How to Write an Accident Report
No one can claim to be adequately prepared for an accident, at least not emotionally. Auto accidents happen fast, and the entire process, from the collision to preparing the report, can be a bit blurry. It may also be your first incident to involve you directly with the police which can add to the stress. Depending on the assessment of the law enforcement, an accident can be considered to be a traffic act violation, or a criminal offense. Despite doing their own investigations, the police and insurance require you to provide a report of the accident.
So, what if you were the one at fault? Won’t the report incriminate you once you are charged?
Basically, the report is just an account of events pertaining to the accident; and is not admissible in a criminal investigation because Canadian law does not require you to “incriminate” yourself when providing relevant information to the police. The Supreme Court of Canada requires drivers to cooperate with law enforcement by giving a statement, though it cannot be used against you in a criminal trial. As such, you should provide a good accident report that will provide your insurer with a good basis to handle your claim, and also protect you in the event of legal problems that arise from the auto accident.
The following are useful tips regarding the filing an accident report:
1. Always file a police report, even when the accident seems minor. This is to
protect yourself from injuries or damage that may not be evident at the time of the accident.
2. Offer detailed and truthful information: you will probably be a little startled right after the accident, and that feeling of vulnerability may get you worried about getting in to more trouble. Despite this instinctive reaction, it is not advisable to lie to the officer as it may prolong the claims process, or even land you in jail.
3. Gather as much information as you can while still at the scene: you can write down some information as you wait for the authorities to arrive, like the make, model and plate number of vehicles involved; full name, contact information, license number, insurance provider and policy number of the drivers involved; details on how the collision occurred; ; extend of damage on the vehicle; names and contact information of witnesses; description of the accident scene; condition of your injuries; names and bade numbers of the responding officers; towing information; and ambulance information.
4. Take pictures: considering your emotional state, it is unlikely that you will be able to recall the tiny details. So, write down as much as you can, and take pictures of the damaged vehicles, skid marks, injuries, and contributing factors, like blocked traffic signs.
With those helpful tips in mind, you should be able to write a clear and helpful accident report which will make the police and insurance company's jobs much easier. Remember