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What Should You Do Immediately After A Car Accident in Australia?

First and foremost, check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If there are any injuries, call emergency services immediately.

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If you’ve been in a collision, you’re going to have a lot of thoughts going through your head at once. What happened? Is everything okay? What’s next? Do yourself a favour and give yourself a moment to catch your breath before you start thinking about the logistics. And once you are ready to think about the logistics, then we’re hopeful this guide can help!

Yes, across all sorts of accidents, there are a number of actions you can take to help improve the situation – both for yourself and the other party or parties involved in the collision as well. These preliminary actions include things like switching on your hazard lights, checking for injuries, and trading contact details. Even if you both have car insurance and it’s a minor incident, take some time to consider whether these actions may be useful and you might save yourself from a headache down the line.

Now let’s get into the more nitty gritty details of what you should do immediately following a motor collision on Australian roadways. Here's a simplified list of what to do immediately after a car accident in Australia:

What should you do first?

When a crash has happened, stay calm and turn on your hazard lights. Next, turn off your car and put on the handbrake. Check that you and any passengers are not seriously injured, then see if it’s safe for you to get out of your car. When you get out, check that people in any other affected cars are okay. If anyone is injured, or has hit their head and may have a concussion, call for an ambulance on 000.

Checking for injuries

As with a concussion, there are many car crash injuries you may not be able to see. The most common of these is whiplash, which is effectively damage to the neck caused by the head snapping forward and back during the crash. If you have reason to believe any passengers are suffering from whiplash, make sure that they stay seated comfortably if possible, and in a position where no further strain is being placed on their neck.

When there is broken glass, you should think twice before moving pets or children from their chairs, as there may be issues you can not see – in this case, waiting for a paramedic is best. Similarly, though it may not be safe to let your child or pet out of the car, you should check that they can sit there comfortably while the issue is sorted out. This might mean rolling down the windows, giving them something to drink, or whatever else the situation calls for.

Which details should you collect?

When a crash happens, by law all drivers must stop and supply their name and their address. If they refuse, you have reason to call the police. The exception to this is if the person’s injuries are what are preventing them from sharing their information. In this case, calling emergency services and getting them medical assistance takes precedence.

Other valuable contact details include their phone number, email address, their car’s number plate, and their driver’s licence number. In major crashes, you should also consider collecting details from witnesses and passersby.

Finally, for insurance purposes, you should take photos of the damages to your car and to theirs, and you should record the date, time, and the precise location of the incident. If the environment or other obstacles were involved in the crash, you should also take photos of these too. For example, the road may have been slippery, or a streetlight may have been out.

What if my car isn’t safe to drive?

If you suspect that your car may have to be written off as the extent of the damage accrued in the accident is that severe, then phone your insurance or an emergency towing company straight away as in this case, your car will have to be towed in order to be removed from the scene. If you have insurance, you can call them to arrange this for you.

If you don’t have insurance, however, then you should keep this tip in mind: you do not need to use the first tow truck that arrives (unless the police urge you to). Some tow trucks will arrive quickly at a scene to price gouge, so always agree on a fee before you enlist any services.

What if I caused the crash?

Even in an open and shut case, you should avoid discussing the crash with anyone except your insurance company. As unnatural as it is to say, it’s not worth apologising or admitting guilt in the company of the other affected parties, as this admission of guilt may be adversely used against you.

So only communicate in plain words what happened precisely with your insurance provider. After all, sorting out these details falls under their responsibilities, so they’ll discuss and examine the event with the insurance providers that will be representing the other party or parties involved in the collision.

Does the crash need to be reported?

Minor incidents such as dents to parked cars do not need to be reported to the police. However, if someone has been hurt, or the damage is over $3000, the police must be informed.

Additionally, when someone is injured, the Insurance Commission of WA must also be contacted. In Western Australia, you can do so through the WA Government’s Online Crash Report form. In other states and countries, they may have similar forms for you to fill out, so have a look on your phone for your responsibilities based on your area. If you are unsure whether to report a crash, you can always contact the police.


To simplify the process, you should first check that you’re safe, then check that others are safe. If people need help, you call emergency services, and if they don’t you can start exchanging details and taking photos of the scene.

Finally, call your insurance company, a tow truck, or leave the scene to finish your reports. If you suspect that your car may need urgent repairs or even replacement parts, then contact your mechanic just to alert them to the accident. They may also be able to help you secure parts for Australian car brands.

All in all, however, it can be a tricky business keeping all your responsibilities in mind when you’re in a chaotic event like a car crash, so take your time or phone for help if you need to.

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