Friday, 24 October 2014

...And So We Had A Car Accident and What to Do When You Do...

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Firth's The Compensation Lawyers.

Now here's a post I was hoping to never have to write.

Statistically we're all aware that we are quite likely to experience an incident on the roads at some stage in our lives. In case you missed my recent post, our 'lucky number' on the road just happened to come up a few short weeks ago and you can read about our accident here.

Prior to our road accident, I had often thought on what it would be like to actually be involved in a car accident. (As you do. Do you ever think on maddening things too?) These thoughts at the time were quickly brushed aside however as soon as any horrific images came to mind. No-one wants to think on that stuff, least of all when you have children. I am always worried that thinking about these things can make them become a reality too: A horrible, horrible reality.

Thankfully, our recent brush was not a serious one, but it did shed some light on this annoying thought that has plagued me from time to time. Since our experience, I now know what to do in the event of an accident, whereas prior, I did not. Hopefully those thoughts will plague me no more because of it too.

And so, a post about what to do in the event of an accident. Hopefully you will never need to use any of this information, but it is wise to know just a little of the procedure so that you can protect yourself, your family members and your legal interests. I had to learn the drill in the heat of the moment out of necessity and it was stressful as you would expect.

So what is it like to be in a car crash?

You may have heard people describe countless times before, how time seems to slow down in a situation that is dangerous? Well let me tell you now - it does. As we were plummeting towards the driver we were about to meet in the most unfortunate of ways, there was a definite slowing of time. No doubt the accident occurred in only a few short seconds, but to us it seemed like a two minute long event.

I remember seeing the other driver indicating to turn as we were driving towards him, and then watching his wheels wrongly begin to move in the same direction - before his whole car turned into our vehicle's path. I was watching his face, (as you are trained to do as a driver); the eye contact thing - searching frantically for a sign that we had been seen; perceived even. The other driver returned a blank stare as if he had seen right through us. That was scary, because my next thought was how we were going to collide and there would be nothing either of us could do to prevent it from happening. I watched his mind slowly switch on with that realisation too.

As the event unfolded, there was a moment of disbelief; of anger:

"Is he drunk?!" I remember yelling, (on account of that out-of-place blank stare).

Then an odd combination of both adrenaline-induced fear and common sense kicked in rapidly. Strangely, I did not think of anyone else in the car at the time, which in hindsight, shocks me still. Being a Mum, I did not expect that to happen at all. There was a stupid moment of being petrified of the airbags instead. I have a silly fear of airbags and I can't explain why.

Then the impact itself: The horrible sound of metal on metal and the extraordinary thrust and bang as we collided - one minute there's a car in front of us and the next - where has it gone? The other driver wound up in the gutter with a bent and twisted car, deployed airbags and a cut to his face. We were unharmed, but the anger and frustration continued to grow within me regardless as the adrenaline flooded my system.

My first moment of clarity was thinking is everyone okay? Weirdly, you look down at your own body too - just to make sure. I scanned the whole car - one of my boys was wimpering in the back seat, everyone's mouths were agape in disbelief and shock. You shake too - your voice breaks, you feel so fragile and yet, pumped - it's quite an extraordinary mix.

Once my kids assured me they were fine, I felt suddenly relieved and dramatically clear-minded.

"Stay in your seats! Do not unbuckle your belts or get out of the car - Do you hear me?!"

Then follows concern for the other driver - are they okay too?

Fortunately for all of us, the other driver, (a male), was lovely about the whole thing and recounted how he had vagued-out and immediately regretted turning his wheel as soon as he'd done so. Sadly for him, he was also uninsured and lost both his car and a decent whack of cash to cover ours in the process. But your priorities certainly rise to the surface very quickly which he admitted too: Everyone was okay and that's the most important thing.

And it will always be the most important thing.

So what do you need to do if you find yourself in the same situation?:

Move your car to a safe road-side position if you can and put your hazard lights on. If you cannot move your car, still put the hazard lights on.

Stay calm!

Check your car's occupants are okay first. Ask if anyone has hit their head or if they have any other injuries. Injuries may not always be apparent at the time so if there are any issues, either call an ambulance or visit a Doctor soon after to have the incident recorded in the very least.

Ensure children are safe and strapped in their seats and instruct them to remain in the car if it is safe to do so, or move them to a safe place if it is not.

Do not admit to being at fault, even if it is highly likely that you are. If you are insured, your insurance company will take care of the legalities for you. This is a most important point in regards to your claim.

Take photos: You will feel out of sorts, sweaty, flustered and fumble. Still, take pictures on your phone. Your phone cannot make errors with details like a pen can. Take specific shots of damage and from many angles, street views, images of all cars involved and their numberplates, vehicle makes and models.

Identify yourselves. Exchange Driver's Licence information. I photographed these, (both sides) on my mobile. Take down address and mobile / home numbers and verify them on the spot by calling them if you can. (Yes we actually did do this!) Also obtain their insurer's details.

Do you have witnesses? Repeat the above information collection procedure for them too.

If you or another person driving involved in an accident has been drinking, then the police must be notified. If there is anger, threats, danger or excessive damage and injury at the scene, then again, the police must be notified. Try to diffuse any tension by remaining calm and call emergency services for advice and assistance.

Following an accident, call and report the damage to your insurer immediately. Lodging a claim takes around 15 minutes on the phone. Do this on different phone to the one you have taken any images on so that you can relay this information on the spot easily. Our car was approved for our claim and booked in with an insurer approved panel works within 30 minutes of our accident. Understandably this brought huge relief to us.

If you have any legal issues following a vehicle accident, there are ways to recover your costs by seeking compensation. Firth's The Compensation Lawyers are a company experienced in handling these types of claims and can assist you further.


