The majority of people have never been involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) nor will they ever be involved in one. However, for those who have been involved in one, they will realize that it can be quite a traumatic and emotional experience. This article will aim to set out the steps a person should take following a MVA.

Step 1 – Keep cool, calm and collected: Immediately following an accident a person may go through a wide range of emotions. So take a few deep breaths, remain calm and don’t panic. Keep your emotions in check and gather your thoughts otherwise your emotions could affect your better judgment.

Step 2: Maintain the safety of yourself and others: If for some reason you cannot get out of your vehicle or it is unsafe to do so, remain inside your vehicle, turn on your hazard lights, call 000 and wait for help to arrive. Be extremely cautious when moving around as not all injuries are visible. Shock and adrenaline can often mask the impact and severity of some injuries.

Step 3: Exchange details: If the collision seems to be minor and it is safe to do so, turn your engine off, put your hazard lights on and if it is safe to do so get out and meet with the other party involved. Remember to take a pen, any paper you may have and your driver’s license. The details which are important to take down are the name of the other driver, their address, telephone number, license number, make/model/colour of their vehicle and their registration. If there are any witnesses to the accident and if they consent, take down their personal details and contact number as this could prove important in the future. If you have a camera phone also take photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved.

Step 4: See a doctor as soon as possible: Being involved in an accident cannot only cause physical injuries but psychological injuries also. In the hours or days following an accident you may become aware of physical injuries that you were previously not aware of, or you might be experiencing emotional problems. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for treatment or diagnosis of these physical and/or emotional injuries.

Step 5: Lodge a claim form: It is important to be aware of both yourself and your loved ones rights. If you believe you were not at fault for the motor vehicle accident or you were a passenger in a vehicle involved, a CTP compensation claim may be available to you. There are certain guidelines and time limitations that must be adhered to under the various state based schemes. As such, it is always a good idea to seek legal advice about what you may be entitled to.