If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence on the road, here are the steps you should take following a car accident.
Every day in Australia, people get into car accidents. From minor bumper prangs to larger collisions that result in major damage and injuries, this is an unfortunately common occurrence on our roads.
That’s why we have insurance, which helps to cover us for damages in case of an accident and get us motor accident compensation when applicable. And for careful drivers who always follow the road rules, it’s important to know what to do following an accident that’s not your fault.
What to do following a car accident
Look after your health and safety and that of others
If anyone is badly injured, call an ambulance, and if your vehicle or the vehicles of others are in a position where they could cause further harm, either move them to the side of the road or at least put on hazard lights to try to warn other drivers.
Collect the details of all drivers involved, including the circumstances, and share your own
- The date, time, and place of the accident
- The names, addresses, and licence numbers of the drivers
- Contact details, including phone and email
- Car details including make and model, and registration number
- Insurance details from all drivers (companies and what level of insurance they have)
- Note down the names and contact details of any witnesses
- Taking photos of the accident (if it is safe to do so)
Inform the police of the accident
If there was an injury, someone failed to stop and give details, or a vehicle had to be towed, the police should be informed as soon as possible.
In many cases, police will not attend on site. To make a report after you have left the scene, you can either visit a station or call their non-emergency line on 131 444. This must be done within 28 days of the accident. You should ask the police to provide you with an ‘event number’.
Make a claim with your insurance company for damages to your vehicle
Your insurance company will deal with the other driver’s insurance (or the other driver themselves if they are uninsured) to organise your compensation for repairs.
What if you have been injured?
If you have been injured in a motor accident, whether or not it was your fault, you are eligible for compensation.
To claim your compensation, you will need to lodge an Application for Personal Injury Benefits with the CTP (compulsory third party) insurer for the car most at fault. You should include a Certificate of Capacity signed by your doctor. Forms are available at the SIRA website.
If you seek compensation for loss of income, you must apply within 28 days of the accident or you will not receive back pay. You must otherwise apply within three months of the accident. If you miss this deadline, you will need to provide an explanation for the delay, and the application may not be accepted. The safest thing is to lodge your application ASAP.
In some cases, the insurer may find a way to deny your claim, or make a decision you disagree with. If this occurs, a motor accident lawyer can help to fight for your case and ensure you get the compensation you are owed. It is best to contact a lawyer for motor accidents as soon as possible as you can only challenge an insurance decision within a short time frame.
If you find yourself in this position, contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.