As it was widely reported in the media, in September 2015 the Ontario Government updated its laws with respect to reporting collisions to the local police, Ontario Provincial Police or a local auto collision reporting centre. If the combined damage to the vehicles is less than $2,000 and there are no injuries, those involved in the accident are not required to report it to the police.
Prior to this update in the law, all Ontario drivers were required to report collisions to the police or collision reporting centres when accidents caused over $1,000 in damage and/or when the auto accident caused injuries to drivers, passengers or pedestrians. These changes bring Ontario in line with other provinces who have similar legislation and reflect the fact that auto repairs have significantly increased in value since that time.
Regardless of whether you are required to report the collision to the police, you are always required to report the collision to your auto insurer. Reporting all auto collisions to your insurer is required by all auto insurance policies in Ontario.
In addition to being required to by contract, it makes good sense to report all collisions to your own auto insurer. If you make an agreement to have the other driver pay for the cost of the damage and then they fail to do so, it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to enforce the agreement. Then you are stuck paying for the damage the other driver caused.
Similarly, while initially after the accident there may not have been any injuries or medical issues, many injuries such as whiplash, develop over time. You may risk your insurance coverage for medical treatment, wage losses and more by not reporting the accident if you develop whiplash and other injuries later.
Reporting an accident to the police and your insurer can be even more important when the accident is serious or where liability for an accident is not straight forward. In Gardiner v MacDonald, 2016 ONSC 602 (CanLII), the collision was very serious caused significant damage, serious injuries and several fatalities. A public transit driver was operating a bus and he T-boned an SUV driven by Mark MacDonald, which resulted in fatal injuries to three of its occupants, including, and catastrophic injuries to fourth passenger.
Several occupants were deceased and due to the severity of their injuries, the surviving passengers were unable to recall the details of the accident. As the accident was reported to the police in a timely manner, the courts were able to reply on GPS data, interviews at the scene of the accident and other hard evidence to determine liability for the accident.
In Brouwer v. Frankel, 2004 CanLII 66346 (ON SC), the Plaintiff, Ms. Brouwer’s car was damaged in an accident caused by the defendant, Mr. Frankel’s son in 2001. Mr. Frankel had agreed to pay for the costs of the repairs of Ms. Brouwer’s vehicle, which costs $2,750.53, so the accident would not be reported to his insurance company. Mr. Frankel only paid Ms. Brouwer $500 for the damages.
After three years, the Defendant still had not paid the costs of Ms. Brouwer’s vehicle repairs and she was out of pocket over $2,200 plus legal costs. The Defendant brought a motion to dismiss the action as the Insurance Act prohibits bringing claims against the other driver directly. As the father was not involved in the accident, the Plaintiff’s action was not prohibited. While the deputy judge allowed the action to proceed, it took over three years for the plaintiff to be fully reimbursed.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should speak with a trusted personal injury lawyer at our law firm right away. Our personal injury lawyers in Whitby and Oshawa can guide you through the process and ensure that you obtain the coverage you need.
At Kitchen Simeson Belliveau, we have lawyers with nearly 35 years of experience assisting injured accident victims to obtain fair compensation. Contact us at 905-579-5302 to schedule a free consultation on your case.