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I’ve had a motor vehicle accident – what do I do next?

First things first, stop and check everyone is okay then call police, fire, and/or ambulance if needed. Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is an offence.

  • If everyone is okay, it is a good idea to get footage of the accident scene – if it is safe to do so.

Then you will need to do the following:

  • Exchange your details with all the drivers of all vehicles involved and the owners of any other property which has been damaged.
  • Get the registration and other details of all vehicles involved.
  • Get the names and contact details of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
  • The exact location of the accident.
  • It is also important to take note of what is around you i.e. lighting, signage, traffic flow, road conditions, and the weather.
  • If police attend, get the vehicle collision report number from them.

If you cannot obtain all the necessary details and police are in attendance they will get the details needed.

If you are not taken to hospital, you should have your injuries medically assesses as soon as possible. Make sure the doctor (whether it is your GP or at a hospital) records all of your injuries. A doctor can make a better medical assessment of your health if they have all the information.

If police did not attend the scene, make sure you report the accident to police as soon as possible. South Australian law requires all motor vehicle accidents where people are hurt or there is significant property damage (over $3,000) to be reported to police – whether you are at fault or not. Accidents were a person has died or been injured need to be reported to police within 90 minutes. Accidents were no one was hurt may be reported online if you have all of the relevant information or in person at the police station as soon as possible or within 24 hours.

To report the accident, you will need all the information mentioned above. Police will then give you a vehicle collision number – this is an important number you will need to lodge a claim with the CTP insurer. Reporting the accident to police is also likely to assist with any claims you need to make to an insurance company for the damage to your car or other property.

Next it is also important to take photos of any injuries you may have and the damage to your car. Keep copies of all repair quotes and invoices you obtain.

Just as a side issue here, it is important to be careful with what you are signing when you drop your car in for repairs, have your car towed, book online for a medical appointment, or anything similar as you may be giving the organisation the okay to sell your contact details to a third party. If this happens, you could end up with more phone calls than you want; and I mean a lot of calls. So the motto here is “make sure you thoroughly check what you are signing”.

There are some important time limits you need to be aware of if you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident, they are:

  • You need to lodge a claim with the CTP (compulsory third party) insurer within 6 months.
  • You then have other court imposed deadlines, which you should not miss as it is likely to jeopardise any potential claim you may have.

If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident give Georgiadis Lawyers a call on 8210 5400 or send us an email and we’ll call you.

This article was written by Dionne Franklin a personal injury lawyer with Georgiadis Lawyer, South Australia.

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