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According to ICBC, there are over 900 motor vehicle collisions every day in BC.

A car or motorcycle accident is a traumatic experience, and it can be confusing to know how to proceed once the adrenaline has worn off. There are a lot of details to consider in the aftermath of an accident. With our considerable experience working with victims, determining fault, claiming benefits, and achieving compensation, you can be sure of a successful outcome after your accident.

HOW IT HAPPENS

There are several common contributing factors to motor vehicle accidents. Be alert to potentially dangerous situations and always wear a seatbelt (even on short drives) to protect yourself from accidents and injuries.

Speeding

Speeding is one of the most common causes of serious incidents. 90% of drivers admit to exceeding speed limits, ignoring the proven risks. BC also has a problem with street racing, usually among young suburban drivers and often with fatal consequences.

“Everyday” speeding can be just as dangerous and far more common. Examples of everyday speeding include running a red light, passing another car in a risky manner, or weaving a motorcycle through slow traffic. Physics tells us that the faster a vehicle’s speed, the worse a collision’s outcome. Driving even a few kilometers over posted maximum speeds can be exponentially detrimental in the event of an accident.

Distracted Driving

Careless driving is the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents in BC. Unfortunately, it’s in our nature to assume that we are each excellent drivers. The reality is, most people on the road today are distracted. In our digital world, it is tempting to be constantly connected. It can be difficult to “turn off” while operating a vehicle.

Texting, searching for music, or dialing—even while stopped at a light—are all dangerous driver behaviours. Avoiding these distractions plays a critical role in road safety. Other interruptions, such as fatigue, eating, or arguing with a passenger, can take our minds off of the road and lead to a collision. Many drivers can be impatient and get aggressive behind the wheel. Tailgating, which drivers often do unwittingly, significantly increases the likelihood of a crash.

Impaired Driving

Drugs (even prescribed ones) and alcohol significantly impair a person’s judgement, reaction time, and ability to safely operate a vehicle. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious federal offense. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, the legal blood alcohol content limit is .008; any driver found to be in excess of that amount is subject to criminal charges. However, in BC, a driver found to have a blood alcohol content of .005 can be served with an Immediate Roadside Prohibition.

If you have been involved in an accident and you suspect the other driver of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is in your best interest to contact the police, immediately. Law enforcement can perform a field sobriety test, and—if the other driver is found to be impaired—can pursue criminal charges. This will have a significant effect on your claim and compensation.

Familiar Routes and Disengaged Drivers

Most car accidents occur within 40 kilometers of home. Many drivers switch to “autopilot” when they are on a familiar route, and become less vigilant about driving safety. You know your neighbourhood well, and muscle memory often takes over when you’re driving, but remember that there are always unpredictable elements on our roads. You should be alert every time you are behind the wheel.

Similarly, drivers in rural areas become accustomed to the emptiness of the road and let down their guards. A less-travelled road, however, is likely to have speeding drivers and even potential unexpected maintenance issues.

It’s essential to remember that road conditions are never static. No matter how comfortable you may be on a stretch of road, cautious and observant driving is always the best safeguard. Also, consider taking a refresher course to fine tune your driving skills.

Visibility and Weather Conditions

Driving at night or in dangerous weather conditions requires attention and caution. Low visibility means that drivers’ reaction times are cut short, and poor conditions can cause a driver to lose control. Most serious accidents occur between 6 pm and midnight, when drivers may have trouble seeing hazards and response times are lower.

In BC, we regularly have to contend with wet roads, snow, ice, low-light, fog, and other weather conditions that can affect our response times. Ensure your vehicle is prepared for weather conditions, but remember, even the best winter tires have difficulty with slick roadways and sudden braking. You can also check Drive BC before leaving to view weather and road conditions on your route. Finally, safe driving is always the best defense.

Traffic and Road Maintenance

BC drivers face Canadian winters and high traffic urban centres. We know rush hour traffic and roadway maintenance or construction are constant issues.

During rush hour, commuters want to get home and the traffic is heavier. A significant percentage of accidents happen between 3 pm and 6 pm. Road maintenance and hazards such as potholes, debris, and other dangers can contribute to car accidents.

Ideally, practicing safe and defensive driving will help you avoid an incident altogether. You can also check Drive BC for road condition alerts. Unfortunately, not every roadway situation can be foreseen, and accidents do occur.

STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE AFTER AN ACCIDENT

  • 1 Stop Driving
  • 2 Ensure Everyone is Safe
  • 3 Call Emergency Services
  • 4 Exchange Information
  • 5 Record Information
  • 6 Stay Quiet
  • 7 Contact Your Insurance
  • 8 Contact Your Lawyer

Read more in-depth information on the steps to be taken post-accident.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE LONG-TERM

Accidents can result in injuries with long recovery periods. You deserve fair compensation in the event that you suffer latent or prolonged injuries. Spinal injuries, broken bones, or head trauma (concussion or brain injury) can be debilitating. Soft-tissue damage (whiplash) can be difficult to diagnose and have long-term ramifications. The more serious and enduring effects of an accident include chronic pain, loss of movement, and an inability to manage daily life.

Victims may not notice their injuries right away. Even a minor motor vehicle accident can inflict psychological anxiety and trauma. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are not uncommon, and can take time to appear.

An accident victim with slow-onset injuries may not connect their damage to the incident, and therefore don’t know they can seek compensation.

If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to be evaluated by a medical practitioner. Monitor your health in the months afterward. Some accident-related injuries (whether physiological or psychological) can take up to a year to surface. You may be eligible for benefits. Just as being in the care of a medical professional can help speed up your recovery, having a legal professional on your side can help you access your rightful compensation.

If you or someone you love is dealing with the repercussions of a Traumatic Brain Injury caused by an accident, contact us.
We can determine the best course of action to get you fair compensation.

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