Blog Alberta Accident Report : What To Do After You've Been In An Accident

Feb 23, 2021

person taking picture of damaged car after an accident

Car accidents in Alberta happen daily. But do you know what to do next? Many drivers are unsure. Are you supposed to call the police? How do you fill out an Alberta accident report?

These are the questions many drivers in Alberta are asking. Do you know how to report an accident? If not, or if you are unclear about the details, we have you covered.

This blog post provides you with all the information you need to know about how to report car accidents in Alberta.

What Is Considered A Car Accident in Alberta?

Understanding the definition of a collision can help you know if you need to report it to the police. According to Calgary Police Service :

“A traffic collision occurs when a motor vehicle contacts another object on a highway... Another object can be, but is not limited to, another motor vehicle, a bicycle, a pedestrian, or a fixed object (street sign, light pole, etc.).”

Do I Need To Report A Car Accident To Police In Alberta?

Not all car accidents need to be reported to the police. However, there are three circumstances when you MUST report an accident to police :

  1. People were injured in the accident
  2. The damage exceeds $2,000

You were the victim of a hit and run If you suspect the other driver to be intoxicated, involved with a crime, or part of a fraud ring, call the police immediately.

When NOT To Report An Auto Accident In Alberta

You do not need to file an accident report in Alberta if there is no damage. You are not required to report an auto accident if the damage does not exceed $2,000, there are no injuries, and no laws were broken. However, you still have the option to file a report if you wish.

How To Report An Alberta Car Accident

There are two main ways to file an Alberta accident report :

  1. Call 911 : Call 911 right away if there are injuries or if one of the vehicles is not driveable. Police will come to the scene and file a police report onsite.
  2. Report the collision at a police district office : Do this if there are no injuries and the vehicles involved in the accident are driveable. The vehicle involved and the person who was driving must be present.

What Documents Do I Need To File An Alberta Car Accident Report?

In order to file a collision report at your local police office, you will need the following documents :

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle certificate of registration
  • Proof of insurance
  • Information about the other driver/vehicle involved in the accident

Rules For Reporting Alberta Accidents In The Traffic Safety Act

Section 69 of the Traffic Safety Act states the duty of drivers involved in a traffic accident in Alberta :

69(1) Where an accident in which a vehicle is involved occurs on a highway, the driver or other person in charge of any vehicle that was directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall :

(a) remain at the scene of the accident or, if the person has left the scene of the accident, immediately return to the scene of the accident unless otherwise directed by a peace officer,
(b) render all reasonable assistance, and
(c) produce in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury, to any peace officer and to any witness all or such of the following information as is requested :
(i) that person’s name and address;
(ii) the number of that person’s operator’s licence;
(iii) the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle;
(iv) the licence plate number of the vehicle;
(v) a financial responsibility card issued in respect of that vehicle.

Alberta Car Accident Stats

Alberta traffic collisions are common. There are about 385 collisions in the province each day. These are just the reported collisions. In 2015 alone, there were :

  • 140,705 collisions
  • 288 fatal collisions; 13,531 non-fatal collisions
  • 126,886 property damage collisions
  • 330 people were killed
  • 17,907 people were injured

Where and how do car accidents in Alberta happen?

  • 84.1% occur in urban areas; 15.9% in rural areas
  • 26.4% are intersection related
  • 3.4% of accidents involve a driver who has been drinking; 0.3% impaired by drugs
  • 25.7% of drivers in fatal collisions were reported as travelling at an unsafe speed
  • July recorded the highest number of fatal collisions at 40 (13.9%)
  • Saturday recorded the most fatal collisions at 53 (18.4%) and Friday recorded the most injury collisions at 2,288 (16.9%)

What To Do Right After A Car Accident In Alberta

There are a series of important steps to take if you are involved in an accident :

  • Remain at the scene : It is ILLEGAL to leave the scene of an accident. It doesn’t matter if you caused it or not.
  • Check for injuries : Check with all parties involved in the accident to see if they are injured. If there are injuries, call for help immediately.
  • Move vehicles out of traffic : ONLY if it is safe to do so, move your vehicles to the shoulder of the road. Do what you can to prevent additional accidents – turn on hazards, and place emergency cones on the road.
  • Call the police : If there are injuries or the damage is greater than $2,000, you have a legal obligation to call the police to report the accident. Depending on the situation, they may instruct you to visit the nearest collision centre to report the accident.
  • Exchange information with other driver(s) involved : Collect contact, vehicle, and Alberta car insurance information from other drivers. Use your smartphone to take photos or write down the information. Record :
    • Driver’s license numbers
    • Drivers’ names and contact information
    • Policy numbers
    • License plate numbers
    • Names of the insurance companies
  • Get witness contact information : If you have a witness, ask for their contact information.
  • Document the accident details : Take photos of all vehicles involved, note the weather conditions, and write down the events that led to the accident. You can use this information to fill out the police accident report.
  • Call a tow truck (if needed) : Call a tow truck if your vehicle is damaged to the point where it is not safe to drive.
  • Visit any police district office : When you arrive at your local district office, you will be required to fill out a police accident report. An officer will check the damage to the vehicles and take photographs. Follow the police instructions to fill out your report.
  • Contact your advisor : Once you have filed your police report, contact your advisore as soon as possible. They will be able to help you complete the claims process, if necessary. You will be asked to provide information about your vehicle, accident details, the other vehicle and driver, and police report.

