“I Bent My Fender… What Do I Do Now?”
Even the best drivers can become involved in a car accident.
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act creates a duty to report to police any accident that results in personal injury, property damage of over $2,000, or damage to highway property (signs, guardrails, light standards, etc.).
In the event of an accident, the Act does not require a driver of an involved car to move the car even if it remains driveable. It is a driver’s choice, based on considerations such as safety and traffic flow, to move their car away from traffic or off the road entirely. However, a driver is obligated to remain at, or immediately return to, the scene of the accident and render all possible assistance.
While police ought to be called after every accident, there is nothing within the Act requiring the police to attend the scene of every collision. An officer may direct a person involved in an accident to a collision reporting centre. In other instances there may not be need to complete any formal report. Where no injuries arise and property damage falls below the $2,000 guideline, it is permissible for drivers to opt for a private settlement, to avoid police involvement, and the potential for increased insurance premiums. In these instances, when requested, drivers must provide in writing their name, address, driver’s license number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle to any witnesses, police officers, or to any person who sustains a loss or injury in the accident.
It is important to remember that a no fault accident should not increase one’s insurance premiums. For this reason the best advice after being in a car accident is to report the crash to your insurer regardless of the damage sustained. If any questions remain after speaking to your insurer or to police, a personal injury lawyer can help.
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