What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident?
No one wants to be in an accident and but if you are, there are some basic things you need to know.
Four points to remember:
There are four basic points you need to remember if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, we call them the SIRR points:
It can initially be quite shocking to be involved in an accident as it is unexpected and sometimes frightening.If you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident as a driver and passenger or even as a witness you need to try to be calm and take control of what’s happening around you.
Firstly, if anyone has been injured or there is a hazard (like a fire or oil spill) call 000 immediately and ask that the relevant First Responders (police, ambulance and fire brigade) be sent to the scene. You will need to give clear directions to the accident site.
Secondly, make sure everyone is safe. If anyone has been injured, make sure they are being cared for and comforted and no one is at risk of further injury.
Thirdly, once people are safe make sure the accident scene is safe. If motor vehicles can be moved, then get them to the side of the road with the hazard lights on, be mindful of any traffic, and remove any debris from the road. If a motor vehicle can’t be moved then if possible park a motor vehicle in front and behind the accident scene with their hazard lights on and people waving traffic down. In this case you should probably call the police on 131 444.
You will also need to call a tow truck company to remove the vehicle from the accident scene. Remember unless there is a direction from the police, a tow truck company may only tow a motor vehicle with the driver’s signed tow authority. If tow trucks arrive unannounced at the accident scene you are not obliged to use them.
You need to do three important things.
- 1) Get the details of all other persons involved in the accident including:
- – full name;
- – address (personal and email);
- – phone numbers;
- – driver’s licence number; and
- – the insurance details (insurer’s name and if possible policy number).
- 2) Get the details of any witnesses including:
- – full name;
- – address (personal and email); and
- – phone numbers
- 3) Take photos of the:
- – other drivers’ drivers licences;
- – damage to all motor vehicles; and
- – accident scene (from as many different angles as you can).
You can gather this information either by making paper notes or notes on your phone (written or recorded) but make sure you keep the information safe and if possible email it to yourself as a further backup and to make it easy to use information later if needed.
You may need to make two reports to:
- – the police; and
- – your insurer
Never agree not to report. That may help the other driver avoid their responsibilities, and maybe even police prosecution, but it can only be a bad thing for you for many reasons, so always report.
An accident can be reported verbally to the police by calling 000 if urgent or 131 444. You can also report an accident to the police online at www.forms.police.qld.gov.au if no one is injured in the accident.
You should call the police if:
- – someone is injured or dead;
- – there is a hazard on the road like an oil spill;
- – public infrastructure like a bridge has been damaged;
- – a driver won’t give their ID;
- – there is a suspected involvement of drugs alcohol or crime in the accident;
- – a motor vehicle needs to be towed from the accident scene; or
- – damage to a motor vehicle or property is thought to be $2500 or more.
If you have insurance you should report the accident to your property damage insurer if you are insured. Try calling your insurer from the accident scene so they can guide you through their preferred process if you are able to do that. Even if no one is hurt or the damage seems minor contact your insurer just in case the other party makes a claim later.
Every registered vehicle has insurance to cover you if another person is hurt (CTP Insurance) so don’t forget to contact that insurer as well. If you don’t know who the CTP insurer is of your vehicle you need to look on your registration confirmation.
How you get your motor vehicle repaired will depend on whether you have comprehensive insurance or not.
If you have insurance, whether the accident was your fault or someone else’s, contact your insurer. Your insurer will tell you the process to be followed and will arrange to have your motor vehicle fixed (or replaced if too badly damaged).If you have no insurance and the accident was your fault you will need to pay for your own repairs.
If the accident wasn’t your fault you can have the responsible driver (or their insurer) pay the repair costs. You will need to get a quote from a reputable repairer of what it will cost to fix your motor vehicle. If the repairer believes the repair cost will exceed the worth of the motor vehicle then this is known as a write-off and you can only recover the worth of the motor vehicle. Once you have the quote you will need to send that to the responsible driver and demand they pay you within 14 days.
THE RHINO RULE: This information is a general guide only and is not and should not be relied on by you as specific legal advice.