Items To Keep In Your Vehicle In The Event Of An Accident

Paine Edmonds - Friday, November 10, 2017

Especially if you are a new driver, you are likely concerned about safety on the road. You will want to keep your vehicle well maintained and be ready to avoid a collision, but also be prepared if you are in an accident. To that end, here are a few things from your car accident lawyer in Vancouver to keep as part of your car accident item checklist. These items may help you stay safe after a car collision and succeed in any litigation afterwards.

Insurance Information

In British Columbia, you are legally obligated to insure your vehicle and keep your insurance information with you. If you are in an accident, having your insurance information can help expedite matters with the other driver and your insurance agency.

Even if you never get in a collision, driving without proof of an insurance policy can land you a fine of approximately $100. If you are stopped by the police, driving without having insurance will result in a fine of nearly $600.

Emergency Contact Information

Maintaining a notebook with essential information of your family, friends, and emergency contacts can allow you to get in touch with people that can help you, even if you do not have a phone or if its battery needs charging.

Pen and Paper

Having access to a pen and paper will allow you or a passenger to write down the identifying information of other parties and witnesses, including license plates and phone numbers. Having a pen and paper available also enables you or a passenger to make a record of what happened in the accident, including while you are waiting for the police to arrive. Having something written to refresh your memory later is valuable as lawsuits can be slow and memories can be fleeting.

A Camera

Being able to take photos of what will become evidence immediately after an accident can be extremely valuable. If you were to recover quickly, photo evidence could still prove the existence and seriousness of injuries. Photos of the surrounding scene can explain why and how a collision happened. Having an inexpensive or disposable camera on hand will allow you to document accidents, should they occur.

Recording Device

A recording in the aftermath of the accident can be valuable, whether it is entirely audio or emphasizes audio components.

If you record a conversation without the other party’s consent, it is not a criminal offence to do so provided you are part of the conversation. However, having your conversation admitted to court becomes more challenging, as you need to verify who is speaking, which is more challenging than it may sound.

Further, if you cannot find and cross-examine someone, you may be unable to use their out-of-court statements as evidence that those statements are true because of the hearsay rule. From there, it gets complicated.

Occasionally it is quite simple to submit a recording to the court. In Jones v Ma, 2010 BCSC 866, for example, the plaintiff, Ms. Jones, asked for the defendant’s consent to be filmed, as the defendant had been unharmed at the scene. In that recording, the defendant “said she was sorry, that she was lost, that she had wanted to make a U-turn, that she had caused the accident, and that it was her fault.” This recording was admitted at trial, and after that, the case was not particularly complex: Ms. Jones was successful.

If you have a dash cam, which rests on the dashboard of your car and records video, you may be able to resolve your case extremely quickly. In the case of Bricker v Danyk, 2015 BCSC 2404, for example, a plaintiff who was rear ended by a police car with a recording dash cam won quite easily at trial with the video before the court.

Smart Phone & Charger

Having a smart phone makes some of the above items somewhat redundant. For instance, a smart phone can serve all the functions of emergency contact information, a notepad and camera, and possibly insurance information if you make and keep a photo of it. However, a phone that is not charged is not particularly helpful, and as such, we strongly recommend having access to a charger. Preferably, this charger would allow you to either charge your phone in your car, or to plug it into an electrical outlet if your battery runs out.

A smart phone would also provide access to a recording device, allowing you to video record events and give a better view of your surroundings. However, when it comes to recordings of the other party, that is, the person that hit you, following an accident, things can get complicated.

Emergency Supplies

A serious accident, especially if it happens outside of a city, may require you to free yourself from your vehicle or stay safe inside the vehicle while emergency response arrives. To this end, scissors which are strong enough to cut through a seat belt might be handy to keep in your glove compartment along with a glass breaking device.

A blanket, bottled water, and a first aid kit with a tensor bandage are ideal to always have with you, especially if you are on an extended trip. Flares are also a good idea to keep if an accident occurs at night.

When You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Vancouver, Call Paine Edmonds LLP

Paine Edmonds LLP has been helping car accident victims for over 70 years, since 1945. If you or a family member is injured and you are unsure of what to do next after the accident, our team of accident lawyers in Vancouver can assist you. Call us at 604-683-1211 to arrange your free initial legal consultation unique to your situation.