What to do after a car accident
Find out more about the correct process to follow if you involved in a car accident. For more information about personal injury claims, see our full Resource Library
It’s only human for us to not want to think about being involved in a car accident, but it is useful to have a understanding of what steps you should take immediately afterwards.
Following a collision, whether it be a small bump or a huge smash, emotions are often running high and next comes the headache of having to prove who was at fault.
To make all the legal stuff as easy as possible, you should ensure that you follow the three important steps below.
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The first steps to take
Stop – Stopping your vehicle is the first thing you should do following a collision, even if you think the accident was pretty minor. Failure to stop after an accident is a serious offence under the Road Traffic Act and could land you in serious trouble.
Call the necessary emergency services – If anyone is injured, an ambulance should be called immediately. The same goes if the police are required, say if cars are blocking the road or a violent situation may arise. In more serious accidents, it may be required to call the fire brigade to help cut people out of a vehicle. Granted, not all car accidents will require emergency services, but if they are, this is a step that should not be missed and should be done as soon as possible.
Exchange relevant information with other drivers involved – Another important step following a car accident is exchanging details with any other drivers involved. This should include their name, address, telephone number and their insurance details.
It is important to remember that you are legally required to report a car accident to the police within 24 hours of it happening.
Additional information to collect
After you have ensured that anyone who is injured gets help immediately and that there are no other dangers in the situation (blocked roads, fires etc…), your next step is to collect as much information as possible to help solve the all-important question – who’s to blame?
Proving who is to blame can be tricky, so having as much information as possible will assist greatly.
Record the time and date of the accident – you will need to have the correct date and time to pass on to your insurers.
Take pictures of the accident – photographic evidence of the accident scene is some of the best proof you can have when it comes to proving who is at fault. They are the most reliable as, unlike eyewitness accounts, will not change or alter over time.
Make a note of the weather conditions – weather conditions often have a role to play in accidents so making a note of them is ideal. This includes the conditions of the road (for example, icy, wet, dry etc…).
Get witnesses information – if there were any witnesses to your car accident, you should ask them if they would be prepared to give a statement of what they saw. Do note that not everyone will want to do this, and it is their right. You should then ask those who do wish to give a statement for their contact details – full name, address and telephone number. It is also a good idea to ask them what time is best to call, to avoid missing them.
Make a note of the vehicle(s) involved – you should note down the details of all vehicles involved in the accident. This includes the colour, make, model and the most important, the registration number.
Nobody wants a long, messy process to establish who is at fault following a road traffic accident, and so taking all the steps mentioned will help significantly when your insurance company take over, especially if the other party doesn’t accept all or any of the blame.
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