The Hamilton Spectator

I was involved in a car accident in Hamilton. Do I have to report the accident to my insurance company or the police?


Answer: Whether you have been involved in a fender bender or a more serious collision, there are two types of reports you may be required to file: a report to your insurance company and a police report.

Under the laws of Ontario, you must report your accident to your insurance company if the following situations apply:

• The combined damage between all vehicles involved is greater than $2000;

• The accident results in injuries or death;

• An involved driver does not have insurance;

• The accident involves a criminal act (i.e., impaired driving, stolen vehicle);

• A pedestrian or cyclist is involved;

• Damage has occurred to municipal or private property;

• A government­al vehicle is involved; or • A vehicle transporti­ng dangerous/ hazardous goods is involved.

Other requiremen­ts for reporting an accident to your insurance company may vary based on your provider or your specific policy. Some insurance policies require drivers to report accidents no matter the severity or extent of the damage.

It is advisable to report all accidents to your insurance provider to avoid the potential risks associated with not reporting (discoverin­g more severe injuries or vehicle damage).

Sometimes you have the option of reporting your accident to your insurance company but still paying for damages out of pocket (to avoid premium increases).

You should always report your accident to the police to ensure you have fulfilled your obligation­s. Once you have notified the police, a decision will be made as to whether they will conduct an investigat­ion. In cases of a minor accident, the 911 operator will refer you to a Collision Reporting Centre to report your accident in person.

If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer who is knowledgea­ble about motor vehicle accident claims to protect your rights.

Anandi Naipaul is a partner and personal injury lawyer at Ross & McBride. Anandi works exclusivel­y on behalf of injured people and their families to ensure they receive the best possible outcome after an accident. She fights for the rights of her clients in a wide spectrum of cases, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, catastroph­ic impairment, disability insurance, wrongful death, and medical malpractic­e.

The advice offered in this advertoria­l column is for informatio­nal purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute legal or other profession­al advice.

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