I’ve Had a Car Accident!! What do I do Now?
Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely scary and unsettling thing. Knowing some basic things that you need to do at the scene of the accident and in the immediate aftermath can help ease some of the stress and anxiety that follows:
At the scene:
- If anyone is hurt make sure that you call 911. An ambulance, the fire department and the police will all attend and will provide assistance at the scene of the accident both in stabilizing anyone who has suffered significant injuries, dealing with the vehicles and assisting with exchanging information with the other parties;
- Move your vehicles to a safe place if they are drivable. Off to the side of the road or into a parking lot is a good option so that you can safely deal with the aftermath of the accident. It is always a good idea to take a photo of the location of the vehicles after the crash if possible, but only do so if this can be done safely;
- Once you have moved your vehicle out of the way of traffic, you need to exchange information with the other driver. The information that you need to get is their name and address as well as their driver’s license number and the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle. Note the license plate number of the vehicle;
- If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information. Do this whether or not you think that there may be an issue about whose fault the accident is and do this whether or not you think that the witness supports you;
- Take photos of any skid marks or debris left on the road from the accident;
- Check to see whether your car can be safely driven away from the scene of the accident or not. If it can’t then call a tow truck to transport your vehicle for you;
- Make sure that you have calmed down before you drive away. Take the time that you need to calm yourself so that you can safely drive.
In the immediate aftermath:
- Report your claim to ICBC – you can report most claims online. The only claims that can’t be reported online are ones involving a hit and run, a crash outside BC or an accident involving only glass and windshield damage. The online claim form can be accessed here: http://www.icbc.com/claims/Pages/Report-a-claim-online.aspx If you need to phone ICBC you can reach them at 604-520-8222 or 1-800-910-4222 if you are outside the lower mainland. Once you have sent in your online report you will receive an email with a confirmation number. An adjuster will contact you after this. When you are reporting the online claim you will need the following information:
- the location of the accident
- the license plate number of each vehicle that was involved in the accident
- the driver’s license number of each driver
- insurance information for any vehicle that is not insured by ICBC
- where you want to get your car repaired
- the police file number
- Make sure you get the appropriate medical attention. If you feel that you have been injured go to a hospital or clinic for medical attention. Following the advice that you are given will help ensure that you have the best possible chance of recovering quickly and fully;
- Get advice from a lawyer. ICBC claims are very adversarial. ICBC adjusters jobs are to close your claim as quickly as possible and by paying as little as possible. ICBC adjusters know the system very well which puts you at a disadvantage unless you have experienced legal counsel assisting you.
I offer free consultations in all ICBC cases during which time I will review in detail with you the circumstances of your accident and the injuries that you suffered, I will explain how the ICBC system will work in your particular case and explain your rights in the process. I ensure that all of my clients get all that they are entitled to after being involved in a motor vehicle accident and that their rights are fully protected.