What should you do if you have a car accident?

Thankfully, getting into a car accident isn’t something that happens regularly for most people. And when it does happen, your immediate response could be shock, anger, confusion or a mix of all three.

It’s not always easy to think straight in the moments after you’ve been involved in an accident. However, failing to take care of the necessary business in this type of situation can result in fines, lawsuits, and possibly a criminal record. Here are some things you may need to do if you ever get involved in a car crash in NSW.

First things first: you must pull over

Failure to pull over and consult with the other driver can result in a steep fine, a licence disqualification, and/or imprisonment. If you don’t pull over, you could be considered to have committed a hit-and-run. You must pull over immediately – even for minor incidents – before taking any further action.

Once you’ve pulled over, assist others immediately

Did you know that in NSW, you’re legally obligated to assist others in the event of a car crash? It doesn’t matter if the accident was your fault or not – if you’re physically capable, you must give assistance. The hit and run penalties in NSW for leaving the scene of an accident without giving assistance to those injured, can include a fine and imprisonment.

Remove debris

Depending on your physical condition after the crash, you should remove hazardous debris from the road as soon as possible. If you’re too injured to remove the debris, then obviously you should sit tight until help arrives. But things like broken glass, car bumpers, or anything that fell out of your vehicle can cause another accident nearby. The last thing you want in this situation is to be responsible for more damage or injuries.

Get the police involved

Sometimes you end up in a minor accident that doesn’t require major assistance or police involvement. Minor rear-enders can usually be handled with a simple exchange of information. Note, however, that you are required to contact the police regarding an accident if the other person doesn’t stop immediately following the collision to exchange contact info, if one of the vehicles has to be towed away, or if someone is injured.

Contacting the police is always a safe bet, and it’s a particularly good option if you’re unsure about the extent of the damage. We like to suggest that if a police officer doesn’t show up to the scene of the accident that you contact them yourself within 24 hours.

If there’s a police officer at the site of the accident, have him or her fill out a police accident report. You must tell them what happened, including the details of who has been injured, and any property that has been damaged at the scene of the accident. Spare no details. Failure to report the accident to the police can interfere with your chances of getting compensation from your insurance company.

Make sure you swap details with the other driver

You are required after a car accident to exchange details with the other driver or the police, especially when there’s property damage or a serious injury involved. You’re legally obligated to provide your name and address, your vehicle’s registration number, and the name and address of the person who owns the vehicle you were driving (if you’re not the primary owner). Failure to exchange details after an accident can result in a steep fine.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your accidents are limited in damage—both physical and financial. If you need legal or other counselling, reach out to a professional, as resolutions for these situations are often complex and time consuming.

When you’ve left the scene of the accident

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to calm down after you’ve been in a car crash. Once you’ve had some time to reflect, it’s worth making notes about exactly what happened, covering all the details of what happened. Be sure to find out everything you can to defend yourself in court and for any insurance claims to receive compensation.

What information do you need to make a compensation claim?

If you’ve been injured after a car accident and need to make a compensation claim, then you’ll need to gather relevant details about the crash.

Some of the basic things you’ll need to know are the time and location of the accident, the names and details of those involved, and the number plates and models of their vehicles. You’ll also need details about how the accident happened and the impact that the accident has had on your health and finances.

An experienced compensation lawyer will be able to assist you with finding all the information you need to support your claim.

Talk to a senior lawyer

Speaking to an experienced compensation lawyer soon after a car accident can help you get the best possible advice on how to make a claim for your injuries. Our friendly senior lawyers are here to help you along the way. Call us today on 02 9601 0088.

See how we can help you

< Back to News