Witnessing a vehicle crash or being involved in one can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Most of us hope we won’t come across this scenario too often in our lifetimes but car accidents are common so it’s important to know what steps you should take if you ever find yourself at the scene of a crash.

What should you do if you witness a crash?

If you have witnessed a crash and you can safely check to see if the person involved is ok, it’s a good idea to do this. Some people are fearful that they don’t have the knowledge or skills to be able to help or are worried about the ramifications of helping only to later get sued for trying to do the right thing. While someone can sue you for helping them, you should know that not one case in this country has ever been won against a first responder being a good samaritan so this is something you should not worry about when seeing someone that is hurt.

If someone is injured, call 000 for assistance immediately. If the casualty is conscious ask for their consent before providing first aid. If it is a child and there is a parent at the scene, ask them if you can help the child. If they are incoherent or unconscious, you can’t ask for consent, so it is implied consent, and you should proceed to apply first aid.

Emergency services will talk you through the first aid steps you need to take

The Emergency Medical Dispatch Officer will guide you through the steps you should take over the phone while waiting for help to arrive. It’s important to stay calm so your answers can be heard clearly, and help can attend to the scene as soon as possible.

In serious cases, the steps you take in these moments could save a life. You must think of your safety before rushing in to help, if it isn’t safe to assist, you should wait for emergency services to arrive. Once the paramedics have taken over, you should write down what happened and the treatment you provided as soon as you can so it is fresh in your mind. Police will likely want a statement from you. Keep a copy for yourself too.

What should you do if you were involved in the crash?

Many of us will be involved in some sort of vehicle accident at some point. Whether its someone accidentally reversing into us or something more serious. If someone has been injured, it must be reported to the police. If not, you could face charges for leaving the scene. If you are injured and incapacitated from the accident, you may not be able to follow the steps below:

Stop

If you have been in a vehicle accident whether it was from your wrongdoing or not, you need to stop and exchange details with the driver. If someone is injured, you must wait until the police and ambulance have arrived before leaving. The only circumstance where it would be acceptable to leave is if you were going to get help for others or yourself.

Report the crash

If there is damage to yours or someone else’s vehicle it needs to be reported to the police. If they attend, they may test you and the other driver for drugs or alcohol and will ask for a description of the events that led to the accident.

Notify your insurer

You should advise your insurer as soon as you can even if you are not claiming for the accident.

Making a claim against the other driver

If you believe the accident was caused by the other person’s driving, you can make a claim to cover the damages. You will need to get a quote from a repairer. If the car can be repaired, you can claim for labour and parts, towing etc. If it’s written off or the repairs cost more than the cost of the car itself, you can claim to have the valuation amount paid out.

The other driver is making a claim against you

If the other driver believes you were the one who is responsible for the crash, they can make a claim against you for damages. In most cases, they will send you a letter of demand. If you have insurance, you can pass this on to them. If you don’t have insurance, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a legal professional. They can advise you of your options and what the most appropriate steps are.

When should I seek legal advice?

  1. If you and the other driver cannot agree about who was at fault
  2. Your insurance company is disputing your claim
  3. You and the other driver are going to court as an agreement hasn’t been reached
  4. There is a disagreement about the extent of damage
  5. If you were injured as a result of the crash

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and would like some advice from a lawyer, get in touch with our expert team here at SouthEast Injury Lawyers. We are experts in the field and work on a ‘No win, No fee basis and offer free case reviews that are strictly confidential. Simply fill out your details on our online form and one of our senior lawyers will be in contact shortly.