Car accidents in Nova Scotia are never a pleasant experience. Not only will you be without your vehicle while it's being repaired, but you can also end up being even more of a hassle if your vehicle ends up a total loss, meaning it’ll cost more to repair than it’s worth.  

Amid the stress of a car accident, it can be easy to forget what to do if you're in a car accident in Nova Scotia to ensure everyone involved is safe and you have all the information you need. 

Below, we cover all the steps you need to take if you're in a car accident in Nova Scotia to protect you physically and financially.

What to Do if You're in a Car Accident in Nova Scotia?

If you're in a car accident in Nova Scotia or anywhere else in Canada, it's critical to adhere to both provincial and national law, but you must also protect yourself and your best interests. Follow these eight steps if you ever find yourself in a fender bender in Nova Scotia. 

1. Stay at the Scene of the Accident

It should go without saying, but it's key to remain at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident before exchanging information with the other driver or drivers involved could be viewed as a hit and run, which can get you into legal issues. 

2. Keep You and Others Involved Safe

In the case of a minor motor vehicle accident with no injuries and the vehicles are still movable, pull the vehicles off the roadway and clear of traffic. Before moving the vehicles, take several pictures of the accident scene. If possible, activate the vehicle's hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic of the stopped vehicles.

If the vehicles are not movable, call 911 for police assistance. The police can close down the travel lane where the accident was to avoid any other drivers from hitting one of the stopped vehicles. The police can also communicate with a tow truck to get the vehicles removed from the roadway.

If there appear to be any injuries — minor injuries, serious injuries, or fatal injuries — don't attempt to move the injured person and advise them to remain in the vehicle until medical help arrives. Call 911 to request medical and police assistance.  

3. Exchange Car Insurance Information

Get with the other driver and exchange car insurance information. If you have a smartphone, take a picture of the automobile insurance information and the vehicle's registration. If you don't have a smartphone, write the car insurance company's name, phone number, and address down with a paper and pen. Also note the other motorist's full name and car insurance policy number. 

Other information to exchange after a car accident includes: 

  • Home address
  • Best contact phone number
  • License plate number

4. Keep Conversation Limited

After a car accident, it may seem polite to apologize, but the insurance company can use this against you to indicate fault. So, while it's fine to make sure the other driver and their passengers are OK, keep the rest of the conversation limited. 

If you feel the other driver was at fault, ask them what happened. This may get them talking and revealing information you can later give your insurance company to establish fault. 

5. File a Police Report

While you may not need the police at the scene, you should still contact them as soon as it’s feasible to file a report. In fact, Nova Scotia law requires you to file a police report if the accident involves injuries or over $2,000 in property damage

Because it may be hard to estimate the damage costs, it may be in your best interest to file a report no matter what. This ensures you cover your bases in case the costs exceed the $2,000 threshold. 

6. Call Your Lender to Determine Your Car's Payoff Amount

If your car's financed and you fear the damage may result in the insurance deeming it a total loss -- the repairs will cost more than the car's worth -- call your loan company to determine the car's payoff amount. 

This will give you a head start in determining if you need to find a way to pay the balance of the loan off or pay to have the vehicle fixed yourself and convert it to a salvage title

If you have guaranteed auto protection (GAP) insurance and feel your vehicle may be a total loss, contact your GAP insurer to find out how to submit a claim and the information the company needs.

7. Contact Your Insurance Company

Within 24 hours of the accident, contact your insurer to file a car accident claim and share your recollection of the incident. Also, provide your insurance company with the other driver's information: insurance details, name, address, phone number, driver's license number, type of vehicle, etc. 

Also, share any evidence you have of the other driver's fault, such as witnesses' contact information, dash camera footage, etc. 

Do not contact the other driver's motor vehicle insurance company or give it any statements if the company calls you. The other driver's insurance company could use any information you give it to deem you at fault and disqualify you from accident benefits. If an insurance adjuster calls you from the other motorist's auto insurance company, refer the caller to your insurance company.

8. See Your Doctor

You may feel fine immediately following an accident, but some injuries, such as brain injuries or whiplash, may not be immediately evident. It's best to visit your doctor and have them check you for signs of injury. 

Failure to do so immediately could disqualify you from a potential personal injury claim if you run into issues days or weeks after the accident. 

9. Document Everything

Throughout the entire process, keep clear notes of all the key details at every step. Starting with the description of the accident to any admissions the other motorist made to your doctor's findings in an exam. This will ensure you can always give the insurance company or police the correct details later. 

If your story changes slightly every time you tell it, this could arouse suspicion that you're hiding something and may be at fault. 

Eliminate Potential Stress and Protect Your Investment With GAP Insurance

At Clutch, we hope you never have to worry about needing to use GAP insurance. However, just in case you do, it's available on all pre-owned Clutch vehicles

When you purchase any of our quality pre-owned vehicles, we'll look over your loan and determine if GAP insurance is right for you. If so, we'll offer you a policy that'll cover the difference between the vehicle's value and your loan balance if the vehicle is deemed a total loss due to an accident or theft. 

If our analysis determines GAP insurance won't be helpful in your case, our no-pressure non-commissioned sales team won't offer it to you. We only offer you what you need and will never pressure you into any purchase that's not to your benefit.