One of the most unfortunate things about car accidents is that you can’t plan for them – they occur when you least expect them. In the event that you do find yourself in this type of stressful situation, it’s important to understand what essential steps you have to take next to not only make sure that you or your passengers are taken care of, but to prepare for any claims you may be filing in the future.
In addition to the tips below, you can print our one-page checklist and leave it in your glove compartment, so you have everything you need, when you need it.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
The most important thing for you to understand is that in the seconds after a car accident, literally, nothing matters beyond getting people the medical attention they need. Check yourself, your passengers and other affected drivers for injuries. If any are present, call for medical attention as soon as you can. Don’t worry about moving your car, don’t worry about contacting ICBC – all of that will come later. Make sure everyone is taken care of FIRST.
Next, you’ll want to take as many pictures as you can – likely with the camera built into the smartphone you probably already own. Don’t just photograph your car from every conceivable angle – focus on the other car, too. Focus on the road conditions. Take photographs of any obstacles that may have been in the road. Take pictures of the spacial relationship between your car and any other vehicle involved in the accident. All of this will be critical later on.
Next, obtain contact information for any relevant parties – this can include any witnesses on the scene, other drivers, other vehicle passengers and more. Collect as much witness information as you can (including license plate numbers) as again, this will all be essential later on.
Report Your Accident to ICBC
Next, you’ll want to report your accident to ICBC as soon as you can. While you are under no legal obligation to file a claim with ICBC, you do have to report that the accident took place. Failure to do so could make it harder to file a claim later and could even result in a loss of your own coverage, even if you weren’t at fault. You should always contact a lawyer before you even report your accident.
How can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help
Along the same lines, we recommend you don’t make an official statement to ICBC before contacting a lawyer. You may have reported your incident, but don’t go farther – let professionals handle the rest. Anything you say in an official statement can be used in an attempt to deny or diminish your claim later, which is a situation that you absolutely do not want to find yourself in.
Get Help After Your Auto Accident
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful time for everyone involved, whether you were driving one of the vehicles involved in the event or you were just an innocent passenger. However, it’s important for you to understand that this is one road you do NOT have to travel alone. At Warnett Hallen, we have decades of experience helping people navigate the stress and complexities of collisions. Whether you’re looking for a one-on-one consultation, need help dealing with insurance agencies or just want to remove as much of the burden from your plate as possible so that you can deal with recovery, we’re here for you.
To find out more information about what to do after a car accident, or to speak to someone about your own personal situation in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact Warnett Hallen, LLP today.