There are several things you should do after you’ve been in a car accident and some of them are time sensitive. It’s better to deal with a few forms and calls now than try to clean up a mess later!

Here are a few things you should take care of within the first week following an accident:

  1. See a doctor – If you need emergency care, go the hospital. If not, it is best to go to your family physician. Explain to him or her all of your injuries. If they place you off work or prescribe treatments or medication, it is for your own health, so be sure to follow the advice they give you. Have a look at the post “How to take care of yourself after a car accident”.
  2. Communicate with your employer – If you have been placed off work or given restrictions by your doctor, make sure to let your employer know what’s going on. Provide doctors’ notes and explain the situation. If your job is physically strenuous, it is ok to ask for lighter work or help from coworkers.
  3. Contact a lawyer – The internet is great for little bits of information, but only a lawyer can explain your rights and give advice about your particular situation. Lawyers are well versed in your rights and obligations following an accident and know things you may never think to look for on Google. Hiring a lawyer to help will save you time and stress. They also often offer free consultations. Do not hesitate to ask your prospective lawyer about his or her experience in the field of personal injury and insurance claims. Read more about “Finding a lawyer after a car accident”.
  4. Open a claim with your insurance company – Your car insurance includes coverage for things like physiotherapy, medication, and lost wages, among others. As the insured, you have a duty to notify your insurance company within 30 days of your accident if you intend to make a claim. For more information on this topic, check out “What you need to know about your insurance company”.
  5. Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company – They may seem friendly and simply ask for a statement or offer to help, but the other driver’s insurance company is not your friend. You should refer the adjuster to your lawyer if you have one already, or let him or her know that you intend to hire one. For more information, read “What you need to know about the other driver’s insurance company”.
  6. Open a claim with EI – Employment insurance sick benefits are available for 15 weeks following an accident that prevents you from working for longer than 2 weeks. Get the ball rolling by calling Service Canada at : 1-800-206-7218.
  7. Open claims with your other insurers – If you have short term disability or private health insurance, you should open claims with them as well. In the case of health insurance, you are required to use it before your car insurance will kick in for treatments and medications.
  8. Keep receipts – Each insurer works differently so you may have to pay up front for treatments and send in receipts for reimbursement. In addition, any expenses you incur as a result of your injuries, like snow removal or housekeeping services, can be claimed against the other driver when the time comes. This type of claim is not immediate, so receipts are especially useful for keeping track of what you have paid out of pocket.

If you are injured, focusing on getting better should be your main priority, but don’t forget to look after these other things or it could cause problems down the road. Many of these things can even be done with help from a friend or family member. The most important thing is to take care of these things quickly because some rights can be lost if you wait too long, and that is the last thing you want to deal with! Have a look at “Important time limits following a car accident”.