A motor vehicle collision is a frightening and confusing time for those involved. Siskinds Personal Injury Partner Emily Foreman knows just how crucial the gathering of information can be when an accident has occurred, and has provided these 10 tips for anyone involved in an unfortunate accident.
If you or a loved one suffer injuries in a motor vehicle collision, it is important to take appropriate steps to protect your legal rights. Ten tips for individuals injured in a motor vehicle collision follow:
- Be Observant
If possible, try to observe your surrounds so that you can identify the other driver and vehicle, and recount events.Your evidence could assist in the conviction of an at-fault party on a charge under the Highway Traffic Act or the Criminal Code of Canada.If you or others at the scene cannot identify the at-fault parties, this does not prevent you from taking legal action against this individual.
- Do Not Argue With Other Parties
An argument or heated discussion at the scene of a collision will not be productive. Any conversations that you have at the scene could come into evidence in a future legal case.
- Report the Collision to Police
Sometimes parties at the scene of a collision to want to avoid contacting police.If someone is injured, it is important that the collision be reported to police.
- Cooperate with Police
Once police are contacted, the investigating officer may wish to take your statement.It is generally in your best interest to cooperate fully with police in this regard.
- Report the Collision your Automobile Insurer
When an individual is injured in a motor vehicle collision in the Province of Ontario, he or she will have access to certain benefits through a no-fault accident benefits injurer.If another party is fully or partially at fault for the collision, the injured person may also have a right to take legal action against the at-fault party or parties with a tort claim.One must claim accident benefits in order to pursue a tort claim.If you do not have your own automobile policy, your may obtain accident benefits coverage through others (i.e. a parent or spouse’s policy, the at-fault driver’s policy or the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund).
- Report Injuries to Treating Professionals
Report all of your injuries (not just the most serious ones) to your treating healthcare professionals.This includes:
- physical injuries,
- emotional or psychological issues; and
- cognitive issues
which may arise from the collision.
- Obtain Treatment
If you are injured and intend to take legal action, you should make efforts obtain appropriate treatment for your injuries.You need not follow up on every treatment recommendation made by just anyone (particularly if funding is an issue).However, it is advisable for injured individuals to take reasonable steps to engage in appropriate rehabilitation, and follow the advice of their treating healthcare professionals.
- Take Photographs
Timely photos of your injuries and subsequent rehabilitation will tell an important part of your story.Photos of the damaged vehicles are also helpful, as they provide evidence of the location of the impact(s) and severity of the crash.Note the date that each photo was taken, and the author of the photograph.
- Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are injured in a collision, you should contact a qualified lawyer to discuss your legal rights.It is important to arrange a consultation at your earliest opportunity, to ensure that you know your rights, and your rights are protected.Most reputable lawyers will provide an initial consultation free of charge.
- Protect Your Legal Rights
When meeting with a lawyer, review applicable notice and limitation periods.This will allow you to make an informed decision with respect to whether to take legal action, within the required timelines.Some notice periods are as short as seven days, so obtain legal advice as soon as possible.
Emily is a Partner at Siskinds. She assists injured individuals and their families in all aspects of injury claims, and is dedicated to achieving the best results for her clients. For a free consultation, contact Emily Foreman at [email protected] or at 519.660.7822.