In the minutes and hours immediately after being involved in a car accident, shock and stress may cause you to make rash and potentially damaging decisions. There are, however, several things you should avoid doing if you’re ever involved in an on-road accident.
You may have read our article on 10 things TO DO after an accident, so here are the top 10 things you should NOT do after a car accident.
1. Flee the scene
The first rule is to never flee the scene of the accident without first stopping to assess the situation – even if you feel there’s been no real damage.
No matter how minor you feel the accident to be, always stop your vehicle somewhere safe to make sure all passengers are safe and there is no damage to any property.
Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is illegal in certain situations and may result in a sizeable fine or — in the worst situations — even jail time.
If the other vehicle in question flees the scene in a hit and run, make sure report the incident to a police station.
2. Not calling the police
According to the Queensland Police, you must stop at the scene and call 000 (triple zero) if any of the following ‘police attendance criteria’ are met:
- Death or injury requiring medical attention from a qualified health professional (ambulance officer, nurse or doctor)
- Hazardous environment or threat to public safety (fuel spill, broken power lines, traffic congestion).
You should also call the police if:
- You suspect the other driver to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The other driver is refusing to provide required details.
- A driver with an impairment or disability requires police assistance.
- There is significant damage to either vehicle.
- Anyone has suffered injury.
In general, it is prudent to report the crash to the QPS.
3. Forgetting to collect information
Whether you are at-fault or not, ensure you collect all relevant information from the other driver. This includes their:
- Name and address
- Phone number
- Insurance details
- Details of owner of the vehicle (if the other driver is not owner)
- Vehicle registration number
- Any other information necessary to identify the vehicle
- Name and contact details for any witnesses to the accident.
If the other driver leaves the scene before you can get what you need, try to write down as many identifying details you can (colour of vehicle, condition, model year etc). Pass these details onto police.
4. Not seeking medical attention
Even if you don’t think you were injured in the accident, it is recommended that you seek medical attention. This is because some injuries, like whiplash, may not be apparent until sometime after the accident.
Other hidden injuries may include things like concussion. There are lots of conflicting opinions out there around resting and sleeping with head injuries after a car accident. We therefore recommend seeking the opinion of a trained medical professional who can consider your injuries and make an assessment.
5. Not getting details of witnesses
Aim to gather all the information on the accident as accurately as possible. Failing to do so may result in your case becoming a back and forth of “they said, I said”.
If there are any other witnesses to the crash, outside of you and the other driver, look to grab their details. You may later decide to call on them later to provide a witness statement.
Other witnesses can corroborate your story in the event of a dispute and may be an invaluable asset.
6. Not telling your insurer
Always get in contact with your insurer as soon as is safe and practical. No matter how minor or major the crash, or whether you believe yourself to be the at-fault party, make sure your insurance provider is kept in the loop.
7. Not obtaining a record of the incident
If notified, the Queensland Police will create a Traffic Incident Report of your crash. You can access a copy of this report if you were involved in the incident or have a bona fide interest in it.
Remember, even if you do not require a police officer to attend the scene of your accident, you should still file a report within 24 hours.
Traffic incident reports provide information on the following details of your accident:
- Incident Scene and Event
- Crash Description
- Unit Details
- Towed Vehicles
- Damaged Property
- Persons Killed or Injured (Victims)
8. Not contacting a lawyer
You may want to consider getting in contact with a lawyer after an incident on the roads. Even if you feel your car accident was minor, you may still want to consider speaking with a legal professional.
If you’re not at-fault, a legal professional can walk you through the claims process and explain your rights, as well as any damages you may be entitled to.
Overall, motor vehicle accident law in Queensland can be complicated. Hiring a trained legal professional may help simplify the process and give you peace of mind.
9. Not making sure the scene is safe
The safety of you, your passengers, as well as other drivers and road-users is the biggest concern immediately after a car accident.
If a hazardous environment has been created due to the incident, make sure you call emergency services immediately on 000.
Make sure all other passengers and participants in the accident are safe – including any pedestrians involved in the incident.
If there is any hazardous debris on the road, report it to police as quickly as possible but do not attempt to clear the road yourself.
10. Not taking photos
Photos of the incident can be some of the most helpful pieces of information during the claims process. Simply use the camera on your smartphone to take photo evidence at short notice.
Remember to get as many photos as you can of any damages – both to your vehicle and that of the other party’s. Do not attempt to get photos if it is unsafe to do so. Do not put yourself or any other road-users in danger when trying to collect evidence.
Can Gouldson help me after a car accident?
We sure can!
Gouldson are motor vehicle accident lawyers that specialise in helping Queenslanders make a claim and get what is owed to them. Gouldson translates legalese into plain English, so you understand exactly what your rights are at every stage of the claims process.
If you have recently been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you can have your case reviewed for free by one of our qualified lawyers. Start by scrolling down to the case review form at the bottom of this page.