No one wants to be involved in a car accident when they get behind the wheel, but if the unfortunate strikes it’s important to know exactly what to do. Collecting the right information at the scene of the accident will help to make the insurance claims and repairs process as quick and pain free as possible. Follow these 5 steps to help your insurer help you.
What do you do after a car accident in Australia?
So, you’ve just had a bingle on the road but you’re not quite sure what to do next. Regardless of the severity of the incident, it’s important to follow these 5 steps to make sure everyone involved in the accident is OK and to make things simple when it comes to lodging a car insurance claim for repairs.
- Make sure everyone’s ok. If someone needs urgent medical assistance or the accident has created a hazardous environment, call 000 (triple zero) immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and emergency services are well versed when it comes to road incidents. If someone has sustained a less serious injury or the property of a third party that isn’t in attendance has been damaged, you should let local police know via their non-urgent lines (as per your local requirements). Once everyone has been looked after, you should move the cars involved off the road if it is safe to do so.
- Exchange contact details with the parties involved. Be sure to swap full names, addresses, license and registration numbers and insurance details. If someone is unwilling to cooperate, take note or a picture of their license plate number. Don’t forget to take the details of anyone who may have witnessed the accident too.
- Take pictures of the scene. If it is safe to do so, get some shots of the vehicles involved, the number plates and any specific damage to the vehicles or other property as a result of the damage. This can come in helpful later down the track.
- Notify your insurer. Lodge a claim online with your insurer or give them a buzz to let them know what’s happened. They can talk you through the next steps and help you to figure out the best course of action depending on the amount of damage and the type of car insurance that you have.
- Avoid discussing fault. For your protection, it’s best not to admit fault or discuss who’s at fault with the other parties. Just follow the steps above and your insurer should take care of the rest.
Do you have to call the police after a minor car accident?
If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident, you may not need to call the police to attend the scene. There are a few instances where ‘police attendance criteria’ might be met and police should attend the scene.
Use your common sense and judgement at the time, however, generally only call emergency services on 000 (triple zero) if:
- There has been a death or injury that requires medical attention from a qualified ambulance officer, nurse or doctor, or
- The accident has created a hazardous environment or is a threat to public safety, including traffic congestion (i.e. fuel spill, power lines down, etc).
If the incident is minor, you must still stop at the scene and provide your details to the other driver and you may also need to call the non-urgent Policelink number 131 444 if any of the following ‘police attendance criteria’ are met:
- You suspect drugs or alcohol might be involved,
- A driver refuses to provide the required details, or
- A driver with an impairment or disability is in need of police assistance.
If none of the above ‘police attendance criteria’ are met, then there’s no need to involve the police in a minor car accident. Instead, you can manage the situation yourself by following the above steps and exchanging the relevant information with the affected parties.
What to do if someone has been injured in the accident?
It’s always best to notify your insurer of any incidents as soon as practically possible after an accident to file a claim. Claim lodgement cutoffs differ depending on the type of car insurance and the insurers themselves, so be sure to check your PDS to check how long you have to lodge a claim.
Drivers across all Australian states and territories must have Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP) at a minimum to legally drive. CTP insurance provides financial protection for drivers against injury or death caused to third parties in an accident, but it does not cover damage to vehicles or property.
If you only have CTP insurance, the time limit for making a claim for personal injury differs depending on which state or territory your car is registered in. It also depends on whether there is a single CTP provider and if the state operates under a no fault scheme.
Being involved in an accident can be incredibly stressful, but by following the steps detailed above you should have all the information you need to make the insurance claims and repairs process as seamless as possible. If you’re insured with Youi, our dedicated claims advisors are available 24/7 365 to help lodge your claim and have you back on the road as soon as possible.