Being the victim of a car crash can be a jarring and frightening experience. Whether it is a minor fender bender or a major motor vehicle accident, it is a scary and inconvenient occurrence, often leaving you with a feeling of “what now?”
Why Motor Vehicle Accidents Happen
Car accidents can happen due to several combining factors:
- Speed: speed kills, period. There are posted limits on all roads in BC for a reason; sadly not everyone abides by these limits. Speeding is one of the leading causes of car crash fatalities in the province. You can practice safe driving by slowing down, passing with care and keeping a safe distance between other cars.
- High-risk driving, such as pulling into traffic without giving yourself enough time or space, tailgating, or failing to yield, are all high-risk driving behaviours
- Distracted driving: Texting, talking on your phone without a hands-free device is distracting and contributes to accidents.
- Impaired driving: This is not only dangerous but also illegal. Always plan a safe ride home if you’ve been drinking. You’ll be helping to keep our roads safer for everyone.
What To Do Following a Car Crash?
Although you may be feeling frightened after a car crash, it’s important to stay calm and follow the protocol listed below. Ensure that you or anyone else involved in the accident does not require immediate medical attention. If anyone does require immediate medical attention, dial 9-1-1 for assistance.
If immediate medical attention is not required, usually emergency responders (such as police, fire and paramedics) will not attend the scene.
When the vehicles have been pulled over to a safe spot, or emergency personnel have secured the scene, and it is safe to do so, you will need to exchange the following information with the other party involved in the accident:
- The license plate number and the year, make, and model of each vehicle involved
- Your personal information, including your name, address, and driver’s license number
- The names and address of the owners of the vehicles (if you’re not the owner)
- The name of your insurance company
- Your phone number, if necessary
If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and any necessary contact information, such as phone number, email or address. Further, if the police are on the scene, be sure to ask for the police file number for your reference.
If you have a camera (e.g. on your cell phone), and if it is safe to do so, you should take pictures of the accident scene and surrounding area. Include the intersection or area of the road, any skid marks on the pavement, damage to all vehicles involved, and any visible injuries to yourself that have appeared (bruises or lacerations).
Once the scene has been secured and you are finished with all involved parties (witnesses and drivers) and emergency responders, you should seek medical attention to have your injuries assessed and documented by a medical professional. If possible, you may want to get a friend or family member to take you to the hospital, your doctor or a walk-in clinic.
Finally, after you have received the appropriate medical attention, contact your insurance company. If you get your insurance through ICBC, call the Dial-a-Claim service at 604-520-8222 (Lower Mainland) or 1-800-910-4222 outside of the Lower Mainland.
During this phone call, you will report the accident by giving the pertinent details about the accident, as well as a description of how the accident occurred. You will be assigned an ICBC claim number and an appointment to meet with an ICBC estimator and adjuster. The estimator will assess the damage to your vehicle while the bodily injury adjuster will discuss your injury claim with you.