February 22, 2016

Prepared by Bryce Dillon, Articling Student

After a motor vehicle collision, the first thing you should do is stop your vehicle. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident to avoid liability is a serious offence under the Criminal Code and may result in imprisonment.[1]

If the accident results in personal injury or significant property damage, you should call 911 and report the accident to the police. As of September 1, 2015, the Highway Traffic Act requires a driver to report an accident to the police if it results in a personal injury or property damage (e.g. vehicle damage) that appears to exceed $2000.[2] If you are not sure whether the damage exceeds $2000, you should err on the side of caution and call the police.

While you are waiting for the police, you may wish to take photos of the scene of the accident and any damage before moving your vehicle. If it is safe to do so, you should now move your vehicle off the road and away from traffic.

Your next step should be to exchange information with the other drivers involved. Collect their names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, insurance provider names, and policy numbers. You should also record license plate numbers and the names and addresses of the registered owners of the other vehicles. If possible, take notes of everything that happened, so later you can refresh your memory. If there were any witnesses to the accident, you should obtain their contact information as well.

Finally, you should report the accident to your insurance provider and determine whether you are eligible for statutory accident benefits or coverage for vehicle damage. In Ontario, drivers are obligated under the Insurance Act to report serious accidents to their insurers within seven days of an accident.[3] If you are incapable of reporting the accident within seven days, you should report it as soon as practicable afterwards.[4] If not, when you make a claim, your insurance provider may deny coverage.

For more information, contact Caroline Failes at 613.566.2849 or [email protected].


[1] Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s 252.

[2] Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s 199(1); R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596: GENERAL, s 11.

[3] Insurance Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. I.8, s 258(1) and (2).

[4] Insurance Act, supra, s 258(3).