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What to Do If You’re Hit by a Car in Canada?

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 20 Sep 2023

Hit by a Car

    Unfortunately, collisions between cars and other vehicles and people occur frequently on Canadian roads. If you get hit by a car and wonder what to do next, this article guides you through the process. This applies whether you get hit by a car as a pedestrian or a driver. 

    Ultimately, you will take immediate steps after a collision, navigate the aftermath, then deal with insurance companies. By understanding your rights and responsibilities, you’ll get back on your feet after getting hit by a car in Canada.

    Immediate Steps to Take After a Car Collision

    After getting hit by a car, you may go into a state of disbelief. Despite this shock, you need to clear your head. In the moments immediately following a collision, taking specific steps ensures your safety and protects your legal rights.

    Canadians have 160,000 car accidents each year, with 1,768 fatalities and 8,185 injuries in 2021 alone. Most of these crashes arise from human error and driving too fast. This costs almost $10 billion annually – one percent of Canada’s annual Gross Domestic Product – in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

    Car collisions can easily overwhelm you. Yet, knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath can make a significant difference. By following the right steps, you gather necessary information, and set up the next steps to end with success.

    Ensuring Personal Safety

    The first and most important step is to ensure your safety and the safety of others involved. After a collision, assess the situation to determine if you should remain in your vehicle or move to a safer location.

    If possible, move away from traffic and find a safe spot to wait for help. This could be on the side of the road, a nearby sidewalk or any other area away from oncoming vehicles. By doing so, you reduce the risk of further collisions or injuries.

    Next, check yourself and others for any injuries. If you or anyone else gets seriously injured, call emergency services immediately. Even if injuries seem minor, seek out medical attention as some injuries appear inconsequential but can worsen over time.

    Reporting the Incident to Authorities

    After ensuring everyone’s safety, report the collision to the police. Reporting the incident to the authorities matters for several reasons.

    Firstly, it helps create an official record of the incident. This record helps when dealing with car insurance companies or pursuing legal action. It provides an objective account of what happened, making it easier to establish fault and determine liability.

    Secondly, reporting the collision ensures that law enforcement can respond appropriately. They can assess the scene, gather evidence and document any necessary information. This aids in resolving any disputes or conflicting accounts of the collision.

    Evidently, reporting requirements vary by province. In some jurisdictions, only collisions involving injuries or damage of $1,000 or more need a report. In others, police must learn of any collision, regardless of severity, within a specific time frame.

    Failure to report the collision within the required timeframe can have legal consequences. Therefore, make sure you know the reporting requirements in your province. Contact your local law enforcement agency or consult your province’s motor vehicle department for specific guidelines.

    Province or territoryReporting requirement
    British ColumbiaNotify the police within 24 hours (or 48 hours in rural areas) if damages exceed $1,000. Inform the Insurance Corporation of B.C. within 30 days and submit a CL22 accident claim form within 90 days.
    AlbertaContact police when there are any injuries, damage exceeds $2,000 or you’ve experienced a hit and run. Reach out to your insurer within 7 days if you need your vehicle repaired or replaced, 30 days if not.
    SaskatchewanOnly call police if any vehicle becomes undriveable or a person gets injured; fill out an online form with Saskatchewan Government Insurance as soon as possible, unless a person gets injured or only the windshield has damage
    ManitobaInform police within seven days in the case of an unlicensed driver, unregistered or unidentified vehicles, lack of details from the other party, suspected use of drugs or alcohol. Contact Manitoba Public Insurance within a week as well.
    OntarioContact the police within 24 hours. Alert your insurance companies within 7 days
    QuebecOnly call police if a person gets injured or you want a report to detail any damages. Do so within 48 hours. For insurance, file an online claim with the SAAQ as soon as possible. You have three years to file for compensation.
    Newfoundland and LabradorFile an online report with the RCMP if the combined damage exceeds $2,000. Contact your insurer within 120 days.
    New BrunswickOnly contact police if the damage exceeds $1,000. Contact your insurer within 72 hours.
    Nova ScotiaInform police and insurers within 24 hours; file a police report for damage over $2,000.
    Prince Edward IslandContact police immediately if the damage exceeds $2,000. Fill out this insurance form as soon as possible.
    YukonCall police as soon as possible then damage exceeds $1,000. Tell your insurer within 72 hours.
    NunavutContact the police right away, regardless of the damage. Phone your insurer within 72 hours.
    Northwest TerritoriesCall police if the damage exceeds $2,000. Contact your insurer within 72 hours.

    When reporting the collision, provide as much detail as possible. This includes:

    • Date 
    • Time
    • Location
    • Description of what happened
    • Injuries or damages sustained
    • Witnesses’ contact information 

    Remember, reporting the collision does not equal an admission of guilt or liability. It simply marks a necessary step to protect your rights and ensure a proper investigation takes place.

