What to do in the event of an accident
It’s hard to think straight after you’ve been in an accident. Your adrenaline’s racing and you’re panicking which makes it easy to forget what to do, or what questions to ask.
It’s easy to ignore the possibility of it ever happening but being prepared is one of the best things you can do. Cambridge Collision Centre takes you through the post-crash process step by step and helps you gather the information your insurer will require. Why not keep two copies in your vehicle so you can give one to the other driver!
First and foremost, never admit to being at fault for the accident. In times of stress, we might not take all factors into account, and maybe best to leave this decision to the insurers and experts. You also don’t want to make the situation any worse by accusing the other driver of being at fault. It is hard to predict how they will react.
Although it may be hard, try to stay calm and write down as much information as possible about what happened before, during, and after the accident. Take lots of photos of the location, your vehicle, the other vehicle or vehicles involved, or anything else that might be relevant. Cameras on smartphones have made this process so much easier because you carry them with you all the time.
Anyone involved in an accident must provide their name and address, the registration number of their vehicle together with the name and address of the owner of the vehicle – remember, the person driving the other vehicle may not necessarily be the owner or the insured party. Sight the other person’s Drivers license and make note of the license number, address etc. If permitted, take an image of the license – front and back. Obtaining the name of the other person’s insurance company is a good idea as well. You’ll need all this information for your insurance claim or for reporting the incident.
If someone is trapped or injured call Triple Zero (000). If there are hazards, you suspect drugs or alcohol is involved, or if someone left the scene without exchanging details – call Police link 131 444.
Otherwise, as of January 2015, you no longer have to wait for police at the accident scene. If your vehicle required towing or you still wish to report the accident, call Policelink on 131 444. They will provide you with a report number to assist with insurance claims.
It’s vital that you make sure your vehicle is roadworthy, and safe, before attempting to drive it away from the scene of the accident. If any airbags have been deployed, safety-related dash lights are on, a large amount of fluid is leaking from under the vehicle, or if you are simply unsure, it’s not safe to proceed.
Some damage, like flat tyres and broken windscreens, is easy to spot. But be cautious for hidden damage to areas such as the suspension or cooling system. These can cause steering failure or major damage to the engine. There is also the possibility of causing a further accident if you drive away in an unroadworthy vehicle.
In short, if you have even the slightest doubts about your vehicle, it’s probably safer to organise a tow truck and find another way home.
Once again being prepared will really help. It’s your choice who tows your vehicle and where it gets taken to. So finding a reputable tow company and smash repairer in advance and keeping their contact details available in your vehicle, makes good sense.Take all your personal belongings out of the vehicle before it leaves.
Call your insurance company as soon as you can and make a claim. Many companies have a 24hr claims service and will handle the whole process over the phone. They may also provide online claims lodgement.