Car accidents can happen to anyone, no matter your driving ability or experience. Every year in Canada, over 112,000 motor collisions have resulted in personal injuries or fatalities. In this article, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding automotive accidents and the potential litigation that may follow.

If you or a loved one has been in a serious car accident and have any questions at all, call 1-844-288-HURT to get in touch with one of Helping Hand’s experienced professionals.

What causes car accidents?

Most often, car accidents occur due to distracted or impaired driving. Other common causes include speeding, fatigue, and aggressive driving. Night-time driving also poses a higher risk as drivers are more likely to be fatigued or impaired in the evening.

I was in a car accident. What should I do?

It’s important to exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. Do NOT discuss fault with the other driver. Apologies or admissions of fault could be used against you when determining responsibility for the collision. The insurance companies will determine who’s at fault. Instead, make sure you record the following:

  • full name and contact information of all drivers, passengers and potential witnesses
  • insurance company and policy number of all drivers
  • driver’s license and license plate number
  • type, model and colour of the vehicle
  • location of the accident
  • photograph the scene; your photos may become supporting documentation during the insurance claims process

Once the officers arrive on scene, they will fill out an accident report. Ask them where you may obtain a copy of the report as your insurer may ask for it during the insurance claims process. It doesn’t hurt to request the name and badge numbers of the officers as well. Once all of this is done, call your insurance company ASAP (within 7 days) to start your benefits claim.

Whose insurance pays for a car accident?

Insurance companies will assign a percentage of fault to each driver. This determines your property damage coverages and any additional premiums if you’re more than 25% responsible for the crash. If you’re at all responsible, you’ll also have the accident listed on your insurance record.

I was in a car accident and I don’t have insurance.

You’re still eligible to make a claim for accident benefits! Depending on whether you are the driver of a company vehicle, the passenger in someone else’s vehicle, a passenger in an uninsured vehicle, a cyclist/pedestrian, or in a different circumstance, you’ll send your Accident Benefits application to a different insurance company. The professionals at Helping Hand can discuss your options with you.

Should I sue after a car accident?

If the other driver caused you a serious injury or your insurance company refuses to provide coverage, you are entitled to a lawsuit within two years of the accident. Working with a personal injury lawyer, you should determine your settlement goal; one that covers your medical and legal expenses for now and later.

Your lawyer will file the claim to the Superior Court of Justice and to the Defendant. In Ontario, a 90-day mediation period provides the opportunity to meet the defendant confidentially to settle the case. If no agreement is made, your lawyer will gather statements from witnesses, doctors and demand documents from the defendant to help build your case. You will then go to trial.

How much can I get from a car accident settlement?

In cases of personal injuries from car accidents, compensation can be capped by a “general damages” requirement. In order to receive damages for pain and suffering, a judge must agree that the injury is permanent and seriously impairs an important function. Depending on the degree of damage, settlements can be upwards of one million dollars.

Can car accidents cause PTSD?

Serious car accidents can result in some individuals developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And it’s not just for the drivers- witnesses and passengers can all develop PTSD. If you or a loved one may be experiencing PTSD, please seek a professional for help.