Getting into a car accident is stressful, regardless of how minor the accident may be. Even minor accidents can damage your vehicle and potentially lead to serious injuries.

If you’re in a fender bender while driving in Ontario, you must take specific steps to ensure you protect yourself and your legal rights. We'll help you navigate the ins and out of what to do when you're in a car accident in Ontario.

Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in Ontario?

The short answer is yes. According to Ontario law, you must report any car accident that involves any of the following

  • Combined damage exceeding $2,000
  • Any injury or death to involved drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians
  • Involves any suspected illegal activity, such as street racing or impaired driving
  • Involves an uninsured driver
  • Involves a cyclist or pedestrian
  • Involves a government vehicle
  • Any damages to private, public, or municipal property

Even if your accident meets none of these criteria, exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver is still a good idea. This can help protect you if the other driver claims personal injuries or damages later.

What Happens if You Don't Report a Car Accident in Ontario?

Failing to report an accident in Ontario can result in serious legal trouble. You can face fines of up to $2,000, licence suspension for up to two years, and even criminal charges and jail time if you‘re involved in a car accident and fail to report it. 

Reporting an accident is not only required by law, but it's also the responsible thing to do. You also risk having your insurance canceled or you may lose the ability to receive compensation for future injuries stemming from the accident.

What to do After a Car Accident in Ontario?

The most important thing to remember when in a car accident in Ontario is to stay calm and collected throughout the entire process. Accidents are stressful and overwhelming, but remaining calm helps ensure you take the proper steps and handle the situation effectively and efficiently.

You never want to plan on being in an accident, but you also want to be prepared if one happens. A big part of being prepared is periodically reviewing your insurance policy and understanding what accident benefits it includes and the coverages you have in the event of an accident. Knowing this before getting in an accident can help you make informed decisions and avoid any surprises down the road.

Now, let’s review the key steps in reporting a car accident in Ontario.

1. Move the Vehicles and Call the Police, if Needed

The first thing you do after a car accident in Ontario is move the vehicles to the side of the road if it’s possible and safe to do so. If one of the vehicles cannot move or is unsafe to move, leave it where it is until a tow truck arrives. 

If the accident is serious or meets any of the reporting requirements, call 911 and alert the police.

2. Never Admit Fault

Also, remember to stay calm and not admit fault, even if you feel you may be at fault. Admitting fault in an auto accident can reduce or even eliminate your chances of compensation for your damages or injuries.

3. Exchange Information and Speak With Witnesses

Next, speak with the other driver in the accident and exchange key information, including: 

  • Contact information
  • Driver’s licence numbers
  • Licence plate numbers
  • Insurance card and other insurance details
  • The other vehicle’s year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN)

You’ll need this information when you file a claim with your insurance company or pursue legal action.

If third-party witnesses of the accident — people with no relation to either driver — are present, request their contact information too. Eyewitness testimony may be crucial in proving fault and liability in an accident.

4. Gather Evidence

You’re not looking to play crash detective here, but you want to gather as much evidence at the scene of an accident as possible. Grab your cell phone and take as many pictures of the collision scene as possible. You may even want to record details via video. These pictures and videos should include: 

  • All cars involved and their damages
  • The vehicles’ original positions in the accident
  • Skid marks from the tires
  • Any property damages
  • Any traffic control road signs

If your vehicle has a dashboard camera, now’s also the time to upload ant footage to the cloud to avoid deletion. If your dash camera lacks cloud connectivity, make a note to transfer the file to your computer as soon as you get home.

5. Seek Care for Any Injuries

If you sustained an injury in the accident or suspect an injury, seek medical attention immediately. 

if you don’t notice any immediate injuries, this doesn’t mean you weren’t injured. Adrenaline and other factors can hide injuries in the heat of the moment. So, monitor your physical condition and seek medical attention if anything appears out of sorts or aches and pains arrive later. This will allow doctors to attribute any injuries that manifest later to the accident so you’re medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, income replacement, and other claims are covered in an insurance claim or lawsuit.

You don’t need to navigate this on your own. You can also contact a personal injury lawyer or a trusted insurance agent for help and free consultation.

6. Get a Copy of the Police Report ASAP

If the damages exceed $2,000, there was an injured person, or you suspect a motorist was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a motor vehicle accident, there may be criminal actions, so you’ll need to file a local police report.

If you do file a police report after a car accident in Ontario, you’ll want to get a copy of the police report ASAP. This document is the official accident record and could be valuable when filing an insurance claim or pursuing legal action.

Make sure to provide accurate and honest information to the police officer taking the report. Avoid making any statements that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault.

7. Contact Your Insurance Company

After gathering all the necessary information from the accident scene, immediately contact your insurance provider and get guidance and to file an insurance claim. Your insurer will help you through the claims process and get your vehicle repaired.

To file a claim, your insurance company will require the following items:

  • Your insurance policy number
  • Your vehicle’s make, model, year, registration and licence plate number
  • Driver’s name and driver’s licence number (if the driver was not the registered owner)
  • The date, time and location of the accident
  • The extent of any injuries
  • The number of passengers involved in the motor vehicle collision
  • The extent of damage to the vehicle
  • Details of the accident
  • Names and driver’s licence numbers of all drivers involved
  • Names of insurance companies and auto insurance policies of all drivers involved
  • The name and badge number of the investigating officer, if applicable

How do You Report a Car Accident in Ontario?

You must first determine the right accident reporting procedure — it will vary with the situation. If you met any of the requirements for a police report listed earlier, contact the police and emergency services to report it

If your traffic accident doesn’t qualify for an immediate police report, you can skip the call to the police and visit the nearest Collision Reporting Centre (CRC) within 24 hours of the accident. You must file the report at the Collision Reporting Centre in the city the accident occurred in. When reporting the accident, make sure to drive the vehicle involved in the accident or have a towing company towed to the collision centre.

The attending CRC officers will take all the information and evidence you collected and inspect the vehicle. They will note any findings in the police accident report form and give that report to all insurance companies involved.

Keep in mind, accident reporting centre officers do not determine fault. They may make suggestions and list findings. The insurance companies involved determine fault for insurance purposes according to Fault Determination Rules.

Who Pays the Deductible in a Car Accident in Ontario?

Whoever the insurance companies determine as the at-fault driver pays the car insurance deductible for all parties involved. However, if the insurers find multiple drivers share fault, they may split the deductible based on degree of fault.

For example, if the insurance companies determine you were 25% at fault and the other driver was 75%, you would pay 25% of all deductibles involved, and the other at-fault driver would pay 75%.

Clutch Can Help Get You Back on the Road After a Car Accident in Ontario

An automobile accident can leave you without a vehicle, especially if the accident was severe enough to cause your vehicle to be a total loss. Finding a new vehicle after a car accident in Ontario doesn’t need to add to the stress, and Clutch can help with that with its 100% online purchasing process.

You simply find your favourite vehicle in our expansive used-car inventory set up financing, provide us with some information, and we’ll deliver the vehicle to your home or work. It gets no easier than that. And you can rest assured you’re getting a quality used vehicle from Clutch, as they all endure a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process. Check out or used car inventory today and get back on the road hassle-free.