Getting in a car accident is at best stressful and at worst life-altering. If an injury is involved, it may be closer to the latter, which is why it’s so important to know what to do should you be injured in a car accident.
Below, we dive into this exact topic, outlining the most common types of car accident injuries and what to do in the event you are injured in an accident. We also provide some tips for avoiding collisions in the future.
The most common types of car accident injuries
Car accidents range in severity but all have the potential to cause injury. In the event of a minor car accident, the injuries sustained may be as minor as a few scrapes and cuts or whiplash, but in the event of a major accident, injuries could be as serious as broken bones or paralysis.
In a worst-case scenario, car accidents can even result in fatalities. Some of the most common types of car accident injuries in Canada are as follows:
- Sprained or broken bones.
- Soft tissue injuries (e.g. whiplash)
- Brain injuries (e.g. concussions)
- Burns, lacerations, and scarring.
- Back and spinal cord trauma.
- Chest injuries.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Bruising, scrapes, and cuts.
- Psychological trauma (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression)
What to do if you are injured in a car accident
Most people don’t know what to do after a car accident even if they come out unscathed, let alone if they are injured. Whether you are responsible for the accident or not, the steps you should follow are the same.
From staying calm and seeking medical attention to gathering evidence and contacting the authorities, read this step-by-step guide so that you will know what to do if you are ever injured in a car accident.
Remain calm and call 911
The moment you realize you’ve hit another car or they’ve hit you, stop your vehicle and take a deep breath. At this moment, emotions and adrenaline will be running high. The best thing you can do is try to remain calm. Quickly assess the damage and address any immediate danger.
If you are in danger, for example, if a fire has erupted nearby or another vehicle could hit yours, try to remove yourself from the car or pull it over safely to the side of the road. If you are unable to move your vehicle out of the way, put your hazard lights on.
Please note that if you are severely injured, the best thing you can do is remain in your vehicle if it’s safe to do so. If the injuries sustained are minor, safely remove yourself from your vehicle to check if others are injured. Call 911 immediately. If anyone else is injured, do not remove them from their vehicle(s) unless it is dangerous for them to remain there.
Seek medical treatment
In the event of an injury following a car accident, your health and safety are the top priority. As soon as emergency services arrive, have yourself checked by a medical professional. Even if you don’t believe the injuries sustained are severe, it’s important to seek medical attention.
Sometimes injuries may not present themselves immediately or seem serious to you, but a doctor or paramedic may know otherwise.
If you are taken to a nearby hospital or medical centre, be sure to speak to a doctor about the extent of your injuries and follow the treatment regimen they recommend. As mentioned, car accident injuries can be serious, affecting everything from the brain and neck to the spinal cord. Therefore, we urge victims of accidents to keep all appointments and meet with any specialists the emergency room doctor recommends.
In addition, keep a record of all medical treatments received for insurance purposes.
Report the accident to the police
Reporting the accident to local authorities is crucial after getting into a car accident. Please note that in Canada you are legally required to report a car accident to the police if the damage to your vehicle exceeds $2,000.
It is best to contact the police as soon as possible following the incident, ideally within 24 hours.
If you are physically able and only after you have been assessed by a medical professional, try to gather as much information as possible about the accident. Take photos and videos of the scene and the vehicles involved, as well as any traffic signs or lights. It’s also a good idea to take notes on the road and weather conditions.
Evidence-gathering is important as once tow trucks and cleanup crews arrive, all evidence will be removed. The right evidence can help whether you are filing a claim with your own insurance company or fighting a claim brought against you.
Exchange information with the other driver(s)
Before leaving the scene, exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident. Specifically, you should provide the other driver with your name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance company name, and insurance company number.
You should obtain the same information from the other parties. You should also write down the names and phone numbers of any passengers or witnesses to the accident. The experts at BrokerLink caution against admitting fault in front of the other parties or agreeing to pay for any necessary repairs or medical expenses out-of-pocket.
Call your insurance provider as soon as possible
The next step after exchanging information with the other parties involved is to call your insurance provider and notify them of the accident. You have seven days from the date of the collision to report it to your insurance company, though we recommend doing so as soon as possible.
We also recommend reporting the accident to your local insurance brokerage, as a broker can inform you about the ways the accident may affect your insurance policy. An insurance broker can also help answer any questions you may have about the claims process since you will likely need to file a claim with your insurance provider after the accident.
The type of claim you file depends on the circumstances of the accident, such as who was at fault for the collision and whether the other driver is underinsured or uninsured. Depending on these factors, you may file an accident benefits claim, an uninsured automobile claim, or a liability claim.
