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What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident: Vancouver Lawyers’ Top Tips

A car crash can be a very traumatic experience. Even the calmest of people can be quite shaken up due to shock or injury following a motor accident. Vancouver lawyers who represent accident victims often hear their clients say that they felt overwhelmed and did not know what to do after the accident. 


Vancouver personal injury lawyers’ top tips

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are important steps to take at the scene of the accident and immediately afterward. Knowing what to do after a motor vehicle accident can protect you and your claim for compensation for personal injury. Vancouver lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP gathered these top tips on what to do after a crash; hopefully this information will be useful if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident.


Immediately after the accident

The safety and well-being of people involved are the top priorities. Once your vehicle is safely stopped, ensure that it is visible to other users of the road by turning on the hazard lights. It is also very important to ensure that it is safe before getting out of your vehicle. Be especially cautious when exiting your vehicle in the dark, in poor weather, or in a high-traffic area. 

Check yourself and any passengers for injuries, and check with anyone else involved in the accident. Call 911 if urgent medical attention is needed. Keep in mind that panic and shock may cause people to downplay injuries. A symptom like dizziness should be checked out – it could be a sign of a concussion. X-rays may be needed to rule out injuries to bones. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution by seeking immediate medical attention. 

You must report the accident to the police if anyone is injured as a result of the accident, if you suspect any criminal offences such as impaired driving, or if the accident caused serious damage to vehicles or other property (e.g., a lamp post or traffic light stand).

While still at the accident scene

After safety and well-being are seen to, the next priority is to gather information, including: 

  1. The name, driver’s licence number, and contact information for each person involved in the accident (regardless of who may have been at fault or how minor the accident may seem);
  2. The make, model, colour, and licence plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident;
  3. Insurance information for vehicles not insured by ICBC; 
  4. Names and contact information of any witnesses; and
  5. The police file number (if applicable). 

It is a good idea to take pictures of the vehicles and scene of the accident. You should make notes about where and how the accident occurred while it is still fresh in your mind. In particular, you should note the cross-streets and any features that may have factored into the accident (e.g. speed limits, road conditions, weather). It may also be useful to sketch the accident scene and jot down what witnesses told you about what they saw.

You should never leave the scene of the accident before reporting the accident to the police or exchanging information with the other people involved in the accident. If you do, you can be charged under the Motor Vehicle Act and you may be in breach of your contract of insurance with ICBC. If the other driver flees the scene, be aware that ICBC has detailed requirements for hit and run claims, which we have previously discussed. Talk to one of our motor accident lawyers if you have specific questions about hit and run claims.

Once you leave the scene of the accident 

If you are injured, seek medical attention. You should see a doctor to detect any overlooked injuries and to obtain recommendations for treatment and recovery. Seeing a doctor is also important to document your injuries and create a formal record for your personal injury claim. In the days and weeks following the accident, be on the lookout for additional injuries. Continue to see your doctor for follow up visits for as long as you continue to have symptoms from your injuries. 

You must report your injury claim to ICBC online or by calling Dial-a-Claim. To protect your rights to ICBC accident benefits, you should report the accident to ICBC as soon as possible (ideally within 24-48 hours after the accident). Be aware that what you say to ICBC will be recorded and passed on to the ICBC adjuster assigned to your claim.


Vancouver motor accident lawyers can help injured victims

If you have been injured in a crash, legal advice is critical as soon as possible after the accident. The motor accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP can provide you with legal advice specific to your case before you contact ICBC. For example, we can advise whether to provide a written statement to ICBC setting out the circumstances of your accident and your injuries. By talking to one of our experienced car accident lawyers, you can be confident that your decisions best reflect your needs and ensure that your rights will be respected. 

The team of motor accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP would be pleased to talk with you about your case. Contact us at 1-855-852-5100 for a free consultation at any of our 13 offices throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

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