Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents happen and they happen despite you being a careful, conscientious driver. They happen because of inadvertence, they happen because of distraction and they happen because people make mistakes when they are driving. If you do have the unfortunate experience of being in a car accident you can protect yourself by taking the following steps:
- Call the Police – having the police attend the scene of the accident can provide invaluable evidence including measurements and issuing of traffic citations;
- Get the other driver’s insurance information – it is absolutely vital that you obtain the other motorists information, including their name and their insurance documentation. If nothing else, take a photo with your cell phone of their license plate and driver’s license;
- Take photos of the damage to the cars – Photos of the resting point of the vehicles can be very beneficial but at the very least take photos from a variety of angles of the damage to all cars involved in the accident and of any debris on the road due to the accident;
- Get the complete contact information for all witnesses – Obtain complete contact information for any witnesses to the accident even if you think that the accident was clearly the other driver’s fault;
- Call ICBC to report the accident – You have a duty to report the accident to ICBC. Most claims can be made online here;
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible – If you are injured in the accident it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. In some situations this may mean calling an ambulance to transport you to the hospital and on other situations it may mean attending a walk in clinic or seeing your family doctor;
- Obtain legal advice about your rights to ensure that you get all the compensation that you are entitled to – our law provides that you are entitled to the compensation necessary to return you to the position that you would have been in if you had not been injured due to someone else’s fault. Calculating what that amount is can be very complicated and you should always obtain legal advice to ensure that you are getting adequate compensation for the losses that you have suffered.