A report released by the Australian government in 2018 reveals that, on average, over 1000 people each year are killed in fatal accidents in Australia. This means the average death rate is about 3 per day. The statistics reveal that there are 20.22 road deaths for every 100,000 individuals. The death toll is spread across most of Australia, so there is reason to be cautious while driving on the roads.
Here is the challenge
Putting aside the road toll statistics, a major issue has been the fact that many people do not know what to do when they are involved in a car accident. Being in a car accident is a traumatic event. Many people cannot think calmly due to the stress and tension when exposed to such trauma. It is for this reason that you need a guide in order to know the right steps to take after being involved in a car crash.
It is not enough just to park your car in a safe place, to check whether there are any casualties or injured persons, or seek medical attention and treatment. There are also other important steps you need to take from a legal perspective.
Contact a lawyer
The benefits of having a personal injury lawyer to guide and assist following a car accident should not be ignored. Most people believe that car accident cases are something they can handle on their own, but self-representation has many dangers and pitfalls, and it is important that an individual secure the expertise of a personal injury lawyer. It is rarely too early or late to make the decision to speak with a lawyer after being involved in an accident.
The following are red flags that should alert an injured victim to seek the expertise of personal injury lawyer:
· When the accident involves a significant injury or death;
· When it is not clear who caused the accident and has liability in relation to the crash;
· When there are multiple parties, or pedestrians and cyclists, involved in the accident;
· When the police report on the accident is not accurate;
· When an insurer takes issue with your claim, or delays in coming to a decision;
· When an insurer fails to fund, or does not agree to fund, treatment recommended by your treating doctors.
These are instances when you will need to engage the help of a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will handle all the complicated legal matters involving the accident, therefore allowing you to focus on your recovery from the injury sustained in the accident. Many people do not understand that often in personal injury cases there will be conflicting evidence in relation to the nature and status of the injury, or the victims capacity for work, and so on, in addition to liability for the accident. These are characterized by accusations and counter-accusations within statements and medical reports. It is the responsibility of your personal injury lawyer to adopt the best strategies that can help ensure your case is properly put forward for a favorable outcome. There are very few accident cases where the help of a personal injury lawyer is not needed.
Contact your insurance company
Most insurance policies have notification requirements that have to be complied with. Insurance companies have internal processes and procedures that the accident victim is often not aware of. A competent personal injury lawyer will know these processes and effectively progress your case on your behalf. For example, before most insurance companies process any substantial payments in motor vehicle accident claims, an investigation would be carried out. This may involve getting statements, or a police report. It will often also involve getting a medical report from the treating general practitioner. Sometimes, opinions are secured from specialists. How these are done will impact on the personal injury claim. This is why you need a competent personal injury lawyer to protect your interests. Don’t forget that insurance companies have lawyers that are representing their own interests.
Acting in their own interests, insurers will invariably source evidence from their favorite doctors and seek answers to questions that best favor their position to support a denial of the claim. Pursuing motor vehicle accident claims is not as straightforward as one might think. The perspective that you have of what happened in the accident, or the impact of your injuries, is not the only perspective that will be taken into account in assessing the claim. Often there is more than one perspective, and there will be evidence that will be collected by the insurer to challenge your claim.
Unrepresented claimants often lose out when it comes to receiving motor vehicle accident claims because they simply accept the decision made by the insurance companies. It is important to seek legal advice and not simply accept any offer of settlement made by an insurer. In fact, a claimant should not sign any documentation requested without checking with a lawyer. It makes sense to have an experienced personal injury lawyer in Perth by your side before resolving your claim.
Contact the police
In Western Australia, the driver of a vehicle must report a traffic crash to the police where:
- the accident resulted in bodily harm to any person;
- the total value of property damaged to all involved parties exceeds $3,000; or
- the owner or representative of any damaged property is not present.
The police should be contacted as soon as practicable in the case of a major accident. When they arrive at the scene of the accident, they will then be able to take the necessary evidence from the accident scene.
Remember to note the following information for the police:
- date of crash
- time of crash
- precise location of crash
- your personal details (taken from your driver’s license)
- your driver’s license number and expiry details
- your vehicle license plate and expiry details
- details of other involved drivers/passengers/owners/vehicles/witnesses
- details of your injuries and other person’s injuries
- crash features (traffic control, road features, road alignment, other conditions)
- total estimated cost of damage to all vehicles and property
- description of how the crash happened
- digital photo/images of the crash incident and vehicle damage.
If it is not a major accident, your police report can be done after you get home and can access a computer. The report can be done electronically online through crashreport.com.au
Even in minor accidents where there is little damage, an online police report should still be completed. In Western Australia, there will be issues making a personal injury claim without an online crash report being completed.
Don’t forget to save and print the online police report. Your compensation lawyers in Perth will want a copy of your police report.
You can see that there are various legal obligations that arise from being involved in a car accident. There is more that needs to be done, apart from the obvious argument about who is at fault, getting everyone to safety, taking photos, checking for the safety of other passengers, and seeking medical attention. Although these things all need to be attended to, there are 3 things that are perhaps not so obvious that are important – contacting your lawyer, contacting your insurer, and contacting the police. Make sure that you have a competent and accomplished personal injury lawyer on your side.
Soul Legal, personal injuries lawyers Perth, specializes in helping victims injured in car accidents, and is one of Perth’s most trusted personal injury law firms, having served the Western Australian community for over 20 years. Contact Soul Legal today for an obligation free motor vehicle compensation claims appointment.
Director / Partner Soul Legal