So you’ve been in an accident, now what? 6 things you should do on the scene
Motor vehicle accidents are traumatic, even minor ones. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident it is important to know how to deal with the situation.
To help prepare you for dealing with an accident, we recommend that you print off, and keep a copy of the following six steps with your registration and insurance papers inside your vehicle.
- BE SAFE
- If your car is drivable: Pull over to the side of the road.
- If your car is not drivable:
- Put on your hazard lights; and/or
- Place flares or cones around your vehicle (if you have them) to prevent any subsequent accidents from occurring.
- CALL FOR HELP
- If people are injured: do NOT move them, you could make injuries worse. Call 911 and follow their instructions. Police and First Responders will be there soon. Let EMR personnel handle the situation.
- If the total damage to any of the vehicles involved in the accident appears to be more than $2,000: Call 911 and follow their instructions.
- If any driver involved in the accident appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs: Call 911 and follow their instructions.
- If no one is seriously injured and the total damage to vehicles involved in the accident appears to be less than $2,000: Call the local police non-emergency phone number. The police will walk you through the steps you should take. The police may or may not send officers to the scene.
- GATHER AND EXCHANGE INFORMATION
- If the accident involves other drivers:
- Exchange registration and insurance documentation with all drivers involved in the accident;
- For each vehicle involved in the accident, make sure you see, write down, and if possible, take pictures of the following information:
- Driver’s License,
- Insurance documents, and
- License plate numbers and province/state.
- If the accident involves pedestrians or a cyclist: Request the pedestrian or cyclist’s:
- Full name;
- Mailing address;
- Phone number; and
- Email address.
- If anyone witnessed the accident: Request the following information from any and all witnesses:
- Full name;
- Mailing address;
- Phone number;
- Email address; and
- If possible, a statement of what they witnessed (signed and dated).
You may need their testimony during the claims process to establish responsibility.
- TAKE PICTURES
The more you can do to document the scene of the accident the better. Luckily all cell phones have built in cameras. If you don’t have a camera, ask a bystander to take pictures and send them to you.
Take pictures of:
- Damage to all vehicles involved in the accident (bikes too, if applicable);
- The road, especially road conditions (wet, snowy, icy) and any skid marks; and
- Road signs, especially the speed limit and caution or warning signs.
- PROTECT YOURSELF LEGALLY
- Do NOT admit fault at the scene;
- File a report with your local police, ICBC, and any private company you may have extra coverage with (do not wait, do it while the details are fresh in your mind); and
- Consider calling a lawyer who specializes in car accidents and personal injury.
We recommend that anyone involved in a car accident, especially one involving injuries (even minor ones), seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident a personal injury lawyer will be able to advise/inform you of your rights and responsibilities.
- GET MEDICAL ATTENTION
Adrenaline that floods your body in stressful situations like a car accident can mask the symptoms of an injury. You may be injured without even realizing it. Get to a doctor as soon as possible. If you don’t have a doctor, go to a walk-in clinic, or a hospital emergency room. Keep records of any diagnosis, treatment and related costs.
For more information on steps to take after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, follow the link below:
For information on after injury care and rehabilitation, follow the link below:
Contact DBM if you have any questions. We’re here to help.