  1. Glad you were all fine - how horrific! Great post!

    1. It was truly yucky Lydia and I (or anyone else) just don't need that kind of hiccup in life. xx

  2. So glad you are all ok.
    Great post and tips!!
    Car accidents are terrifying and you never know how you are going to react either.
    We had a driver go straight through a giveway sign at some speed a couple of years ago, it was in a very quiet seaside suburb so no other cars about and after checking my toddler was ok something in me (adrenaline I guess) just snapped that somehow this guy had put my daughters life in danger, he hit right on her side where the car hit and I just started yelling and shaking with such anger. My neighbours couldn't believe that this quiet friendly lady had become this angry ranting mum! I guess when it comes to our kids and adrenaline mixed in we can become like a lioness. In hindsight I know my reaction was obviously not ideal or helpful and I did calm down pretty quick ( well turned to sobbing and clutching m little girl a little too tight).
    It effected me for ages and I couldn't even drive for 6 months, our car was written off and still to this day don't trust other cars fully at giveway sign crossroads and slow down at each one and probably drive a little more cautious than I used too.

    1. Oh I know how you feel!
      That all sounds terrible and thank goodness you were okay too.
      I am a nervous wreck now when I am driving - I am over-reacting and flinching every time I pass a vehicle at a give way or stop sign. It is so strange how it continues to affect you. I am driving like an old woman now!
      Thank you for sharing your story here.

  3. So glad you were all ok. We were involved in a pretty much identical accident when I was a kid. Same thing: guy was off with the fairies and just ran a red arrow at an intersection and we had no hope. The crunching sound of metal on metal really is sickening. Glad you're all ok x

    1. It can happen so fast and so easily and in the silliest and most unlikely moments too.

  4. Glad you were all fine - that's the most important thing. What an excellent list of what to do. Mobile phones have made the recording of details so much easier. My car was hit by a bus (sounds more dramatic than it was..) and because the bus had just scraped along the side of my car, the driver was oblivious. The teenagers I had in the car at the time all whipped out phones and took photos of the bus licence plates so I could contact the bus company with the details.

    1. Yes I agree, mobile phones have changed everything. I was so grateful for the flexibility of my phone. Without it I am sure I would have recorded important information wrongly.

  5. There was a horrific car accident where I live earlier this week where a truck lost it's breaks and landed on 8 cars - crushing a few. Just awful! Road accidents really scare me. I've only ever been in one and luckily it was very minor but I think I did all those things on your list totally wrong.

    1. Gosh that sounds shocking! Was anyone seriously injured?

  6. Wow! I had a tear in my eye reading this. Thank goodness everyone was ok. A car accident is my biggest fear. I haven't been involved in one. Some great tips there! Thanks for sharing. x

    1. Hopefully you will never experience one either. We knew it was only a matter of time where we live as everyone drives like crazy.

  7. These are great tips, thanks for the helpful post. Glad you are all OK!

  8. Great tips, I had one last year too, not my fault, I was actually sandwiched between 2 cars, a P plater running up the back of everyone, luckily no one was hurt, but it is a major inconvenience!

    1. P platers! How scared of them am I where I live? Very scared!! The males in particular take dreadful risks. You accident sounds horrible and must have caused a bit of damage to your car?

  9. I've been in 3 car accidents, none of which were my fault and ironically they've all happened in the last 3 years. One of which I was pregnant. It certainly is a weird reaction when the adrenaline hits after the initial shock. Mind you after the first accident I knew what to do, which was good because it was the second one when I was pregnant and if I didn't know what to do I probably would've completely lost it and panicked.

    1. I'd say after 3 accidents in a row, you're past the danger period now! Since luck runs in three's, does it work the other way too?!

  10. I haven't been in accident with kids - don't ever want to - very freaky it must have been. In this day and age mobile phones are great to take photos of where cars ended up and to get witness contacts, very interesting post!

    1. My fingers are crossed for you! I have quite an unwanted collection of accident pics on my phone now unfortunately!

  11. Glad all is well know, great tips as well.

  12. Good tips - I think the 'not admitting fault' thing is actually quite hard though, especially if you're rattled - because if you're at fault, we almost have it pre-programmed into to us to say 'I'm so sorry!' - I think quite a few of us do it even when we aren't at fault.

    1. I agree, it is super hard at the time and even seems silly, especially when it's blatantly obvious who is at fault. There are times though when incidents are not quite so clear and it is in these instances that you need to hold any judgement and let the legal people take care of it on your behalf. It is a lawful thing to admit to anything and it is a good point to keep in the back of your mind in any situation like this.

  13. Holy shitballs - so glad you guys were all ok. How scary for you guys. The thing that worries me is my mind goes blank in those kind of situations so I dont know if I would remember what I am supposed to or not supposed to do. xx

  14. Excellent post - I never would have thought of taking pictures! Great tip, just fingers crossed that I never have to use it! So glad you and your gorgeous family are ok xox

  15. How scary! Glad to hear that you are all ok though.

  16. How lucky that everyone was ok! I don't know why but I too have an odd fear of airbags. Maybe it's because I picture them activating and crushing my face. Lol

  17. I can't imagine how scary that must have been. So glad to hear you are all ok. These are great tips , although I hope we never need them they are good to know.

  18. Oh man, glad you guys are ok.
    I am petrified of my cars air bags too.

  19. I am so glad that everyone was ok after this accident. That was such a moving story, and it goes to show that you can never be too careful. I hope that you guys are able to get the compensation from the insurance company that you need. Air bags can be pretty scary, seeing them come right at your face.

  20. If anything, reading this made me want to get insurance. I don't have car insurance either. I don't know what I would do if I got in an accident. That poor man must have been so very stressed out after the accident. It is great that no one was hurt in this incident.

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