160,000 car accidents happen in Canada every year (according to The Star). This is a shocking number and ardent efforts are on to deescalate the number through awareness campaigns.
Car accidents can have a cataclysmic effect on the victim’s life. They may get off with minor injuries that cause minimal inconveniences. A fractured bone or a minor concussion may disrupt a person’s life for a few months but they will eventually get back up, completely healed. However, sometimes people are not so lucky. Sometimes the injuries they suffer incapacitate them for a very long time. And sometimes the injuries lead to semi-permanent or permanent disability. Sometimes accidents claim lives and bring unimaginable pain to their loved ones.
There are many blog posts that will tell you what you should do if you have been the victim of a road accident. But what happens when you are the perpetrator of the accident? What if you were at the wheel of the car that caused the personal injury? How would you know for sure that you were at fault and what should you do?
An at-fault accident is one that you were responsible for. It doesn’t matter that you did not mean for the accident to take place. You will be held accountable for the damages to a person or property caused by the accident.
How do you determine that you were at-fault? Here are a few scenarios where law enforcement officers and insurance companies will deem you to be responsible for an accident–
- Rear ending a car
This is one of the commonest causes of an at-fault accident. You ram your car into the back of another car causing damages to the other car and sometimes. If the force of the collision is intense, you might end up injuring the driver and/or occupants of the other car.
In certain cases, hitting the car ahead of you can cause it to veer into the opposite lane of traffic and lead to a pile-up of cars and extensive injuries.
In almost all cases of rear-ending, you are held accountable.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
Alcohol impairs the function of the cerebellum that is responsible for balance, eye movement, and coordination. You cannot judge distances and heights. That is why you feel dizzy when you have had one drink too many. And certainly, you are in no state to drive which requires you to be in complete charge of your motor skills.
In Ontario, the maximum permissible Blood Alcohol Concentration is 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood.
- Driving under the influence of drugs
Drugs have a similar effect on your brain as alcohol. They drastically slow down your reaction time and affect your hand-eye-leg coordination. Most drugs stay in your system for at least a couple of days. If you feel high and not completely in control of your movements, don’t drive.
- Driving while sleep-deprived
This is another very common cause of road accidents. Sleep-deprived people fall asleep at the wheel. Even a temporary lapse of wakefulness can be fatal not just for people around you but for yourself as well. People who stay up late into the night, work night-time shifts, or people who have been overworked have a hard time coping with their circadian rhythm, which controls their sleep-wake pattern. Besides, the monotony of driving can induce a hypnotic feeling. As a result, they feel sleepy at the wheel.
- Driving under the influence of medication
This is as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both combined. Medicines that are prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders or for depression such as benzodiazepines slow down the function of your central nervous system. That is why your brain and your limbs cannot communicate as fast as they are supposed to. Your senses are dulled. In some people, these medicines trigger drowsiness as well.
Benzodiazepines and similar medicines come with an advisory. Doctors repeatedly urge their patients to not drive when they are under medication.
- Not obeying traffic rules
This is another very common cause of road accidents. And it can happen in multiple ways. You may run a red light and crash your car into another. You may hit pedestrians crossing the road. If you are not using your indicators, other cars may crash into yours, and during the ensuing investigation, you will be considered at-fault. If you are speeding or trying to overtake another car and in the process injure another person, you will be held accountable.
- Texting when driving
A very modern menace that is especially common among the youth. Using Whatsapp or social media while driving means, you are using one hand and your attention is not on the road. And if you cause an accident while distracted, you can be sure that there will be plenty of witnesses lining up to give statements against you.
- Being on a call or being distracted when driving
If you are speaking to someone over the phone, then chances are you are not paying attention to driving. You may be a very experienced driver and may even be using a hands-free device, but this is an utterly irresponsible act and you will be shown no leniency if you do end up causing an accident.
In Ontario, it is illegal for a person to take a call while driving, even if you have stopped at a red light.
Sometimes people much on snacks or if they are in a hurry to eat their breakfast while driving. This can distract the person and cause an accident.
What should you do if you cause an accident?
When you are responsible for an accident, it is important that you do not do anything impulsive. Here is a guide to how you should conduct yourself after an at-fault accident-
- Do not flee from the scene. A hit and run accident is not only inhuman and cowardly but can go against you if the injured party takes it to court. It will increase your culpability and get you a higher punishment if you get caught.
- Do get out of your car and find out if the pedestrian or the occupants of the other car are all right. If necessary call 911. Stay with the injured person for as long as necessary.
- Share your car insurance information with the driver of the other car so that your insurer can hash out all the details and can get things sorted. The information you need to exchange included, policy number, name of the insurance company, phone number, and insurance carrier.
- Police will probably be arriving at the spot, cooperate with them completely, and do not protest or try to brush off culpability. If necessary, call the police and report the accident yourself.
- Inform your insurance provider right away. Be perfectly honest with them as well. You may be tempted to claim that you are not-at-fault because insurers can raise rates after an at-fault accident when it is time to renew your policy. However, the details of the accident will surface soon enough and it will become evident that you were lying. Collision coverage provided by your insurance policy will take care of any damages to your car. Liability insurance will pay for repairs to the other person’s car or any property that you may have damaged.
- If you as well as the other driver were both at-fault then if possible take photos of the scene and document everything. The other person may try to change their story or claim innocence.
However, if you were the victim of an accident and you have been denied the full extent of the settlement you deserve, you will have to get in touch with personal injury lawyers who will fight tooth and nail to win you the maximum compensation.
At Claim Settlement, our network of lawyers have 20 years of experience in handling personal injury and accident cases and has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Our initial consultations are absolutely free and you don’t pay until our networks of lawyers have procured you the compensation you deserve. If you have suffered an injury or been in an accident call us at 1-833-892-5246 for a free consultation or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org