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What to do After an Accident

A traffic accident might be every driver’s worst nightmare, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you can always avoid it. Even if through no fault of your own, many drivers will find themselves in a bingle of some sort across their driving years.

Given how unexpected such an event can be, often we’re not entirely prepared for how to respond. For some, panic and anxiety starts to set in after a car accident. Emotions will be running high, which means that sometimes we are not always thinking in a rational and coherent manner.

Here’s what you need to do after an accident on the road.

 

 

Remain calm and preserve safety

Assuming that you are uninjured, the first thing is to focus on the here and now. While it is easy for the mind to begin wondering and thinking about potential difficulties that might lie ahead, it is important that you manage to retain a sense of calmness and avoid fear or panic kicking in.

You will need to activate your hazard lights in order to bring awareness to other road users. If the car is obstructing traffic, and there is no immediate danger, move it off to the side so that it does not endanger yourself and other motorists. If there is an immediate danger, you should call emergency services straight away and take primary care. Once you’ve moved the car, remove the keys from the ignition.

As you prepare to exit the car, double check for any injuries that could have been masked by adrenaline rushing through your body. If you are uninjured, you should check on the wellbeing of the other parties involved. If injuries are present, dial 000 for emergency services. The police must be called if injuries are present, a party fails to exchange details, or there is a likelihood that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More often than not, most drivers will still call the police to make a record of the accident, assuming it is more than just a fender bender.

 

Exchange details with the other party

Once you have your evidence, you must exchange details with the other party. Gather as much information as you can, with a particular emphasis on the other party’s full name, address, phone number, plus vehicle registration and details. It is also beneficial to pick up other information regarding the specific make, model and colour of the vehicle they were driving, and if possible, their licence number and insurance details. These however, are not necessarily obligatory to hand over.

You should also provide the relevant information to the other party. If a driver does not provide you with their name, address, vehicle registration plus information to identify their vehicle, you may report the accident to police.

 

Don’t admit fault

While you might be inclined to apologise for contributing to an accident, that is as far as you should go in discussing the events. Even if you know that the accident was your fault, never admit this to the other driver. It will be left to the professionals investigating the accident to conclusively determine whose fault it was, and any admission could compromise that investigation and your insurance coverage.

 

 

Collect evidence

An important part of your insurance claim will rely on the evidence you present to the insurer. As such, you will want to take several photos of the accident scene, including damage to both vehicles. The scene should extend to the nearby surrounds like any hazards or road conditions that may have contributed to the accident.

If you have a dash cam recording, it is important you save and retain this footage. You will also want to make notes of any other observations relating to the crash scene and even the other party. Speak to any witnesses in the vicinity and ask for their details if you anticipate their version of events will be required.

 

Contact your insurer

First, you’ll want to check what condition your car is in. If it has been involved in a major accident, it is likely that it will be unroadworthy and require towing. Police at the scene would confirm this. If it is a minor accident, you may be able to drive home or to your insurer’s assessment centre.

Contact your insurance company and provide a full account on the accident. They will help you walk through all the necessary steps to lodge your claim, and if required, can offer assistance with towing the vehicle. Leave it with them to investigate and at all times make sure that you cooperate honestly with regards to any details.

 

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