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What to do After a Car Accident QLD: 7 Step Car Crash Guide

Knowing what to do after a car accident impacts many factors, including your health and legal right to claim compensation. Learn how to recover from a car crash.
A man sitting on the road and talking on his mobile phone following a car accident

Knowing What to Do After a Car Accident is Vital

Knowing what to do after a car accident in Queensland, including a minor car crash, is vital to ensuring the safety of everyone involved and protecting your legal right to claim damages. While it can be terrifying to be involved in a car accident, it can also cost you a lot of money, especially if you end up physically or mentally injured and taking time off work.

Recent statistics from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics show more than 1,000 people sadly pass away on Australian roads every year, and more than 10,000 people are seriously injured in road accidents every month. With stats like that, it is likely just a matter of time before the unexpected happens and you have a collision.

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7 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

Understanding your next steps following a motor vehicle crash helps ensure everyone is safe; you have the evidence you need to make a successful auto insurance claim, get back on the road faster, and claim compensation when the accident is not your fault.

Here are the seven steps following a car accident:

  1. Stay calm and think clearly.
  2. Check for accident injuries.
  3. Move vehicles to a safe location
  4. Call the police
  5. Exchange driver information
  6. Take pictures and videos
  7. File a claim with your insurance company
A couple confused about what to do after car a accident

1. Stay Calm

There is no doubt that being involved in a car accident is stressful, overwhelming, and frightening, particularly if it is your first. Even a minor car accident can trigger a fight-or-flight response and emotional trauma. However your incident occurred, stay calm and think rationally because what you do next will have consequences for recovering your losses.

Here’s what you should do to stay calm and handle the situation effectively:

Avoid Blaming Yourself or Someone Else

You may feel emotional after a crash. It’s easy to blame yourself or others during this challenging time, but don’t apologise. An apology usually admits guilt. Legal liability depends on fault, affecting the outcome of insurance and compensation claims. Accident lawyers who understand compensation and insurance litigation will help you determine fault.

Get Emotional Support

Car accidents happen in an instant and often invoke an emotional response, including psychological injuries. Talking to someone you trust can help you process your feelings and recover. Seeing a qualified road trauma psychologist if you are having trouble coping with your thoughts is also a good idea.

Furthermore, if you decide to lodge a personal injury claim, your compensation lawyer will likely recommend a psychologist or psychiatrist to assess your mental health and provide treatment if necessary. The following section will cover the importance of checking for injuries.

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2. Check for Accident Injuries

Car accidents can result in extensive physical injuries and emotional damage, from minor cuts and bruises to whiplash, fractures, and life-threatening conditions. Immediately after a collision, you must check yourself and other parties for injuries.

Assess Yourself for Injuries

If the crash’s impact does not severely injure you, first check yourself for injuries and then other persons involved in the accident. You can have a considerable adrenaline surge following an accident, which can mask your pain. So, it’s best to seek medical attention immediately, regardless of your feelings.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment

If injured people are at the crash site, call for emergency assistance. An ambulance will take you to the hospital for medical treatment. Be aware that your harm may not show for hours or days, as not all injuries are visible, so X-rays and scans are advisable.

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A tow truck at a crash site

3. Move Motor Vehicles to a Safe Location

After a car accident, there can be numerous hazards to your well-being, especially when the collision is on a busy road or intersection. Here are the steps to move your vehicle to a safe location:.

Check for Hazards and Call a Tow Truck

Before moving, check that there are no hazards present, such as:

  • Leaking fluids
  • Significant debris
  • Damaged electrical wiring
  • Metal fragments
  • Broken glass

If you see any potential risks, ensure the engine is switched off, then move at least 30 metres away from your car. Call a tow truck if you have major damage.

Move to the Kerb and Turn on the Hazard Lights

If no hazards are present, carefully move your motor vehicle to the side of the road. If your hazard lights are working, turn them on, set up traffic cones (if you have them), or signal other drivers where possible. Once moved, please remain inside your vehicle (if there is no fire or smoke or it’s not severely damaged) until someone assists.

Document the Accident Scene

After turning on your hazard lights while waiting for police assistance, document the location of the accident by taking photos and videos of vehicle damage, tyre marks, and the surroundings. This includes the following:

  • Position of traffic lights and signs
  • Licence plate numbers
  • Visible accident injuries
A close-up of a finger turning on the hazard lights in a motor vehicle.

4. Call the Police

You should call the police following a car crash, particularly when the other party is aggressive or someone has a severe injury. There are circumstances in which you are legally required to have police officers attend the crash scene. Here are the steps:

Dial the Emergency Services Number

First, call the emergency phone service number, 000 in Australia. Once your call is answered, they will ask for your location and a brief accident description.

Cooperate with Law Enforcement

Once a police officer arrives at the scene, remain calm and provide all your details and other information. They investigate crashes and will ask for the following information about the drivers involved in the crash:

  • Driver’s license number
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Contact details
  • Insurance details

Get a Copy of the Accident Report

After they have fully assessed the situation, you should receive a copy of the accident report. This document contains the critical information you will need for your insurance claim and personal injury claim, like:

  1. The parties involved in the accident
  2. The accident date, time and location
  3. The cause of the collision

What is the Legal Requirement for Police to Attend a Car Accident?

