Accidents are awful for the people who have been in them, as well as for their loved ones – even if it’s a fairly minor fender bender, things can be frightening and shocking.
Many things may go through your mind after the accident and you may feel helpless in case you are alone – but you can begin to put things in order by using the strengths of your Iphone or similar smart phone device.
- Call for help – if anyone is injured you must call for medical assistance.
- Report to the Police – if it’s minor, the accident will probably just need an event number, which ringing the Police Assistance Line will get you. If it’s major, the Police will attend and sometimes the Crash Investigation team will also be on site (particularly if the crash involves death).
- You have an obligation to stay on site. Do not flee the accident – that can land you in more trouble and lead to criminal charges.
- You have a moral obligation (most would say anyhow) to provide assistance to your fellow human beings. Look after each other as best you can.
- Remain calm, cool and collected (the three Cs). Doing this will help you get through the shock of what has happened.
Now, with all that out of the way, how does an Iphone help? Well you can call for help first of all. But secondly, assuming everyone is fine and everything is just a matter of there has been some damage that someone will have to pay to fix, it’s time to do the following:
- Photograph your car, on each side, front and back.
- Photograph the other car, if there is one, same way.
- Photograph any panel on the cars that has damage.
- Photograph the other cars number plate.
- Photograph a wide shot that depicts the roadway where the incident talk place.
- Photograph the Driver’s licence and any insurance details of the other driver (if there is one).
- Record and exchange contact details.
The recording of the above details helps to create an instant and relatively objective record of the condition of the vehicles involved and the state and layout of the road at the time of the accident. If there is anything remarkable that may have contributed to the incident (such as the angle of the sun, pot-holes or anything relevant) grab a shot that depicts that too. You never know if things will be the same if you come back. In fact, roadways in Australia have a remarkable habit of changing very shortly after an accident.
Obtaining those details and making these records will enable you to provide a first draft of what will ultimately be your statement to the Police or for the purposes of a lawyer or an insurer. All of these things are very important.
If you are confronted by someone who is clearly neither rationally or reasonable, or someone who is attempting to bluster their way out of being “in the wrong” by thumping and stomping and threatening, there is nothing to stop you from pulling out your phone, saying, “I’m recording this” and switching on your recording option. In that situation it is lawful to record for your own protection and to look after your own legal rights.
But most importantly, vehicles are objects, they’re not people. So look to what is important first and foremost. The law and everything involved, can always come later.
Finally, in accidents where you are at fault and someone has been injured, serious consequences can flow and it is vital that you seek legal advice, even if only over the telephone, as quickly as possible. If you don’t feel like you can or are too upset or distressed to do so, make sure you have someone (a friend or family member) take care of that for you. It’s a first step towards putting things back together and it must occur at the earliest possible time.
Principal Lawyer & Special Counsel
Kernaghan & Associates Lawyers