If you or any people involved in the accident are seriously injured the first thing to do is take the necessary steps to notify emergency personnel of the need for medical assistance. In the event of injuries call 911.

You should also take any necessary steps to guard against further accidents and to remove yourself from further danger.

While serious safety and medical considerations are paramount it is also vital to understand that those involved in a accident have a duty to make reasonable efforts to gather information about the other drivers and their vehicles. Failing to make reasonable efforts to gather information can result in you losing your right to claim for injuries and/or any resulting vehicle damage.

While at the scene of the accident you should try to and do the following:

- If safe to do so, and you have a camera, take some pictures of all the involved vehicles in their resting positions. You should also get pictures of the licence plates on all vehicles. Ensure that these pictures are saved.

- Write down the names, addresses, and drivers licence numbers of all involved drivers. If the other drivers are agreeable look at their drivers licences to confirm that the information is correct. You can also ask for the details of who owns the other vehicles and look at the other drivers insurance papers to confirm who is the registered owner.

- Write down the licence plate numbers of all other vehicles involved in the accident together with the jurisdiction that issued the plates ie: British Columbia, another Province or Territory, or a U.S. state. If the licence plate is from outside of British Columbia you should also try to get the name of this driver’s insurance company.

- If other drivers asks for your name, address, and drivers licence number you should provide it to them.

- You should also try and record the names and contact information of any witnesses and vehicle passengers.

- It can also be helpful to record the date, time, and location of the accident.

If your injuries do not prevent you from do so, before leaving the scene of the accident you should also report the accident to the RCMP. Failing to report a accident to the RCMP and leaving the scene of the accident could result in charges under British Columbia’s motor vehicle laws or a breach of your vehicle insurance. The RCMP may ultimately advise you that they are not going to attend at the scene but you should call them regardless. If the RCMP are going to attend and injuries do not prevent you from doing so you should wait for the RCMP to arrive and ask them if it is okay to leave before doing so. If another driver refuses to provide you with the above noted information or leaves the accident scene without providing you with the above noted information you should notify the RCMP as soon as possible and provide them with a description of the vehicle and it’s driver.

Even if you’ve been involved in a relatively minor collision you should still make reasonable efforts to find out the above noted information. You should also still contact the RCMP. This can save you a lot of potential headaches down the road.

The third thing to do after an accident is to report the accident to the ICBC and any other vehicle insurers you may have. ICBC has a telephone reporting service, Dial-a-Claim: 1-800-910-4222.

Finally, if another persons negligent driving has caused you injuries you should seek the advice of a lawyer as soon as possible. At Heather Sadler Jenkins LLP we have a team of local lawyers experienced in personal injury law. Call us to set up your free consultation. Our number is (250) 565 8000.

~Justin Haines