What to do if you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident

If you’re injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, try to remember the following:

  1. Make sure you’re safe and not at risk of further injury. If you can, make sure others are safe too.
  2. Call 000 to report the accident to police and to seek medical assistance.
  3. Assess your injuries.
  4. Contact a family member or friend for support.
  5. Exchange details with any other driver involved and document any damage to your property.
  6. Contact your insurance company.
  7. Make a claim.

Note: Compulsory Third Party (CTP)/Motor Accident Injuries (MAI) Insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle, other vehicles or property.

Get yourself and others to safety

After any motor vehicle accident, you might be in a state of shock and running on adrenaline. It’s important to make sure you’re safe from any further damage, such as from other cars or damaged infrastructure like trees or electrical poles.

If you feel you can, get others who are involved in the accident to safety with you. Regardless of where the accident takes place, you want to be away from any oncoming traffic and clear of your damaged vehicle. This is especially true in the case of fire or other nearby hazards.

Call 000 to report the accident to police or request paramedics to attend

Note: do not call 000 if no one is injured and the accident is minor. You should only call 000 if:

  • you need urgent medical help
  • you or your property are threatened, and/or
  • you witness a serious accident or crime.

When calling 000, remember to:

Stay focused. Listen to what the operator is saying and asking of you. They are trying to get help to you and they need to find out what has happened.

Stay relevant. Answer the operator’s specific questions.

Stay on the line. If you’re in a state of shock, it’s important to stay on the line in case you haven’t given vital details, such as your location.

Assess your injuries

Take three deep breaths, in and out, to calm yourself.

If you can, make a self-assessment of your injuries. This includes:

Visual assessment. Look over your body to see if you have any cuts or bruises.

Physical assessment. Move your arms and legs, wiggle your toes and fingers, and note if you find it hard to breathe.

Contact a family member or friend for support

You’ll need someone to pick you up, help you with managing the situation, and to check on your emotional and physical welfare.

Don’t underestimate the importance of having this support. You may want to deal with it alone, but having a family member or friend who has not just been in the same accident may help you get through the experience.

Exchange details with the other driver

It’s important to stay calm in an accident, as this can help everyone deal with the situation.

Exchange the following with the other driver:

  • Name, address, and phone number (if they’re not the owner of the vehicle, find out the contact details of the owner)
  • Car registration number
  • Make, model, and colour of the car, and
  • Car insurance policy details.

Making a personal injury claim

All vehicles registered in Australia must have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance, or in the ACT, Motor Accident Injuries (MAI) Insurance.

Both CTP and MAI Insurance cover your financial liability if you or someone driving your vehicle is involved in an accident in which somebody is killed or injured. This may include your passengers, other drivers and their passengers, cyclists and pedestrians. In the ACT, MAI Insurance can also provide cover for the at-fault driver.

In the Australian Capital Territory, MAI Insurance is included in your car registration fee, while in other states and territories CTP is either included in your car registration fee or is a prerequisite for registering a vehicle. Some states and territories have multiple insurers, and it’s up to you to choose one when registering your vehicle.

If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should make a claim through the MAI or CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault for the accident. You can look up the CTP or MAI insurer of the vehicle at fault through their state or territory’s registration website, or by contacting the relevant transport authority. If you’re unsure who is at fault, contact your insurer and they will establish this.

If you’re not sure who was at fault for the accident and you have an Apia CTP or MAI Insurance policy, give us a call so we can help. You should try to raise your claim as soon as possible after the accident, as you may only be able to make a claim within a limited time, depending on the state or territory where the accident took place.

Discover Apia CTP

Contact your vehicle insurance company

If you have additional insurance for your vehicle – such as Third Party, Third Party Fire & Theft, or Comprehensive – it’s important to contact your insurer so that you can make a claim for damage to your car, or property damage you may be liable for (depending on your level of cover). Not having additional insurance means you risk being liable for the cost of any damage to your own car, and for damage you cause to any other person’s property in the accident. 

Discover Apia Car Insurance

When making a claim with your insurer, if you’re unable to get the details of the other driver in the accident, you can try to obtain this information by:

  • contacting the police officer who attended the accident, and
  • asking for a copy of the Police Incident Report.

If you have car insurance with Apia, it’s easy to make a claim.


Read more:

Apia Good Life icon

Not an Apia customer and want to find out more?

Subscribe to our FREE Apia Good Life quarterly newsletter for information on our latest offers, stories and inspiration to keep living life at its best.


You should read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement (and any related documents) on this website before making any decisions about general insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available in the above link. Any advice provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.