Being involved in a car accident can be a sudden, stressful and frightening experience. No one plans on suddenly finding themselves injured, or injuring another, or suddenly having their vehicle significantly damaged. However, if you are well informed about what you should do, and (most importantly) if you remain calm, the situation can resolve itself with less anxiety for everyone involved.
First Thing’s First
The first step is always to stop your car and move off to the side of the road. In this instance it is important to exchange the following information;
- Your name and the other driver’s name
- The names of the car insurance companies
- License plate numbers
- Telephone numbers or other contact information
- A description of the cars involved; including make, model and colour
- Take pictures of the damage
Once you have gathered this information, if you are able to proceed on your way, both parties should return to their cars and leave. The police do not need to be called in these instances. Afterwards, it is important that you make an immediate telephone call to your insurance company and report the incident with all of the details of the incident that you gathered.
If you have to arrange for your car to be towed, you will need to do that of your own accord. The police do not have to be called in this instance either. During the course of waiting for the tow truck, be sure that you are not impeding traffic. Gather any items that may have fallen out of the car, or that you will want to keep with you. Be sure the engine is shut off and switch the hazard lights on.
When Should I Call The Police?
There are specific circumstances when the police should be called to the scene. These include any of the following reasons:
- Someone is killed or physically injured
- An animal has been harmed
- The other driver fails to stop
- The other driver refuses to exchange information
- If drugs or alcohol appear to be involved
- A person is trapped inside of a vehicle
- Traffic is significantly impeded
In the case that you or a passenger or the other driver is injured, additional steps need to be taken. Even if the injuries seem minor, they should be attended to immediately by medical personnel; particularly if the injury is related to the head or the spine. Oftentimes these injuries appear to be minor, but escalate subsequent to the accident. Therefore, it is important that any such injury be recorded as having happening by competent medical professionals.
Being injured in a car accident can lead to you receiving compensation for your injuries. The injuries can be physical, psychological or psychiatric. However, the injuries must be documented including;
- The date and time of the injury
- The injured body parts
- The tests that have been performed to define the extent of the injury
- The treatment rendered
- The cost of the medical treatment and testing
To receive compensation for a car accident, you must file a claim with the insurance company. It is possible that you will be able to claim up to $5000.00 in medical costs and lost wages. This can sometimes be awarded to you without you having to file a formal claim. To do this you will have to file an Accident Notification Form (ANF) within 28 days of the accident.
In addition, you will need to produce the following information to the claims department.
Notify the police department of the accident within 28 days. This paperwork is needed to apply for the benefits described above.
- You will have to identify the other driver’s insurance company
- Show proof of injury from your medical doctor
- If you have a claim in excess of $5000.00 the claim must be made within 6 months of the date of the accident.
While it is extremely upsetting to be involved in a car accident, or to be injured, or to cause injury to another, it is possible for the situation to be resolved calmly and with ease. If you keep in mind these simple steps and requirements, most claims can be handled and resolved quickly and efficiently by both the police department, medical personnel and insurance companies.
In the event that you are faced with these particular issues and concerns, please contact the offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.