If an auto accident happens on the road, it's common knowledge that phoning the police and exchanging insurance information are the first things to do. However, when auto accidents occur on private property, many people aren't sure about how to proceed. What do you do if you're involved in an auto accident in an area like a store parking lot? Read on to find out.

Rule #1: Treat it Like Any Other Auto Accident - Call The Police First

The first rule is to treat the accident like any other auto accident - which means you need to contact the police immediately. The police don't necessarily like to get involved in accidents that happen on private property in some provinces. Each province has their own laws regarding police jurisdiction on private property. For example, Ontario police can't write citations on private property while Alberta police can

However, the police will come to the scene of the accident to create documentation upon request, even if they can't write citations. This documentation will include information such as:

  • Names of all people involved in the accident

  • Insurance information for those involved in the accident

  • Notes about the accident scene, including any obstacles that may have contributed to the accident

  • Time and date of the accident

  • Names and contact information for witnesses

You will receive a copy of this police report at the scene of the accident. The report will contain the information you need to contact the other party's insurance company, so there is no need to interact with them. If there is a dispute about who caused the accident, dealing with the other person is best left to your attorney.

Rule #2: Get Medical Assistance

Any type of injury must be well documented if you hope to get compensated for your damages in the future. The best way to document injuries is to seek medical assistance as soon as possible - ideally, directly from the scene of the accident. Don't hesitate to call for ambulance transport to the closest hospital if you feel there is any possibility of injury. Ignoring a potential injury or delaying care for an injury may weaken the credibility of your claim.

Rule #3: Contact the Property Owner

The owner of the property where the accident occurred will need to be informed of the accident promptly. Your accident attorney may work with a private investigator to get evidence to support your case. This will mean that the private investigator will need access to the property, and this in turn means that the property owner should be treated with respect.

While the accident claims may be handled entirely between the people involved, it is also possible that the property owner may share some of the responsibility for the accident. For example, if a parking garage accident happened at least partially because the layout of the garage created areas that weren't possible to travel safely, the property owner may have some liability for the accident. Informing the property owner of the accident does not mean that you're filing a lawsuit against them at this time, but is simply a heads-up to them that the possibility exists.  

The help of an accident attorney and a private investigator by Northern Defence & Security can be very important in private property auto accidents. Since the rules are slightly different than they would be for a roadway accident, having their knowledge and expertise can result in a much bigger settlement for you!