Being in a car accident is stressful and shocking. Your main concern after an accident is the health and safety of yourself and any passengers in your car.
That being said, it is important that you take steps to obtain important information that is necessary for your claim. You should take these steps even if you do not feel like you are hurt because your pain may not start for a few days and, when it does, it could be too late.
1. If Someone is Badly Injured or the Other Driver is not Cooperating, Call 911
You should give all the information you have to the police but keep copies of it all for yourself. Take a card from the officer who helps you so you have his name and contact information.
2. Get the Plate Number of the Other Vehicle
If you have a phone, use it to take a picture! Paper can get lost, and the other driver could leave the scene. A clear picture of the plate will ensure you don’t make any mistakes writing it down or with memory.
3. Get the Driver’s Name and Driver’s License Number
The easiest way to get this is by taking a photo of the person’s driver’s license. If you can’t do that, take the time to write it all down and put the paper in a safe place.
4. Owner’s Name and Insurance Coverage
This information will be on the registration papers. Ask the other driver to see the papers and take a photo of them. The owner’s information is important because if you need to bring a claim, it will be against the owner AND the driver.
5. Name and Contact Details of all Witnesses
Do NOT assume the police will do this. We often have clients tell us there were witnesses but the police do not have any record of them on file. If the witness is a bus driver, you must take down the full name and the identification number of the bus (the route number is NOT enough).
6. Take Photos of Vehicles
It is best to do this at the scene of the accident, especially if it is a hit and run. Make note if other vehicle was a special type of vehicle such as a bus, city vehicle, etc.
7. Take Photos of Accident Location
This includes the intersection and traffic lights. You will need details of the exact location of the accident (street name, number, etc.) and you should take photos of any problems with road like potholes, lights not working, etc.
8. Call ICBC to report the Accident
The 24/7 ICBC dial-a-claim reporting line is 604-520-8222 for the Lower Mainland and 1-800-910-4222 for the rest of BC, Canada, and the US. When you speak to ICBC, do NOT admit fault. Let that be determined at a later date.
9. Hire a Lawyer
Call 604-689-8888 or 1-800-668-3788 to speak to a lawyer from Simpson, Thomas & Associates. It is important to protect your legal rights. After an accident, ICBC will call you and ask lots of questions. ICBC may later use anything you have said against you. If you have a lawyer, ICBC is not allowed to talk to you and your lawyer can protect your best interests.