Road Traffic Accidents in Canada

Information on what to do when you have a road traffic accident: who to call and how to fill in the accident report document for insurance after a car crash...

Car insurance is required by law in Canada and all drivers must have third party liability insurance. The minimum amount of liability insurance in the country is $200,000, except in Quebec where it is $50,000.

Additionally, every province and territory in Canada (except Newfoundland and Labrador) requires drivers to have insurance coverage for their own medical expenses and any loss of income which may be incurred as a result of driving related injuries.

What to do at the scene of a minor traffic accident

Anyone involved in a traffic accident, no matter how minor, must stop at the scene. Failure to do so will result in a fine and penalty points.

If nobody is hurt and the damage to property is not significant and none of the drivers involved are thought to be guilty of a criminal offence such as drinking and driving, then it is not necessary to call the police.

However, it is advisable to:

  1. Prevent further damage to vehicles by moving them out of the flow of traffic and put on hazard lights, warning triangles or cones. Badly damaged vehicles cannot be abandoned without the insurer's consent.
  2. Take down the basic details of the accident, such as date and time, road conditions and approximate speed of the cars.
  3. Exchange contact details between drivers, passengers and witnesses.
  4. Take insurance details (name and contact details) from all drivers involved in the accident, as well as drivers' licence numbers and vehicle registration numbers.
  5. If possible, draw a rough sketch of the scene of the accident or take a photograph.
  6. File a report. This can be done by police officers who attend the scene. If the accident is considered to be minor and no police attend, it must be reported within 24 hours by those involved, to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre to where the accident occurred. If there is no Collision Reporting Centre it should be reported to the local police station.
  • The Insurance Bureau of Canada has an Accident Report Card Form to assist drivers involved in an accident.
  • For information on reporting an accident to a Collision Reporting Centre: Click here

What to do at the scene of a major traffic accident

In the event of a more serious traffic accident where somebody is hurt, the damage to vehicles is estimated at over $1,000 or any of the persons involved are suspected to be guilty of a criminal offence such as drinking and driving, the police must be called using 911. The police should also be informed if medical assistance is needed.

All those involved in the accident must wait at the scene until the police arrive. The police will take details about the accident. This information will be required to file an insurance claim.

Making a Claim

In the event of an accident or damage to a vehicle, the insured person must:

  1. Contact the car insurance company as soon as possible. Some companies specify that this must be done within seven days. By law, insurance companies must be informed about any collision that has been reported to the police, or that is going to be claimed for under the insurance policy.
  2. Provide the insurance company with all the necessary details. Most insurance policies require that a written declaration stating "proof of loss" must be made within 90 days of the accident.
  3. Wait until the insurance company has agreed to pay for repairs before going ahead with them. Some insurance companies have preferred repair shops.
  4. Get an official receipt for repairs, as this may be required by the insurance company to claim back any costs.

When making a claim against another driver, contact their insurance company personally and as quickly as possible (usually within seven days).

Further Information