    Navigating the Aftermath of a Car collision

    The aftermath of a car collision can overwhelm and stress you out. However, taking certain steps can smooth out the process ahead.

    Seeking medical attention should become your top priority, even if you don’t feel immediate pain or notice any visible injuries. As previously mentioned, some injuries may not show symptoms right away but could have long-term effects. By seeking care promptly, you allow for a proper assessment of your condition and treatment, if required.

    Once you have taken care of your health, document the car collision thoroughly. This documentation will play a crucial role in the aftermath of the collision. Take photos of the scene, including any damage to vehicles, skid marks, road conditions and traffic signs or signals. These photos can serve as valuable evidence later when dealing with insurance companies or if legal action becomes necessary. Additionally, collect the contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Their statements may prove vital in determining fault and liability.

    After documenting the incident, notify your insurance company. Contact them as soon as possible to report the collision and provide them with all the necessary details. Prepare yourself to answer questions about the collision, such as the date, time, location, and a description of what happened. An honest and accurate account will expedite the claims process.

    While dealing with insurance companies, remember that these businesses aim to minimize their financial liability. If you meet with reluctance, turn to a legal professional. An experienced car collision attorney can guide you through the process and protect your rights. This person can help negotiate with insurance companies, gather evidence and represent your interests if the case goes to court.

    Furthermore, keep track of all the expenses related to the car collision. This includes medical bills, vehicle repairs, rental car costs and any other out-of-pocket expenses. Having a detailed record of these expenses helps accurately calculate the damages you have suffered so you get adequately compensated.

    Finally, take care of your emotional well-being during this challenging time. Car collisions can create traumatic experiences, so it’s normal to feel anxious, or even depressed. Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for the support you need. Taking care of your mental health matters just as much as taking care of your physical health.

    What to Do as a Pedestrian or a Cyclist

    Fallout from collisions doesn’t just apply to other car drivers. If you get hit on the road, you can also suffer loss and damages while on foot or riding a bike.

    Out of Canada’s fatalities and injuries in 2021, 16 percent of those befell pedestrians. Motorcyclists closely follow at 13.5 percent with cyclists at 3.5 percent. If a pedestrian gets hit at a speed over 30 km/h, the survival rate drops to 10 percent. Naturally, the risk of injury is very high.

    First, don’t assume the driver caused the collision. In many cases, a pedestrian carries half the responsibility for crossing at the wrong time or place. Therefore, document what happened just as diligently as if you were in a car. Further, take offers of help to get a ride from the scene. You may have an injury that has yet to show up, so don’t take any chances and try to walk

    If your bike or motorcycle has a run-in with a car, you can make a claim for automobile insurance benefits. These benefits can cover medical care, rehabilitation, lost income and caregiver fees. If you have your own insurance, it will fund these benefits if you’re injured in an accident. Given the value of bikes and motorcycles, you will want to seek a claim for its repairs as well.

    Dealing with Insurance Companies

    Afterward, you need to file a claim with your insurance company to seek compensation for any damages or injuries. Understanding how to navigate this process can help ensure a fair outcome, especially if your car gets totaled.

    Filing an Insurance Claim

    When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, be proactive. Reach out to your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate the claims process. The sooner you start, the sooner you can receive the compensation you deserve. Provide them with all the necessary details, including a description of the collision with photographs. This way, you help your insurance company assess the situation accurately and efficiently.

    Crucially, provide a statement describing the sequence of events leading up to the collision. This statement should truthfully reflect what happened, as any inconsistencies or false information could jeopardize your claim. Take the time to gather your thoughts and write down a clear and concise account of each step. This will help you articulate your version of events when speaking with your insurance company.

    Once you have filed your claim, stay in regular communication with your insurance company. Keep track of all correspondence, including emails and phone calls, to serve as a record of your interactions. If any new information changes your claim, inform your insurance company promptly.

    During the claims process, your insurance company may request additional documentation or evidence. Be prepared to provide any necessary documents, such as medical records, repair estimates or police reports. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your case will stand.

    Understanding Your Insurance Coverage

    Understanding your car insurance policy and coverage enlightens you when dealing with a collision. Review your policy to determine the specific coverage you have and the limits that may apply. This knowledge will help you navigate discussions with your insurance company so you receive the compensation you deserve.

    Take the time to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your policy. This includes any deductibles, exclusions or limitations that may impact your claim. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a policyholder will empower you during this process.

    Watch for any deadlines or time limits that may apply to your claim. Insurance policies often have specific time frames for reporting a collision or filing a claim. Failing to meet these deadlines could result in a denial of your claim. Stay organized and keep track of important dates so you meet all necessary requirements.

    Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification from your insurance company. When dealing with complex insurance issues, you may have doubts or concerns. Your insurance company should provide you with the guidance and support you need throughout the claims process.

    Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities in the aftermath of a collision protects you and ensures a fair outcome.

