Many motorists are having the unfortunate experience of dealing with a collision, which can result in serious injury, as well as loss of life and property. Below are 6 key things to do at the scene of the accident and soon afterwards:
- Stay at the Scene
Never leave the accident scene until it’s appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver. Make notes in respect of any tyre marks on the road, positions of the vehicles and take photos if a camera is available
- Call the Police
Call 119 as soon as possible and obtain the name and badge numbers of the responding officers. The Police will need the drivers’ licenses, and certificates to confirm registration, fitness and insurance details. If the vehicle involved is a public passenger or commercial vehicle, the road license must be presented
- Exchange Information
Get the names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and addresses. In talking to other drivers, try to be cordial and cooperative.
- Inform Your Insurance Company
Promptly tell your insurance company you’ve been in an accident. Cooperate with them and tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries. Explain the facts clearly. If the insurance company finds out that you’ve lied to them about anything, you can get into serious trouble, including possible denial of coverage for the accident.
- Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment
Note any doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you receive treatment from, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep a detailed account of the treatments or medications you receive. Also, request copies of all medical reports and bills as these help you prove your medical expenses later.
Medical expenses are relatively easy to document, but pain and suffering is trickier to prove. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted your daily life. Include any missed workdays, list any routine activities you can’t undertake, and describe how the injuries have affected your family life.
- Consider Hiring a Lawyer
If anyone was injured in the accident, it’s best to consult an Attorney-at-Law. A lawyer can help you maximize your recovery if you’re injured or better defend you if you’re at fault. Some lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that your lawyer only receives a fee if you’re awarded damages or receive a settlement.
Abi-Gaye White-Thomas B.A., LL.B (Hons)