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What to do first if you’ve been involved in a car accident

A step by step guide
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If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need to follow the right procedure to ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve and the treatment you need. To that end, we reached out to Personal Injury lawyers, Dietrich Law, to put together a step-by-step guide on what to do if you’ve been involved in a car accident in Guelph:

  1. Contact the police to report the collision and take photos of the vehicles and anything at the collision scene that may have caused or contributed to the collision (for example, other vehicles, or a very icy roadway).
  2. Seek medical attention and follow the advice given to you by medical professionals.
  3. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you need to notify your own insurance company within 30 days of the date of the collision. Otherwise the insurer can take (much) longer to process the extensive and complicated application— and it might affect how much you recover from the driver who is at fault.
  4. Always make sure you write down and hold on to the name, address and phone number of anyone who witnessed the incident. This isn’t always easy to do, but witnesses can play an important role in the resolution of your case.
  5. Record all trips to health care providers such as the emergency department or your family doctor.
  6. If you were hit by a drunk driver, see a lawyer immediately. In some cases, there may be other defendants, for example, and that can significantly affect your recovery.
  7. If you think there was a roadway defect, you must give written notice to the appropriate party within 10 days. Remember: if anything other than a car was involved in the crash that may affect your recovery significantly. Any delay in the investigation will complicate your case.
  8. If you think there was a defect in the brakes of your car, your seatbelt, or anything else that contributed to the collision or your injuries, be sure to provide the insurer or insurers an adequate opportunity to inspect the alleged defect before getting it repaired or before your damaged car is taken away or destroyed.
  9. Although you have two years to sue, you must send out certain documents within 120 days of the collision. Missing the 120-day document deadline may affect what you are able to recover in a lawsuit.
  10. Missing the limitation of two (2) years to sue for your damages will in most cases extinguish your right of recovery. There are discoverability exceptions in the law, but you will need to consult a personal injury lawyer to make that determination.

“If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s really important that you meet all of the necessary guidelines and follow established best practices in order to maximize your recovery in a timely manner,” says George Dietrich, principle partner at Dietrich Law. “Of course, it’s a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in representing collision victims early in the process, but you should also be aware of those steps that occur right after the accident, such as documenting witnesses, and expenses and contacting your insurance company.”

For more information on what to do if you’ve been in an auto accident, you can visit Dietrich Law’s website or contact them directly at 519-824-8880.