What To Do At The Scene Of A Car Accident

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Being involved in a road or car accident can be traumatic whether or not any major damage or injuries occur. The trauma can be worsened for all the parties involved if proper steps aren’t taken directly after the accident to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing is taken care of.

So, what should you do if you are at the scene of a car accident in Cairns?

Before you do anything else, you should focus on being calm and assessing your injuries or those sustained by your passengers (if any). If medical attention isn’t required, and you can safely do so, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic and put your hazard lights on. The next crucial step is collecting details from the parties involved in the accident.

What Details Should Be Collected?

After a car accident it is important to take note of the following:

  • the date, time and location of the accident;
  • the names and contact details of any drivers or passengers involved in the accident;
  • the insurance details of any drivers involved (the insurance company name is usually sufficient); and
  • the make, model and registration of any vehicles involved.

What About Witnesses?

If there were any witnesses to the accident you should collect their details as well. This includes:

  • the name/s of any witnesses
  • their contact details; and
  • their involvement in the accident (i.e. if they were a pedestrian, unaffected driver or someone in a nearby building or bus stop).

Witnesses can be crucial in helping to ascertain how the accident occurred and, therefore, who was at fault, so any extra information (particularly from an unbiased party) will be beneficial.

Should I take photos?

Photo evidence can help create a clear picture of what has occurred. They can be particularly useful to the insurer who will be assessing your claim. If it is appropriate and safe to do so, you should try to take photos of:

  • the entire scene of the accident;
  • skid marks caused by the tyres of the vehicle/s involved;
  • the direct impact on your vehicle and any damage to your vehicle;
  • any other property (public or private) that was damaged;
  • any injuries you or your passenger/s have sustained; and
  • any road signs or traffic lights that should have been observed.

Try to take multiple photos from various angles.

Do I Need To Inform The Police?

If the accident was serious, the Police may be required to assist with directing traffic or attending to hazard reduction. They may also need to conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. An investigation is usually only likely to occur if:

  • someone was killed or injured as a result of the accident;
  • it is believed that one or more of the drivers is under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • property has been damaged; and/or
  • one or more of the parties involved in the accident does not stop or fails to exchange information.

The Police do not need to attend the crash site if unless any of the above has occurred.

When Should I Contact My Insurer?

No matter what the severity of the accident is, you should let your insurer know. Be sure to pass on all of the details you have collected from the other parties that were involved as well as any photos or videos you took at the scene of the accident.

If you incur any expenses (such as medical expenses or car repairs) as a result of the accident be sure to keep your receipts as may be reimbursed by your insurer or the insurer of the other party.

If you have been in a car accident and need advice on the next steps, our car accident lawyers in Cairns can assist.