In this twelve-part blog series, personal injury lawyers Bree Hankins and Adrienne Staley discuss important steps to follow after a motor vehicle accident and what you need to know about making a personal injury claim.
Part One: I’ve just been in a motor vehicle accident, what should I do?
It happened, you were just in a motor vehicle accident. You are in shock. You are not sure what to do. Don’t panic, just follow these easy to remember steps:
1. Assess everyone’s safety.
Is anyone in need of urgent medical care? If so, call 911. If the accident occurred in an intersection, assess whether you can safely get out of your vehicle, before you get out. If it is safe to do so, see if you can take pictures of the vehicles involved before moving them.
2. Call the RCMP.
Report the accident to the RCMP. They will ask questions about the severity and location of the accident. If they believe it is necessary, they will dispatch an officer to the scene. Follow whatever instructions the police dispatcher gives you.
3. Move your vehicle.
If it is safe to do so, your vehicle is in driving condition, and you have not been told by the RCMP to stay put, move your vehicle off to the side of the road where it is out of the way of other traffic.
4. Speak to the other driver.
Speak to the other driver involved in the accident and obtain their name, driver’s licence number, contact information and license plate number. You will need this information for ICBC. If the other driver is not from BC, you also need their insurance information. If the other driver says anything to you about what caused the accident, make a note of it in your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Don’t volunteer any information about what caused the accident yourself.
5. Consider the accident scene.
If you haven’t already done so, take photographs of both vehicles and the area where the accident occurred. Make a note of the date and time of the accident. Make note of the weather conditions. Make note of anything that stands out to you.
6. Speak to other people at the scene.
If anyone stops to help you or the other driver, get their name and phone number. Ask them what they saw and make a note of it in your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Talk to everyone that stops to help and is at the scene, or pedestrians or bicyclists that were in the area to get their information.
7. Report the accident to ICBC.
You should report the accident as soon as possible to ICBC. You can report it online at icbc.com or 1-800-910-4222.