In Queensland, police must attend to the location of the accident under the following circumstances (which are similar to those in other states of Australia):

  • A fatality or injury that requires medical attention from an ambulance office, doctor or nurse.
  • The accident has caused danger to public safety, such as traffic jams, broken traffic lights, fuel spills, fires, or damaged power lines.
  • Property damage to motor vehicles or other facilities like traffic lights and public infrastructure exists.

The police must also be contacted when:

  • A driver appears to be intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or other substances.
  • The other party won’t provide their details.
  • The driver involved has a disability or impairment.

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5. Exchange Information with the Other Vehicles Involved

It is mandatory to exchange contact information with the other driver involved in a road incident. We recommend you take these steps when exchanging details.

Get Other Motorists’ Contact Details

Get the contact details of other parties, including their name and address, phone and registration numbers, and third-party insurance provider. If someone else drove the vehicle, you’ll need the registered owner’s and driver’s information. If the other driver refuses, you should contact the police, as this is a criminal offence Australia-wide.

Get Witness Details and Statements

Witness statements are valuable for substantiating your version of events. So, please get the contact information of anyone who saw the accident happen or the immediate aftermath. Ask them for a written statement, or your lawyer will chase them once you have legal representation.

Get Their Insurance Information

To repair your car and make a car insurance claim, you will need the other driver’s insurance provider’s details, including the company name and policy number. You will need their driver’s licence number and vehicle registration details if they don’t have insurance.

Exchange Details

You are legally required to exchange details with other drivers after a vehicle accident so everyone can begin the claims process. This information includes insurer details, registration number, name, phone number, and address.

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6. Take Pictures and Video of the Damage

Following a traffic accident, we recommend you take pictures and videos of the vehicles involved. These are the steps you should take to record the damage visually:

Take multiple photos of each vehicle involved in the accident from different angles, including damage to the vehicles’ front, back, sides, and roof. If there are any visible injuries, take photos of them as well.

Take videos of the entire accident scene and surroundings, including:

  • The accident location
  • Skid marks on the road
  • Location of traffic lights and road signs
  • Positions of the accident vehicles
  • Take videos of witnesses (with their permission)

Lastly, use a measuring tool to document the damage, including the length and width of your vehicle and other cars, and give this information to your insurer.

7. Start the Accident Insurance Claim Process

You should start the accident claims process with your insurer immediately after a motor vehicle accident. Here are the steps:

Contact Your Car Insurance Company

Be sure to contact your insurer immediately after the accident to report your claim. Doing this through their mobile app or website makes the claims process easier.

Repair or Replace Your Vehicle

After your claims adjuster has assessed the damages, you can repair or replace your vehicle if your insurance covers accidental damage. If a repair shop can restore your car, your insurer typically arranges a tow truck to a certified panel beater. However, depending on your insurance policy terms, you may get a new car if your vehicle has major damage or is a right-off.

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A man signing a car insurance claim following a car crash

What if I am the At-Fault Driver in a Car Accident?

If you are the at-fault driver in a road accident, what happens next depends on your car insurance policy terms and conditions. For some comprehensive car insurance policies, the insurer will cover most of your damages, and you may need to pay an excess. Others pay out little or nothing when you are to blame.

If you only have compulsory third-party insurance cover (not comprehensive), you will generally be liable for all accident costs. However, as discussed in the following section, this does not include the cost of personal injury damages if the not-at-fault driver makes a claim.

Get Expert Legal Advice After a Car Crash

Getting reliable legal advice following a motor vehicle accident ensures you access all your entitlements. Accident insurers typically seek to deny or reduce your benefits or minimise the severity of your injuries.

Splatt Lawyer’s personal injury legal team has supported Queenslanders with expert legal advice for nearly three decades. You can find comfort in knowing that all our accident compensation lawyers work on a 100% no-win, no-fee basis. As a result, you owe nothing unless we win your case and nothing if you lose. Contact us now for your complimentary case review – Call 1800 700125

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Common Questions After Car Accidents Queensland

Who should I call after a car accident in Queensland?

First, call the police and your insurance provider. Then contact the expert injury compensation team at Splatt Lawyers – Call 1800 700 125

What should I do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

You can make a claim with your insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage. When the accident was not your fault, and you seek compensation, your lawsuit is lodged with the nominal defendant. Our lawyers will explain this process in detail when you contact us.

How long after a car accident can you claim insurance in Australia?

Australian states can have differing deadlines for making car insurance claims. However, the general deadline is typically three years.

How long does it take to process a car insurance claim?

The time it takes to get a successful car insurance payout can range from a few days to several weeks. The extent of damages and the complexity of the claim will determine the time it takes.

What if I can’t afford to pay for repairs or medical bills?

If you struggle financially following a car accident, you should get legal help filing a damages lawsuit to recover losses.

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