While we don’t ever want to be involved in an accident, the fact remains that there may come a time when you will be. And if that day arrives, you want to be well prepared and to know what you need to do.
There are legal obligations that you need to adhere to, and you’ll also want to ensure that you are protected in the event of being at fault, or if you were not at fault and need to seek personal injury compensation.
This is a short guide for what you need to do if you have been involved in a road accident.
When the Accident Has Just Happened
First of all, you need to stay on the scene. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe, and if someone has been injured or killed, you will definitely need to provide a police statement.
You need to call 000 (triple zero) if there is an emergency, an injury requiring medical attention, or a death. Also, if there is a hazardous environment or a threat to public safety from things like downed power lines or spilt fuel or goods, you’ll also need to call emergency services.
If you suspect that drugs or alcohol are involved, you’ll need to call Policelink on 131 444. Call Policelink if a driver fails to provide their information or if a driver has an impairment or a disability and requires police assistance. You need to:
- Exchange information with the other people involved in the crash
- Arrange for your car to be moved (if it is safe to do so)
- Report the accident to the Queensland Police Services within a 24-hour period
If you have returned to your unattended vehicle and found minor damage (and the other driver has already left the scene), you can also report this to the police to help with an insurance claim.
You need to provide the following ‘required particular’ information to the other driver:
- Your name and address (plus the name and address of the vehicle owner if you don’t own the car/vehicle)
- The registration number of the vehicle
- Anything else necessary to identify the vehicle
Take pictures of the accident, the position of the car(s) and any injuries for you or anyone else who has been in the car with you.
After the Accident
We recommend that you seek legal advice if you were the at-fault driver, or if you have been injured. If you haven’t got the other person’s name or details but you have their registration plate number, it’s possible to find their information by searching online at the Department of Transport. If you have been involved in an accident and were at fault, the police may charge you with a traffic offence which means it’s vital that whether you were at fault or not, you seek legal representation.
Seek medical attention
While many people feel fine immediately after an accident, it can be shock that is masking an injury, and a true representation of how you feel might not appear until a day or a few days later. It’s vital that you get a comprehensive medical assessment immediately after your accident, especially if you are feeling any pain, discomfort, dizziness or numbness anywhere in your body.
This is the best thing for your physical health but also ensures that you are protected in the event that you need to seek personal injury compensation. After all, it may be tough to prove that your injuries were as a result of your car accident if you wait days or weeks after the crash.
You may be seeing specialists and visiting multiple healthcare professionals. Make sure that you take detailed notes of anyone that you visit. Keep it all in a diary or monitor it somehow – along with the total costs you spend. Keep your receipts if you need assistive devices like crutches or a wheelchair, and also keep records on the following:
- A journal or daily diary about your injuries and any of your medical treatment. Be specific here – really specific – about how much pain you are in, any inconvenience, any loss of function or missed opportunities due to your injury and any household jobs that you can no longer do. Also, keep track of who has been ‘picking up the slack’ so to speak, with household tasks and duties.
- Any medical correspondence from practitioners (including phone calls, emails and appointments)
- Any special food, treatment aids or anything else related to your injury
- Travel to and from appointments
- Pictures of injury progress
- Financial losses or lost opportunities at work or professionally otherwise
Seek legal advice and representation
We are here for you to make the compensation process simple. While a personal injury claim is never easy to go through, we can make the whole process smooth and as hassle-free as possible, leaving you free to concentrate on getting better and being there for your family. Without legal advice, you will find it very difficult to access the full range of compensation that you are entitled to.
We are Brisbane’s expert personal injury lawyers and would like to speak with you about your accident and help you move forward. Contact us today on (07) 3416 4999 or get in touch online for a free consultation.