10 Things to Do After a Motor Accident in New South Wales
According to the New South Wales Centre for Road Safety, so far this year, a shocking 36 lives have been lost in fatal accidents on New South Wales roads. Motor vehicle crashes, though usually not fatal, still happening with an alarming regularity especially in recent years as more and more people are on the roadways. If you or a loved one are faced with the unhappy circumstance of dealing with a motor vehicle accident, we hope that these steps can get you on the right track and give you a little bit of guidance during a tumultuous time.
Get to Safety! The first thing you should do if you are in a motor vehicle accident is get yourself to safety if you can. Get out of the damaged vehicle, move away from other moving vehicles, and do not attempt to clear any debris from the roadway.
Keep Calm: It might be difficult to keep calm in this situation, but it is important that you not let your emotions get the better of you. Try not to argue or fight with the other driver, though it may be tempting to level blame at one another, it will be better for you in the long run if you allow the authorities and insurance companies handle that aspect of the accident claim.
Seek Medical Attention! Many accident injuries are not clearly apparent in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Spinal injuries, whiplash, and concussions are some of the most common injuries, yet often do not show serious symptoms until days or weeks after the traumatic incident. This makes it imperative that you seek out medical advice even you do not necessarily feel injured. This can also later prove helpful if you need to demonstrate the severity or costs of your medical expenses and injuries.
Call the Police: Though the police may not be required to attend your accident if they are not needed to direct traffic, both drivers stopped to exchange information, or there are no serious injuries. However, you will need to contact them within 28 days to report the accident and receive a police event number.
Collect Contact Information: Get the contact information for the other driver, as well as the contact information of any and all witnesses. Some of the things you should write down are: addresses, phone numbers, license information, perhaps a brief statement, and any other pertinent details. You should also expect that the other party will seek to collect your information as well.
Collect Accident Details: Take pictures of the damage done to both vehicles, pictures of the scene, any skid marks, damage done to property, or any other relevant details (signage, lights, and weather conditions). You should write down the make and model of the involved vehicles, car registration, and any other pertinent information.
Contact a Lawyer: Motor vehicle accident claims can be exhaustive and deal with some very strict time limits. The most surefire way to ensure that your interests are best represented and ease the burden of filing a claim is to contact a lawyer. They will be able to advise about your liabilities, damages, compensations, and help you file the necessary insurance claims.
Contact Your Insurance Company: Once you speak to a lawyer, they will be able to guide you or begin your insurance claims for you. As mentioned above, there are strict time limits that, if not complied with, can result in a bar to your claim. You should lodge an accident notification claim with the responsible Compulsory Third Party insurance provider within 28 days of the accident.
Decide What Kind of Damages Can you Claim: Your lawyer will be able to give you more advice about the damages you should claim or are able to claim depending on the unique circumstances of the accident. You might be able to claim both economic damages (medical costs, lost wages, property damages, etcetera) and/or non-economic damages (pain and suffering, but only if you have suffered personal impairment over 10%).
Keep an Accounting: Keep a record of all medical expenses (including rehabilitations and hospital fees) so that you are able to prove the damages that were caused by the accident. You should also keep a good record with any repairs that are made to personal property (i.e. the vehicle), as well as towing or storage fees.
Being in a vehicle accident at some point in this day and age is not only common, but is even rather likely. If this is the situation you are now facing, contact our Parramatta Personal Injury Lawyers today so that they can help you get started on your claim right away!