How To File An Alberta Police Collision Report After An Accident

Filing a police report for a vehicle accident in Alberta is fairly straightforward. You cannot report a collision online. You must visit your local district office. You will be provided with an “A-Form”. This is the standard Alberta Collision Form used for reporting vehicle collisions.

What Information Do I Have To Provide In A Police Accident Report?

You will be asked to provide the following information :

  • Date and location of the accident
  • Accident details
  • Driver information
  • Vehicle information
  • Statement of events
  • Witness statements
  • A diagram of the accident

Why Should I File A Police Collision Report In Alberta?

Even though you are legally required to file a police report in many circumstances, it provides you with protection. It gives you an accurate record of events, protects you legally, proves fault, and protects you against fraud. Plus, you can rest easy knowing you did everything the right way.

If I File A Police Report, Do I Have To File An Insurance Claim?

No. Filing a police report does not mean you have to file a car insurance claim. However, even if you don’t plan to file a claim, it’s still important to notify your broker of the accident. Speak with your broker about the accident and get advice about the claims process.

What Not To Do At The Accident Scene

Getting into a car accident can be a shock. It’s important for you to stay calm, avoid arguing with the other driver, and handle the situation properly. Don't do this :

  • Take responsibility or assume liability in any way
  • Agree to pay for the damages
  • Agree to forget about the accident
  • Accept money or any form of settlement

How To Report Different Types Of Auto Accidents In Alberta

man making a phone call after an accident

There is some confusion about how to report certain types of vehicle accidents in Alberta. If you are not sure whether you need to report an accident to police, call them to confirm.

Here are some tips for reporting various types of vehicle accidents :

Reporting Recent Car Accidents In Alberta

If you were involved in an accident, you should report it to police as soon as possible. If the damage exceeds $2,000 and the vehicle is driveable, you have 24 hours to file a report at your local police station. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

Depending on the details of your car insurance, you will have a certain time period to report a car accident to your insurer. Generally you have 30 days. Check with your advisor for clarification.

Reporting A Fatal Car Accident In Alberta

If someone is seriously or fatally injured in a car accident, you must report it immediately. Call the police and request emergency services right away. Remain at the scene and wait for help to arrive.

Reporting A Hit And Run Car Accident

If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, call the police immediately. If you were in the vehicle when the accident occurred, try to get :

  • The plate of the other vehicle
  • A description of the vehicle
  • A description of the driver
  • Location and the direction the vehicle fled
  • Any other information that can help identify the other vehicle/driver

Do not attempt to follow the vehicle. If your vehicle is driveable, visit the nearest police station.

Reporting A Parking Lot Car Accident

Many people assume you do not need to report accidents that occur in parking lots or on private property. You should treat parking lot accidents the same as other accidents. Use the same rules to determine if you need to file an accident report.

Accidents With Less Than $2,000 Damage But Still Are Required To Be Reported

There are certain instances where you are still need to report an accident, even if there is less than $2,000 damage :

  • A crime was committed – impaired driving, stolen vehicle, etc.
  • There is an injury
  • A vehicle is transporting dangerous goods
  • The accident involves a government vehicle
  • The driver is uninsured or doesn’t have a license
  • There is damage to private property
  • The accident involved a pedestrian or cyclist

Does An Alberta Accident Report Have An Impact On Your Insurance?

Filing an accident report will not necessarily increase rates. Being at-fault for the accident is what impacts your rates.

Police reports do not determine liability. Police accident reports also do not impact your insurance company’s assessment of the accident. Your insurer determines fault based on the information about the accident.

Alberta Car Accident FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about Alberta car accident reporting :

Where Can I Get A Copy Of The Alberta Collision Report Form?

Go to Make sure you have the Police File Number for your report.

What Happens If You Don’t Report A Car Accident In Alberta?

Failure to report an accident can result in a fine, demerit points, and potentially jail time. The maximum fine is $2,000 and/or a period of 6 months in jail. Upon conviction, 7 demerit points will be added to your driving record.

How Long Do You Have To Report An Accident?

It’s recommend you report an accident as soon as possible if there are injuries, a crime was committed or the damage is more than $2,000.

What Is The Insurance Statute Of Limitations In Alberta For Car Accident Reports?

All companies are different. Some require you to report an accident within 7 days, some give you 30 days. Failure to report an accident to your insurer could be grounds for policy cancellation.

What If I Am Not Sure If The Damage Exceeds $2,000?

You can get an estimate on the damage before reporting the accident. Alberta law does not allow auto repairs on a vehicle with more than $2,000 without the presence of an accident report sticker. If you are not sure if the damage exceeds $2,000, go file a police report just to be safe.

Do I Have To Report Accidents That Happen In A Parking Lot?

Yes, if it meets the requirements that merit the filing of an accident report. If you are not sure, call the police and file a report.

Tips To Avoid Car Accidents In Alberta

As a driver, there are many things you can do to avoid being involved in an accident :

  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Stay focused on driving
  • Pay attention to your surroundings at all time
  • Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Always check your mirrors and blind spots before changing direction
  • Give plenty of space between you and other vehicles
  • Never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Adjust driving to weather conditions
  • Avoid driving while distracted

Following these simple tips and being dedicated to being a safe driver can reduce your odds of getting into a car accident and keep your auto insurance affordable.