What to do After a Crash

Collision PhotoFortunately for us all, the majority of collisions in British Columbia don't involve injury or death. Rather they leave us feeling foolish and facing a significant dollar amount of property damage. How do you protect yourself in the event of a collision like this, especially since the police may not attend property damage or minor injury crashes?

You may wish to carry a disposable camera in your vehicle. Nothing tells the story better than photos taken of the scene before the evidence is disturbed. After you take photos of the vehicles and any marks on the road surface, turn your back on the scene and obtain photos of the approaches to the location. Be very careful while taking these photos as it is dangerous to stand on the highway to take the necessary views.

No camera? Make a sketch. While you are at it, record any details that you think are important, especially comments made by others. Time dims your ability to recall these details reliably, but if they are carefully noted at the time, their value is increased.

Locate any witnesses and ask for their business card or take names and telephone numbers if they will give them to you. Consider recording the licence plates of vehicles stopped at the scene as police may use them to track down witnesses that you do not get a chance to speak to.

Make sure that you record all information about the other driver involved. If you request it, they must provide to you in writing their name and address, the name and address of the vehicle owner if they are not the owner, the vehicle licence number and particulars of their insurance card if they are not insured by ICBC. Of course, you must do the same for them.

Finally, regardless of the amount of damage, notify your insurer. You do not have to worry about your insurance rates until they make a payment on your behalf, but failing to report may lead to a denial of your claim if circumstances change later on. Once the other party has had the chance to think things over, they may change their mind about any agreement for compensation made at the time of the collision or shortly afterward.


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