all vehicles that were involved, take photos of the scene of the accident, the other driver(s) and passengers. If possible, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic without endangering yourself or have it towed if it is too damaged to drive.
- Limit discussion of the accident only to the police and your insurance company. Avoid too much discussion with the other driver. Avoid apologizing. Avoid heated discussions. Limit the discussion.
Why is it important to get a Police Collision Report In Alberta?
In the province of Alberta, a car accident is any incident in which a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or object. It is important to file a police collision report in Alberta after a car accident because it:
- Provides an accurate record of the events of the accident
- Protects you legally
- Proves fault in the accident
- Protects you against fraud
Will filing a Police report mean I have to make an insurance claim?
Filing a police report does not necessarily mean you have to file a car insurance claim. However, it is still important to notify your insurance broker about the accident and get advice on the claims process. The impact on your insurance rates will depend on whether you are found to be at fault for the accident, not on whether you file a police report. The police report does not determine liability in the accident, and it does not impact your insurance company's assessment of the accident. Your insurer will determine fault based on the information they have about the accident.
What is considered a car accident in Alberta?
When considering the definition of a collision, guidelines are provided by the Calgary Police Service (insert link: https://www.calgary.ca/cps/traffic/collisions.html)
Should I report this incident to the police?
You must report a car accident to the police if there are any injuries, if the damage exceeds $2,000, or if you were the victim of a hit-and-run. If you suspect the other driver to be intoxicated, involved in a crime, or part of a fraud ring, you should also call the police immediately.
When should I NOT report this accident?
In the event of a car accident in which there is no damage or the damage is less than $2,000 and no laws were broken, you are not required to file an accident report. However, you may still choose to file a report if deemed necessary.
How do I report this car accident?
Call 911 if there are injuries or if one of the vehicles is not driveable, or by visiting a police district office if there are no injuries and the vehicles involved are driveable. It is important to also report the vehicle involved and the person who was driving the other vehicle must be present when filing the report at the police office.
What are the rules for reporting accidents in Alberta?
Section 69 of the Traffic Safety Act (insert link: https://kings-printer.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/t06.pdf) states the duty of drivers involved in a traffic accident in Alberta :
69(1) Where an accident in which a vehicle is involved occurs on a highway, the driver or other person in charge of any vehicle that was directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall :
(a) remain at the scene of the accident or, if the person has left the scene of the accident, immediately return to the scene of the accident unless otherwise directed by a peace officer,
(b) render all reasonable assistance, and
(c) produce in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury, to any peace officer and to any witness all or such of the following information as is requested :
(i) that person’s name and address;
(ii) the number of that person’s operator’s license;
(iii) the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle;
(iv) the license plate number of the vehicle;
(v) a financial responsibility card issued in respect of that vehicle.
Here are some things to avoid doing at the scene of a car accident:
- Do not admit fault or take responsibility for the accident in any way.
- Do not offer to pay the damages.
- Do not agree to forget about the accident.
- Do not accept money or any form of settlement.
Remember to stay calm and handle the situation properly.
Why do I need to file a Police Collision Report?
Filing a police collision report in Alberta provides you with protection. It gives you an accurate record of events, protects you legally, proves fault, and protects you against fraud.
Will I have to file an insurance claim?
Filing a police report does not mean you have to file a car insurance claim, but it is still important to notify your broker of the accident.
Will this accident impact my insurance in Alberta?
Your insurance company will determine fault based on the information about the accident, and the police report will not necessarily impact your insurance rates.
What to know before getting your car towed
After being involved in a car accident, there are several steps you should take to ensure your safety and protect yourself from scams. Here is a summary of what you should do:
- Move your vehicle to a safe location, such as off the road or to the side of the highway. Turn on your hazard lights and place cones around your car to warn other drivers.
- Determine whether your car is safe to drive. If it is not leaking fluid, the hood closes all the way, the lights and mirrors are functioning properly, and the steering and braking are intact, you may be able to drive it to the mechanic.
- Call your car insurance company for advice and resources, such as a list of reputable towing companies. Some repair shops may also offer to pick you up.
- Identify your exact location so you can give clear directions to the tow truck driver.
- Take photos of the vehicles involved in the accident and the scene, and remove any valuables from your car before it is towed.
- Carefully review the towing agreement and invoice from the driver to make sure you are not overcharged. Look for standard towing rates in your region for comparison.
- Be aware of scams, such as tow truck drivers who recommend repair shops without being asked and receive referral fees for bringing them business. Choose a reputable company, don't accept unsolicited repair shop recommendations, and ask the tow truck driver to take your car to a secure location where your insurance company can access it.
Remember, safety should be your top priority. If your car is not safe to drive or is blocking traffic, you should have it towed to a safe location without endangering yourself. If your car is not heavily damaged and can be safely driven, you may be able to drive it to the mechanic or repair shop. If your car is heavily damaged and cannot be safely driven, you will need to have it towed.
If time allows, choose a reputable towing company by reading reviews and comparing prices before making a decision. Review the towing agreement and invoice carefully. Make sure you understand the terms and charges before agreeing to have your car towed.
Don’t forget to protect your valuables. Remove any personal belongings or valuable items from your car before it is towed.
Accidents can be very complicated and require professional advice. If you need consulting for a lawyer relating to a car accident or personal injury, contact or visit Martin G. Schulz today! Our legal experts will help you decide whether or not filing a personal injury claim is the right answer for you.