Being in any sort of traffic collision can be very stressful and traumatic. Often times, we feel overwhelmed following an accident, particularly if we don’t know what steps we need to take.
Knowing what steps to follow ahead of time will reduce the stress of an accident, make it easier for everyone involved, and will help you get back on the road faster.
If you are involved in an accident that causes property damage, bodily injury or death, there are a few things that you are legally required to do. There are also steps that you can take to help protect yourself if the accident injures someone or causes property damage.
Here are a few steps that you need to take to ensure you are following the law and protecting yourself legally:
Stay At The Scene
First of all, it is important to know that by law you are required to stay, or immediately return to the scene of an accident. Keep in mind that it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident, regardless of whether you were directly or indirectly involved.
Call For Help If Anyone Has Been Injured
If anyone appears to be injured you should immediately call 9-1-1 and state the details of your emergency. Unless you have medical training or the victims needs are clear, you should not touch the injured person as this could aggravate their injuries.
Report The Collision
One of the most common questions that we hear following a traffic collision is “when should I report an accident?”. There are a few simple questions you can ask yourself, and if your answer to any of them is “yes” you should definitely report the accident to the police.
Is Anyone Injured?
If anyone involved in the traffic collision has been injured you should contact the EPS immediately. Depending on the severity of the accident you can call 780-423-4576, #377 from your mobile phone, or 9-1-1 to request an ambulance. It is a good idea to keep these numbers saved in your phone in case of an accident or emergency.
Is The Damage In Excess of $2000?
Every province sets a dollar value for estimated damages that will determine if police involvement is required. In Alberta, the threshold is $2000. Keep in mind that this total includes damage to both vehicles.
We understand that it can be hard to tell exactly how much damage has been caused, but unless the collision is extremely minor, you most likely need to report it to the police.
Once you have reported the collision you will be provided with a collision sticker, this lets the police know that a report has been filed and allows your trusted body shop to begin repairs.
Is There Any Property Damage
If there has been any damage to someone else’s property, such as guardrails, telephone poles, a fence, or someone’s lawn, you are required to report the traffic collision to the police.
Is The Accident A Hit-And-Run?
If you are involved in a traffic collision, and either driver leaves, it needs to be reported to the police as soon as possible, regardless of injuries or damage to your vehicle.
Try and obtain as much information as possible about the other vehicle/driver involved (make, model, colour, license plate, which direction it went etc) in order to help the authorities.
Is Someone Impaired?
If you suspect that a driver involved in a traffic collision is impaired you should immediately report the collision to the police.
Exchange Information With All Driver(s) Involved
It is important that you obtain as much information as possible about the accident, the drivers, and the vehicles involved. Here is a list of important information:
License plate of the other car, along with its make, model, and year.
License number, registration information, address, and telephone number of any other driver’s involved.
The name of the insurance company, as well as the policy number, of any other driver’s involved.
The names and phone numbers of any witnesses
Contact Your Insurance Company
You are required to report all collisions to your insurance company. Keep in mind that if you do not report the accident, and the other driver does, their insurance company will still contact your provided for the purposes of settling any claims.
If this process determines that you were either wholly or partially at fault for the collision, even if you have paid for the damages yourself, your rates could end up increasing to reflect that you were involved in a collision.
It is true that upon request you must provide your full name, current address, phone number, drivers license number, and insurance information to any other drivers involved, the police, or any witnesses. However, it is important to be careful what you say. You should not make a statement to anyone other than a police officer. Do not admit to anything, offer to pay for anything, or accept any payments for others involved.
Before accepting a payment, signing or a release, or admitting fault, contact your insurance provider and/or lawyer.
It is also important that you keep a record of all injuries, property damage, and any associated expenses – whether they are medical or mechanical.
Remember, You Can Choose Your Body Shop After A Traffic Collision
Although it is common practice for insurance companies to provide a list of auto body repair shops in your area, these are simply recommendations and you are not limited to these. Legally, you have the right to choose the repair shop of your choice.
Some body shops may already be affiliated with your insurance company in order to speed up the process or keep the costs down, but these may not always be the best choice for you. Asking for suggestions, checking online reviews, and doing your own research is always a good idea.
You may already have an auto body shop in mind, and it is your right to choose, just keep in mind that if you select a body shop that isn’t affiliated with your insurance company it may take longer due to third-party appraisal services.
Whatever you do, remember that you are never required to use the body shop that your insurance company recommends, and the final delicious is always your own.
There aren’t many things more stressful than getting into an accident, and we hope you never have to go through it, but if you do, the steps outlined above will help.
By being prepared, and knowing what to do, you will make the process smoother, simpler, and faster – helping to reduce stress and get you back on the road faster.
If you do require any auto body repair services, contact Southern Auto Body today. We are a family owned and operated business that has been serving the Edmonton area since 1962. We have been based in Old Strathcona for over 50 years and our technicians are industry leading experts, always delivering outstanding results for all your automotive needs.