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What to do at the scene of a car accident

Being involved in a road traffic accident can be a stressful and confusing experience. Regardless how the accident occurred or who was at fault, it is important to protect your safety and legal rights.

This guide can be used to help those involved in a motor vehicle accident as driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclists to map out the steps needed to be taken to ensure you fulfil your legal obligations.

At the scene

Remain calm and assess your injuries. If you or your passengers do not need immediate medical assistance, move your car out of the way of the traffic and switch on your hazard lights. Sometimes among the commotion of an accident it can be easy to forget to collect certain details. Use the below checklist to record important information.

At the scene check list

Collect other driver/s details

Date and time: ___________________

Driver’s phone number: ____

Location: __

Driver’s vehicle registration: _

Driver’s name: ____

Driver’s Insurer: ___

Driver’s address:_

Driver’s vehicle make and model: __

Take photos from multiple points of view

It is important that your photos tell a story of the accident to help insurers get the whole picture. This will help them determine who was at fault. Make sure to include the following photos at the scene:

  • Photos of the entire scene
  • Photos of impact from several angles
  • Photos of traffic signs and light in relation to the accident
  • Photos of skid marks
  • Photo any public or private property that was damaged
  • Photos of broken glass or damage to your car
Collect contact details of witnesses

Witness’s name: ____

Witness’s involvement (i.e. pedestrian/driver etc..): ___

Witness’s phone number: ___

Contact Police

Police should have been called at the scene of the accident if someone is injured, a fatality has occurred or property has been damaged and the owner is not present. You have up to 24 hours after an accident to report the crash to the Police. They will provide you with a report number to use during your insurance claim.

Reach out to your insurer

To start your claim you will need to report the accident to your car insurer. Every driver in Australia has at least Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance. After you have given the details of the accident to the insurer they will begin to investigate who was at fault for the accident.


Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 26, 2018.

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