Generally speaking, you should be prepared to provide the following information when filing a claim with your insurance company:
- The name of the other driver’s insurance company.
- The other driver’s auto insurance policy number.
- The make, model, year, and registration number of the other driver’s vehicle.
- The date, time, and location of the accident.
- The extent of the damage to the vehicle.
- The names of any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
- The extent of the injuries (if applicable)
- The name and driver’s license number of the other driver.
- The license plate numbers and vehicle identification numbers of the other driver’s vehicle.
- The name and badge number of the investigating police officer, if the accident was reported to local police.
Will my insurance company raise my rates for getting into a car accident?
Your auto insurance premium may go up following an accident. However, it depends on the insurance company, the coverage included with your policy, the severity of the accident, and your claims history.
For example, if your policy features accident forgiveness coverage, then your insurance company cannot increase your premium after your first at-fault accident.
Though generally speaking, the more driving infractions on your record - from accidents to speeding tickets - the more you will pay for car insurance. To learn more about how auto accidents can impact your rates, contact BrokerLink and speak with a car insurance expert.
Tips to avoid getting into a car accident
The best way to avoid getting injured in a car accident is to avoid getting into a car accident altogether. BrokerLink’s expert insurance advisors have put together a list of our top driving tips to minimize the odds of getting into a collision on the road.
Anytime you’re driving, remember to slow down. The slower you drive, the less likely you are to get into an accident. Never drive over the speed limit and try to take your time when accelerating, braking, turning, parking, or changing lines.
There are even certain situations where we recommend driving below the speed limit, such as when driving in poor weather like fog, rain, or snow, at night when visibility is reduced, through a construction zone, or in an area with lots of pedestrians.
Be aware of your surroundings
Part of driving smart is being aware of your surroundings at all times. Maintaining awareness of all cars, pedestrians, and potential road hazards by scanning the lanes in front of you and regularly checking your rear-view and side mirrors.
Enrol in driving school
A tip to help young drivers avoid getting into car accidents is to enrol in driving school. An approved driving program in your province can be a valuable tool for new drivers. Recognized driving schools can teach you the rules of the road while providing practical in-car instruction.
Plus, driving lessons allow you to learn from a seasoned professional and to practice driving with someone other than your parents. Beyond reducing your odds of getting into an accident, enrolling in driving school might save you money on car insurance.
Leave ample space
Always leave ample space between you and other vehicles on the road. Doing so can decrease your odds of getting into an accident. Experts recommend a distance of two car lengths, though this distance is best suited to residential streets.
When navigating busy highways, such as those around the Greater Toronto Area, leave even more space between your vehicle and those around you.
This also applies when you’re driving in inclement weather or at night. Ultimately, the more space you leave, the more time you have to manoeuvre your vehicle out of the way of danger. For example, leaving two car lengths’ worth of space instead of one could be the difference between hitting another vehicle and not hitting another vehicle if forced to stop suddenly.
Our last tip to help drivers avoid car accidents is to minimize distractions on the road. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents around the world. Keep yourself as safe as possible by avoiding distractions. Common distractions may include texting, programming your GPS, eating, drinking, or smoking.
In essence, anything that takes your attention away from the road is a distraction. So finish your snack, set your GPS, tune the radio to a station you like, and put your phone somewhere you can’t see it before pulling out of the driveway. Focusing on the road can save lives.
Preparing for an emergency on the road
No matter how safely or responsibly you drive, sometimes car accidents are unavoidable. Therefore, all drivers should be prepared for the reality of a car accident in case one should happen to them. To prepare yourself for an emergency on the road, consider keeping a basic first kit or emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle.
Your emergency kit should ideally consist of the following:
- Basic first aid kit.
- Emergency road flares.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Bottled water.
- Tire repair kit and pump.
- Small tool kit.
- Work gloves.
- Booster cables.
- Thermal blanket.
- Non-perishable food.
Contact BrokerLink for more information on what to do if you injured in a car accident
Were you recently injured in a car accident? Get in touch with BrokerLink. Though an insurance claim will need to be filed directly with your provider, we can walk you through the claims process and answer any questions you may have about how auto collisions impact insurance rates.
Of course, we can always help you shop around for a new car insurance policy when your existing policy is up for renewal. As car insurance experts, we know how to find the best coverage at the lowest rates, even for drivers with car accidents on their driving records. If it’s quality car insurance at an affordable price you're after, look no further than BrokerLink.
BrokerLink can be reached by phone, email, or in person at any one of our locations across Canada. We also invite all drivers to take advantage of our free car insurance quotes. No matter your driving record, use our online quote tool to receive an accurate and competitive quote in minutes.
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