A car accident should always be taken seriously, no matter the severity. The compensation claim process can be complex, and strict time limits apply to making claims. If you have been involved in an accident and wish to discuss your options urgently, contact ROCHE Legal today. In the meantime, here are the 10 steps to take after a car accident.
Step 1: Get to Safety
Getting off the road is important, not only for you and the other passengers, but for the general safety of the highway. If you can, pull over to a nondescript area where the vehicles and passengers will cause less of a traffic delay and more importantly, where you will less likely be at risk of a secondary incident on the road. If you cannot move your car, you should exit your vehicle and get to the side of the road so that you are at least out of danger. If you are able, wave at oncoming traffic to alert them of the obstruction on the road so that they also do not crash.
Step 2: Assess Yourself and Passengers for Injuries
Even if it’s just a small bump on the head, you will want to take notice of any injuries you acquire as the result of the accident. Make sure all passengers in the vehicle are conscious and okay before then checking the passengers of the other vehicle to see if they are okay or need immediate assistance. It would be a good idea to take a photo or write a note in your journal (if you have one) about how you feel. You never know how seemingly small bumps can impact you in the future. If immediate medical assistance is required, skip straight to Step 4 (i.e. Call 000).
Step 3: Exchange Details with the Other Drivers
Once you have determined that everyone is okay, you can move onto the next step (i.e. Call 000) whilst checking extent of the damage to your vehicle. At this point, you should now take down the other driver’s contact details and vehicle information, such as their number plate and the make/model of their car.
Step 4: Call 000
Some people don’t feel the need to call emergency lines if the car accident is minor. However, sometimes the effects of these accidents don’t become evident until hours later. If you are injured in the accident, not calling 000 to be assessed by a medical professional could result in you experiencing more serious side-effects in future. It would also make it more difficult for you to make a compensation claim due to the incident because there is no record of the accident on a police or ambulance file. Calling emergency services ensures that there is a record of the incident at the point in time it occurred and can assist to determine if any passengers need medical attention and who was at fault for insurance coverage purposes.
Absolutely do not leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive! If the other party to the accident left the scene, simply report this fact to the police when they arrive.
Step 5: Collect Your Own Evidence
If you have a smartphone, take videos and pictures before you move your vehicles if it was safe to do so (see Step 1). Otherwise, take photos of your and your passengers injuries (if any), the damage to all vehicles, the road/street that the accident occurred on, and anything else that is peculiar, such as faded lines on the road or a missing stop sign. Dash camera footage will be the most useful in these cases and the police may ask either driver for a copy if there is one available.
Step 6: Locate a Witness and Wait
While you are waiting for assistance, you should ask any person who is nearby the scene to stay and validate your case to the police once they arrive. A police officer will take a statement from both drivers if they are able to provide one, as well as anyone else at the scene who saw the accident. This could one of the vehicle’s passengers, another driver not involved in the incident, a pedestrian, or someone in their front yard mowing their lawn who happened to have a good view at the time.
Step 7: Document the Car Accident
Documentation is vital in compensation cases. Compensation cannot be given without evidence that the accident was the fault of someone other than yourself (unless you as the driver suffer significant injuries, the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) will cover you). The NIIS is a no-fault scheme that provides necessary and reasonable lifetime treatment, care and support to those who sustain eligible serious personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland, on or after 1 July 2016.
Your Queensland compensation lawyer will need this evidentiary information to argue your case against the at fault person’s insurance company. Some common forms of documentation or evidence include:
- Time of Accident
- Registration (Number Plate), Make and Model of the vehicles involved
- Witness statements
- Pictures and video
- Police and medical reports
Step 8: For Damage to your Vehicle (Property Damage), Talk to Your Insurance Provider
Next, you will want to inform your insurance provider about your accident. The most common property insurances people in Queensland have for vehicles are either Comprehensive Insurance or Third Party Only (not to be confused with Compulsory Third Party or CTP Insurance which is insurance for medical injuries and falls under your vehicle registration fee). If you are at-fault, Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle and any other vehicle or property. Whereas Third Party Only insurance covers damage only to the other person’s vehicle (and any other property) but not your own vehicle.
Reporting property damage to your insurer can be done at the scene or later if you’d like. Your insurance provider will ask you the circumstances that resulted in the accident. If you claim to not be at-fault, your insurance provider should reach out to the other driver’s insurance company. The other insurance company may contact you and ask you to recount your experience.
It is important to remember, that just because an insurance company declares that you are the at-fault driver, this is not necessarily a fact and can often be wrong! It is important that you talk to a lawyer to be sure. The lawyers at ROCHE Legal have a history of successfully contesting false assertions of liability made by insurance companies.
Step 9: Obtain Your Medical Records
Your medical records are very telling of your situation. You will be more likely to receive compensation if you have medical records on file, so don’t deny being checked by a professional immediately after your accident. It would also be wise to have a follow up check with your GP shortly after to be sure.
Step 10: Talk to a ROCHE Legal Compensation Lawyer
Your best bet for a winning personal injury claim from an accident is with the aid of a compensation lawyer from ROCHE Legal. ROCHE Legal has helped many locals with their car accident injury claims and we want to hear your story! We have a No-Win No-Risk policy, which means you don’t have to pay anything if your case is lost.
Contact us today on 1300 335 344, visit one of our three offices, or contact us online to learn how we can support your case. Time limits to making compensation claims apply, so to protect your rights – it is best to not delay.