It’s amazing that no matter how many times we write about it; speak about it; or broadcast our thoughts on radio, podcast, newspaper or television; that so few people know what to do after a car accident in Ontario.
This is very important, because there are tight time lines which you may be dealing with. Getting things done properly, and in a timely manner can be the difference between getting the benefits you need or being denied benefits.
Doing things the right way, and in a timely manner is particularly important during COVID given that things are moving slowly on a good day.
CALL THE POLICE, GET MEDICAL ATTENTION
Before you call a personal injury lawyer, you should always report the accident to the police so that they can investigate the claim. If any charges need to be laid, they will do so. Waiting a day or two after the car accident to report the car accident is missing the point. In the event that the Defendant is charged, and later convicted, this will be the best evidence you need in order to establish fault/liability against the at fault driver. By waiting to call the police to investigate the claim, you are potentially missing your window to built up the claim against the Defendant. You will also be missing crucial pieces of evidence such as the officer’s notes, any witness statements which the officer records; and the likelihood of the at fault driver getting charge reduces exponentially.
Aside from calling police, if you are seriously injured, it’s important that you get the medical attention you need. This may come in the form of contacting 911 to get an ambulance, visiting your local hospital, walk in clinic, or family doctor. Failing to get medical attention in a timely manner will set off alarm bells for the insurance company and their lawyers. They will draw a negative inference given that the injured Plaintiff failed to seek medical attention right away. They will think that if this person was so hurt in the subject car accident, then why didn’t they receive medical attention right away; or in a reasonable time frame? Seeing a doctor will also help build a paper trail so that your personal injury lawyer can establish that your injuries are severe and were directly related to the subject car accident.
In both examples set out above, the common thread is the danger and risk of delay. The delay in reaching out to the police to report the car accident will hurt your case. The delay in receiving proper medical attention following a car accident will also hurt your case. The lesson in all of this is that if you want to have a successful personal injury case; then don’t delay.
Getting the insurance information from the at fault driver matters.
Having your own car insurance information at the ready following a car accident matters.
If you are a pedestrian, cyclist, or passenger who does NOT have car insurance; then getting the insurance information for the at fault driver really matters.
Without the insurance information available; then how are you going to report the car accident to an insurance company so that you can get the benefits you need? Do you think an insurance company is going to track you down and make money rain from the sky?
Who is going to pay for your lost wages, physio bills, attendant care, prescription medication, damages glasses or clothing? A car insurer will. But a car insurer only will in the event that you know which insurance company to deal with, along with the policy number which will respond to the claim.
OCF-1 APPLICATION FOR ACCIDENT BENEFITS
The Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog has described in great detail the importance and purpose of the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits. If you have have read our past blog entries on the OCF-1 Application For Accident Benefits, you can check out past entries here and here.
Think of the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits as the first drop of a large waterfall; or the first brick of a house. It’s the form that gets the ball rolling. Without that form being completed your case will never get off the ground running.
Once your report the car accident to you own insurance company, they should send you out an Accident Benefits Package, which will include the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits. If for whatever reason the insurance company does not send you an Accident Benefits Package, you can find all of the OCF Claims Forms you need on the Goldfinger Injury Lawyers Webpage, or on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Website.
Once you have the Accident Benefits package, complete the forms and submit them to the insurance company. If you need help completing the accident benefit forms (which is understandable because they can be complicated); then contact a personal injury lawyer to get the help you need.
In the event that the insurance company contacts you and begins to ask you intrusive questions about the car accident, your health, your job etc; you are under no obligation to answer those questions if you don’t want to do so without a personal injury lawyer.
Which leads us in to our next step:
Once the insurance company is aware of your claim, they are going to 1000 + 1 questions about you, your family, your job, your pre-accident health, your income, your injuries, your family, even the size of your house. You don’t have to answer any of these questions without a lawyer by your side. Some of these questions are relevant. But some of these questions aren’t relevant. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you, particularly when you’re at your most vulnerable following a serious car accident. This will likely be your first time dealing with an insurance company in this situation. But for the insurance company, it’s what they do every day. It’s important for you to get a personal injury lawyer with experience who you can trust to protect your rights.