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How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Alberta?

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Alberta Featured Image

When you get into a car accident you incur certain obligations. One of those obligations is that you will report that accident properly.

There are two types of reports you’ll have to make. The very first report you’ll make is to the police. The second one you’ll make is to your insurance company.

If you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit you’ll be bound by other deadlines as well. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

How long do you have to report an accident to the police?

The first thing you must do after an accident is try to get the cars to a safe place. If you can’t, put on your emergency lights and call the police immediately if you think the damage exceeds $2000.

Since most of us aren’t auto damage appraisers it’s usually best to call the police if you suspect there’s been any damage of any kind.

In addition, if there has been any injury of any kind you’re supposed to call the police. Since an injury like whiplash won’t even manifest itself until a day or so later we recommend just calling the police regardless for almost every accident.

You should also call the police if you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, if you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, or if you suspect the other driver was committing a crime at the time of the accident. 

You always have the option to file a report. There is no penalty for filing a police report even if you didn’t necessarily need to do so. This is why we tend to recommend filing a report regardless of whether or not you think you would otherwise have to. 

How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance? 

In Alberta, you must report your accident to your insurance company within thirty days of the accident.Other provinces have other time requirements. 

We recommend obtaining a personal injury lawyer prior to doing so. When you do this, you allow us to handle your insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurance company.

Your own insurance company can become a problem in the event that they end up required to offer some sort of payout. 

You can hire a personal injury lawyer at any time, even if it’s one hour after the accident and you’re still laid up in your hospital bed. Doing so can save you time, money, and hassles, and can strengthen your case. 

How long do you have to file a personal injury claim in Alberta?

It depends.

In a normal car accident case where both parties carry car insurance then you’d have two years, though we recommend filing your claim a lot faster. There’s no particular benefit to waiting and it can even weaken your case as evidence disappears.

If you got into an accident with an uninsured driver then you may need to file an MVAC claim. That means you need to get your lawsuit filed within 90 days of your accident. That’s not a lot of time, so it will be imperative for you to connect with a lawyer as a first priority just as quickly as you possibly can after your accident. You should also co-operate the insurance company for car accident insurance claims.

What should you avoid when reporting an Alberta auto accident?

Avoid saying anything which might indicate that you’re taking responsibility for the accident. Sometimes people have the impulse to apologize whether they were at-fault or not. It’s a very human thing to do, but it can lead to you being assigned the greater percentage of fault or be used against you later.

You should also avoid words like “I’m okay,” since this, too, can be used against you later. Get medical attention no matter what. 

How to Get a Copy of Your Police Report

You should get a copy of the police report while you are at the scene. While the police report assessment will not be the sole source of information used to make determinations about fault during your personal injury case, you can rest assured that it will serve as a vital piece of evidence.

If you have the police report number you can get a copy of your police report at any time by visiting  

What are the consequences of failing to report an automobile accident?

Did you know that failing to report an accident to the police is actually a crime? You can be fined up to $2,000 and spend up to 6 months in jail. You also get 7 demerit points added to your Alberta driving record. 

Don’t do it!
If you fail to report the accident to your insurance company in a timely fashion they can decide to cancel your coverage. This can be catastrophic as it can raise your rates with other insurers, or even make it difficult to find another insurer at all. Since failing to carry appropriate levels of liability insurance is also against the law, this can mean being unable to drive for a long period of time.

Get a lawyer, but don’t fail to make the report.

What happens if you’re unconscious and can’t report the accident fast enough? 

Sometimes when you end up in an automobile accident you end up in a coma.

What happens then? How do you avoid missing insurance deadlines? You won’t be charged with failing to report to the police when you leave the scene of an accident unconscious in an ambulance, but who can handle the paperwork or even hire a personal injury lawyer on your behalf?

Fortunately, the parent, adult child, or spouse of a comatose accident victim can usually file on your behalf.

If you have a loved one who is in a coma right now you can contact our offices to find out what the options are. 

Why trust us with your car accident case?

Each of our lawyers has over two decades of experience handling car accident cases in Calgary. Our team is known for our courtroom litigation skills as well as our sharp negotiation skills. We know car accident cases inside and out, and we know how to handle insurance companies while protecting your rights. 

We’re known for being kind, responsive, and easy to deal with. We keep you in the loop, answer all of your questions and concerns, and do everything we can to make the process run as smoothly as possible. We’ll even handle the insurance companies on your behalf! 

Don’t try to handle a car accident alone. Your call is risk-free. Call (403) 219-0184 to set up a consultation today.

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