    As a collision victim, you have legal rights to compensation for damages, injuries and other losses resulting from the collision. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process more effectively.

    Also, if your insurance company disagrees on the level of settlement, you have another avenue for recourse. If your insurer refuses to revise their decision, contact your insurance company’s complaint officer.

    Alongside rights, collision victims have legal responsibilities to fulfill. You must cooperate with the authorities and your insurance company, providing accurate information and documentation as required. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities can impact your ability to seek compensation.

    Settlement Expectations

    So, what can you expect in terms of a typical settlement after a collision in Canada? That depends on a few factors, such as injury severity or time off work. Ontario, for example, has three levels of no-fault accident benefits, and each has a different limit on medical and rehabilitative care.

    Level of injuryNo-fault benefits
    Minor up to $3,500
    Non-catastrophicup to $65,000
    Catastrophic impairmentup to $1 million
    Maximum allowed by Supreme Court of Canada for pain and suffering (non-pecuniary damages)$350,000

    Further, to limit clogging up the courts with small claims, Ontario has set its statutory deductible threshold at $44,367.24 for 2023.

    On top of these amounts, collision survivors may claim benefits for income replacement, a non-earning period or caregiver costs. Check your policy to see if you have other options to supplement your payout.

    What to Do If You’re Hit by a Car in Canada?: The Bottom Line

    Being involved in a car collision can lead to a stressful and often traumatic experience. However, understanding the appropriate steps to take can help alleviate some of the stress and reach a better result. From taking immediate steps to navigating the aftermath, following this guide will empower you to handle such situations effectively. 

    Remember, seeking legal and medical help when needed always helps, as these professionals can provide guidance tailored to your situation. Stay safe and informed on the road!

    FAQs About Being Hit By a Car in Canada

    Can a pedestrian sue if hit by a car in Canada?

    If the collision occurred due to driver negligence, a pedestrian can sue the driver and their insurer for damages. When filing a lawsuit, include all your damages after an accident. This includes pain and suffering, medical expenses, missed wages, future health care and loss of earnings.

    Can I make a car insurance claim if I got hit by a car in Canada?

    To make a car insurance claim after getting hit by a car in Canada, you need collision or upset coverage. It helps to have “all perils coverage” for hit and runs. In Alberta, your comprehensive coverage applies in this situation. These types of coverage options will take care of any physical damages to your vehicle, after you pay your deductible.

    What are the chances of being hit by a car in Canada?

    In 2021 (the most recent statistics available), Canadians had 1,630 fatal collisions and 77,933 crashes with injuries. Of those, 1,768 people died, 8,185 had serious injuries while 108,018 bore injuries. With a population of 38.25 million that year, one in 324 Canadians felt the impact of a collision.

    What should one do after getting hit by a car in Canada?

    First, get to safety so no one suffers further injury or damage. Contact police if your car has adequate damage or if a person gets injured. After documenting the scene, call your insurance company to file a claim. In British Columbia, New Brunswick and Yukon, call police after a crash that causes $1,000 or more in damages. The cutoff stands at $2,000 in Alberta, Nova Scotia, PEI and Northwest Territories. In Ontario and other provinces, involve the police if you want an accident report to verify the facts of a collision.

    How many people get hit by cars each year in Canada?

    In 2021, 280 pedestrians got struck by cars in Canada. That number declined from a recent high of 338 in 2018. 

    What does getting hit by a car feel like? 

    The experience of getting hit by a car can vary significantly. Each person’s reality depends on the speed of the car, the angle of impact and the individual’s physical condition. People who have been hit by a car often describe a sudden, intense shock followed by pain. The force of impact can temporarily disorient a person or even cause loss of consciousness. Emotional responses can include fear, confusion or even a feeling of surreal detachment. Naturally, adrenaline and other stress hormones may also flood the system, which can temporarily mask pain or injury until later. Afterward, you may experience emotional trauma that leads to depression so plan to treat those symptoms as well.

    How can one survive getting hit by a car? 

    To survive getting hit by a car, try these strategies. Using crosswalks and making eye contact with drivers can serve as preventive measures. If you cannot avoid getting hit, try to roll onto the hood of the car rather than taking the impact squarely. This can distribute the force more evenly and possibly reduce injury. Seek immediate medical attention even if you feel okay initially; some injuries, like internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent. 

    Why do shoes fly off when hit by a car? 

    When a person gets hit by a car, the force exerted upon impact can cause their shoes to fly off. This happens due to the sudden acceleration and the mechanics of how the shoe is attached to the foot. The foot and shoe are momentarily subjected to different forces. For instance, the foot stays in place due to friction or gets stopped by an object. Meanwhile, the shoe, which is less securely attached, continues to move, propelled by the force of the collision. This contrast in forces can cause the shoe to be pulled or knocked off the foot and sent flying.

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    Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications