Despite pleas from governments, police and advocacy groups, car accidents are still common in Australia. At last count, three people each day die on our roads. Countless more are seriously injured.
Being in a car accident is frightening, especially if it wasn’t your fault. It’s not fair that your life has changed so suddenly and completely out of your control. Ongoing injuries can make it harder to get life back on track.
To make the process as stress-free as possible, here are our steps to take after a road accident.
Seek medical help
In serious accidents, call 000. Be clear about your location and what help is required.
If it’s safe to do so, move injured persons to the side of the road as quickly as possible so that there are no further potential injuries from oncoming traffic. Ensure that you are away from any potential fire hazards.
If the road accident seems minor, you may not need an ambulance – but you should always call the police. Having the police attend the scene means there will be a record of who was there, what happened and who the police determined likely at fault.
If you notice any symptoms after the road accident, take record of them and seek medical advice. Often injuries may not be noticeable in the shock of the car accident and can worsen in the days that follow.
If you are conscious and able to, make sure you swap details with any other parties involved in the road accident.
You should ask the other party for:
- Their full name and address
- Contact phone number
- Licence details
- Registration details
- Insurance details
- Make and model of any vehicles involved
If there are witnesses, ask them to provide you with their details too. If they have photos of the road accident, ask them to forward copies to you.
If you are able to, and it’s safe to do so, you should also try and take photos of the road accident, such as the intersection or road where the accident occurred, or any damage to vehicles.
If the road accident is a hit and run, make sure you call the police. There are still legal options available to you even if you cannot identify the other driver.
Contact your insurer
It’s important to let your insurer know that you’ve been involved in an accident. You should provide them with details of the road accident and any other parties who were there.
Ask them what paperwork you need to provide and complete it quickly. The process differs between states but will likely involve you lodging a Notice of Accident Claim form.
You should also keep records of any bills you incur as a result of the road accident. This could include car repairs, medical costs, medication, treatment and rehabilitation. These can potentially be reimbursed to you.
Seek legal advice
Whether you’re on a country road or a bike, you have the same legal rights as car drivers when it comes to road accidents.
In fact, anyone involved in a road accident should seek legal advice. Time limits apply, so don’t delay.
Getting back on track after a road accident can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you can make it through the process.