Being involved in a car accident is a traumatising experience and a danger we face as humans every single day. Unfortunately, major and minor collisions occur all the time and a lot of people aren’t prepared for the aftermath if it happens to them.
From the health and safety aspect of all involved, to the panel beaters you entrust to repair your car, there is a lot to think about afterwards. Here are some essential tips to note down, just in case you experience the unfortunate circumstance of a car accident.
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Check Everyone Involved for Injuries
The most important thing to do after an accident is to firstly assess yourself for injuries, then check other occupants of the vehicles involved who may also be injured, giving any first aid assistance you can.
If anyone has minor or serious injuries contact the relevant emergency services immediately, including the police who by law must document all collisions where a person/s is injured. Police are not required at the scene if no one is injured and no dispute erupts, but ambulance officers will still assist in dealing with patients suffering from shock and disorientation.
Move all occupants a safe distance away from the vehicles, in case of fire and explosions from leaking petrol and gas. Contact your next of kin, or any support person available to you. Try to remain as calm as possible under the circumstances, as you move onto the next step.
Collect All Relevant Data
For legal and insurance purposes, the collection of data at the site of the collision is vital. There are several items of data you should try to collect to protect yourself from lawsuits and paying for damage that you didn’t cause.
- Take Clear Photos – Photos will help authorities and insurance agencies piece together the events and circumstances surrounding the crash. Take photos from angles and make sure to include skid marks, weather conditions, positioning of the cars involved, sun positioning and car damage. The more photos you can take, the easier it is to prove your version of events. Mark the road with chalk if you can before the vehicles are moved or towed away.
- Take Notes – Take as many notes as you can, especially if you can’t take photographs. Record the events truthfully as they happened and write down all key factors that might be important, even if they seem trivial.
- Collect Witness Details – Ask witnesses for statements, and if they are comfortable providing their details. These witness statements will prove as vital evidence in cases where legal proceedings might follow and for all insurance reports.
No one aims to be involved in a car accident, but as we all know sometimes bad things happen to the best of us. It pays to be prepared for all types of situations and a collision is no exception. Here is a list of a few things you should always keep on you when travelling.
- First Aid Kit – Always carry a few first aid kits in your car and even one in your bag. If for some reason one becomes trapped in the wreckage, you have access to another. These kits can save lives and give vital medical assistance to victims before ambulance members can arrive on scene.
- Clean Water – Use this to clean wounds and to rehydrate and calm people.
- Fluro Vest – In case of emergencies on the road, a fluorescent vest can warn other drivers from a distance to steer clear of the accident area. Un-noticed car crash scenes can cause further collisions and injuries if visibility isn’t clear.
- Mobile Phone/Camera – As mentioned above, taking multiple photos of as many contributing factors can be used as evidentiary support.
- Chalk – To mark the road where possible in case vehicles are removed before emergency assistance arrives.
Important Information to Remember
After any necessary medical treatment is given and the situation is under control, contact your insurance agency as soon as possible to document the incident. In cases where your insurance company won’t comply, refer your case to an insurance lawyer. Also contact your local panel beater to provide a qualified assessment, and any accident repairs necessary.
In a lot of road accidents, victims are entitled to compensation from the TAC so contact them as soon as you are safe and comfortable to do so. You may be entitled to a number of support services and compensation claims if all the criteria are met.
Driving with caution and being aware of your surroundings, and of other driver’s potential actions, can be the difference between life and death.
Unfortunately car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury and damage to vehicles, and if it does happen to you, follow the above steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved and get you back on the road as soon as possible.