How to report a car accident in Alberta
After an accident many drivers aren’t certain what they should do or if it’s necessary to involve the police. Reporting an accident to the police is required in Alberta when a few basic circumstances exist at the scene of the accident. In some cases, you will need to call 911 immediately, while in others the report can be made once the accident scene is dealt with. In all situations, accidents should be reported to your insurance company.
When to call 911
There are two main circumstances under which you should call emergency services via 911 after an accident. Police must be dispatched to the scene of an accident when the following conditions exist:
- There has been a serious injury or fatality.
- A driver involved in the accident appears to be in violation of the Criminal Code, such as signs of intoxication.
While these are the cases in which you must call for immediate police assistance, there are other circumstances in which making a report to the police is necessary.
Making a police report
A police report must be filed in certain circumstances following a collision in Alberta. If any one of the following situations exists, you should call the police to attend the scene of the accident:
- Any vehicle involved is not drivable
- Any driver fails to produce proof of insurance or of a driver’s licence
- You see signs of intoxication in a driver
You should make a police report at your local police station after the accident has been dealt with, but don’t need the police to come to the scene, in any case where:
- There is any injury, even minor
- There appears to be $2,000 or more in damage
If you aren't sure how much the damage is, and whether it meets the $2,000 threshold, you can obtain an estimate first. Bear in mind that Alberta law prohibits any auto repair shop from making repairs on a car with damage in excess of $2,000 unless it has a sticker indicating that the accident has been reported to the police. If you aren't sure about the damage amount but suspect it’s close to the $2,000 mark, you should file a report. Go to the nearest police station and file a Collision Report Form.
Reporting a hit-and-run accident
Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and such drivers will face criminal charges. If your car has been struck and the driver leaves without making an effort to exchange information with you, you should report the accident to the police. If possible, record the make, model, and licence plate number of the other vehicle. If your car has been struck when parked and no note is left, report the incident to police right away.
In the case of a hit and run, you will be expected to pay your car insurance deductible if you file a claim. But your car insurance rate shouldn’t increase if you’re found to be not at fault.
Reporting an accident to your insurance company
The terms of your insurance policy require you to report any accident you are involved in to the insurance company as soon as possible; failure to do so could have consequences for your claim.
Filing a police report does not mean your insurance company will be notified; it is up to you to contact the insurance company to file a claim. The police report will be used in the insurance company’s investigation, but they will require their own statement from you and may ask to see the car as well.
To report an accident to your insurance company, you can call your agent or broker or a claims hotline, which many insurance companies offer 24 hours a day. Look on your insurance card for information about what to do after an accident; if there is no information, call your insurance company’s customer service line to be directed.
Your insurance company will take your report and assign an adjuster who will investigate the claim and handle all the communication with the other driver’s insurance company.
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