As an Ontario resident that has just been involved in a motor vehicle crash in the United States, there are some important steps you should take immediately to preserve your rights. By following these initial steps, you will be in a much better position to successfully claim for your injuries and losses.
First, call the police and get an accident report prepared by a police officer. Sometimes when travelling abroad, there may be uncertainty as to whether or not you need a police report. In some cases, the other driver, who is likely from the city or state where the accident occurred, might suggest that the police do not need to be called, offering instead to exchange drivers license and insurance information. The other driver may even verbally admit fault for the accident, and apologize to you at the scene of the crash. Although it might seem reasonable to forego calling the police after a seemingly minor collision, the consequences can be significant. Insist on having the accident reported to the police. Failure to obtain a police report will often be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company and their lawyers to deny or minimize your claim. The insurance company will take advantage of the fact that there is no police report, and may dispute fault for the accident even if their insured driver was apologetic or admitted fault at the scene. Motor vehicle accidents in the United States should always be reported to the police.
Second, get examined by a healthcare professional if you feel that you have sustained any injuries in the accident, no matter how minor they may appear. If an ambulance attends the accident scene and offers to transport you to hospital, accept the ambulance ride and go to the hospital. Injuries, including serious injuries, may not always be apparent in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. The stress and adrenaline from the situation may mask the pain and conceal serious injuries. Additionally, your failure to seek medical attention following an accident, will most certainly be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company. They will argue that your injuries are not serious or were not caused by the accident, otherwise you would have immediately gone to the hospital.
Third, when you are released from the hospital, contact a personal injury lawyer with experience helping Canadians injured in the United States. Claims on behalf of Ontario residents injured in the United States present unique and challenging circumstances. These claims involve issues and questions surrounding the insurance coverage, choice of law, and venue, among other things. It is important to get advice as soon as possible so that you can make informed decisions and protect your rights. Your lawyer will provide you with additional, confidential, advice on the steps you should take in order to help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
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Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death in Canada and the United States. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".
Andrew Iacobelli is a lawyer, licensed to practice law in Florida, Michigan and Ontario. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of individuals that have been seriously injured.