First Steps After an Accident
- Stay safe. Don’t rush. Stay in your vehicle. Take a breath. Take as long as you need to take stock of what has happened and note your surroundings. Are you hurt? Are your passengers hurt? Do you need to call 9-1-1?
- If you suspect you have injured your spinal cord, then keep still and wait for assistance from others. Spinal cord injuries can become catastrophic if you move.
- If you do not require immediate medical assistance, then turn on your hazard lights and pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and out of harm’s way.
- Call the police. Note: A collision must be reported to the Calgary Police when there are injuries, damage exceeds $2,000 or you are the victim of a hit and run.
- Call your insurance broker.
- You will tell your insurance broker and the police about how the accident happened. Do not complicate the matter or compromise your legal position by making statements to others, including the other driver.
- If other drivers are involved and they are cooperative, try to obtain and exchange the information listed below. However, if they are argumentative or belligerent, then remain in your vehicle and wait for the police to arrive.
Information to Obtain from Others (If Possible)
- From the drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident:
- license plate numbers
- view the drivers’ licenses, and note or photograph the name, address and license number
- name and contact information
- basic insurance information
- From other passengers: names and contact numbers, and addresses.
- If there are other witnesses, try to obtain their names, numbers, and addresses.
Some Helpful Tips to Protect Your Legal Interests
- Photograph the license plate of the other vehicle involved.
- Make and keep notes on your injuries and medical treatment. This will improve the probability of getting proper compensation for your injuries.
- Take photos of the accident location, making sure to include stop signs and traffic lights
- Take photos of your car damage from every angle
- Keep records of expenses incurred to deal with your injuries, including parking, taxi, medical expenses, etc.
- Keep a calendar and note the days you miss work and the reason. For example, taking time off to visit your medical treatment provider.
- You will be contacted by an insurance adjuster and will be offered money to settle your claim. Do not, settle your claim without first getting legal advice.
If you have been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, you are probably wondering “what do I do?” and “should I sue?”