Being in a motor vehicle accident can be an extremely scary thing. There is the shock of the accident itself, the potential of injured people including yourself and the myriad of details that you need to keep in mind to ensure that any claim that you may make following the accident for compensation for the injuries that you have suffered is not compromised. Keep the following nine tips in mind at the accident scene to protect your claim:
- Move the vehicles safely out of the way of traffic if possible. This will keep the flow of traffic around you going and will eliminate some of the stress involved with having cars backed up due to the accident;
- Obtain the name and contact information of the other involved driver. The easiest way to do this is to take a photo with your smart phone of the other individual’s driver’s license. This eliminates the potential of you losing the piece of paper that you have written the name on and also lessens the possibility of the other motorist providing you with false information;
- Obtain the license plate number of all other involved vehicles. Again the easiest way to do this is to take a photo of the vehicle registration;
- If the other motorist flees the scene of the accident, do everything that you can to obtain the plate number of the vehicle. This is a hit and run claim and in a hit and run claim if you have not made reasonable efforts to identify the other motorist, your claim will be denied. If you can’t get the plate number, make sure you note the color and type of vehicle and talk to any potential witness at the scene to get information about the other vehicle;
- Obtain the names and contact information of every witness that you can identify, even if it seems clear to you that the other motorist is at fault. These witnesses may have important information beyond how the accident itself happened and if they are not identified at the scene of the accident they will never be identified;
- Take photos of the accident scene and any vehicle damage or vehicle parts on the road. Include photos of any skid marks or damage to property;
- If there are injuries, call the police and ask them to attend;
- Make sure that everyone who requires medical attention at the scene of the accident obtains it;
- Make notes of the conversations that you have at the scene of the accident with other motorists or witnesses. If you don’t, it will be difficult for you to remember what was said after. As well, be careful about what you say to the other motorist. They will tell ICBC anything that you say and it can be interpreted against you.
If you keep these nine tips in mind at an accident scene you will have taken important steps to ensure that your claim for damages is protected.