Stay safe after an accident
This short guide will help you to stay safe and legal if you’ve just been involved in a road traffic accident.
Stay calm and polite – accidents can happen.
Stop and stay as long as necessary
- In any case, no matter how minor the accident may seem, drive to a safe spot nearby and stop your car completely.
- Always get out of your car and make sure everyone is ok. If you need an ambulance call 999 or ask someone else for assistance.
- Don’t admit liability. Even if you believe the accident may have been your fault, or partly your fault, you must not apologise or admit liability, as this can affect your legal and insurance position.
- Only if you can confirm that there is no injury to any person and no damage to any vehicle or property, you are free to go.
Get the details of the scene
- Take photographs. They should show the position of all vehicles, including your own and any parked cars that may have been a factor in causing the accident.
- Get witness details. Make sure you get the name and address of any witnesses to pass to your insurers and if necessary, the police.
- Write down the events. It’s good to record your version of events while they are still fresh in your memory.
Exchange personal details
Give your name, address, vehicle and insurance details to anyone with an obvious right to ask for them. Read more here. This includes the drivers of other vehicles involved, the owners of any property damaged, and any interested witnesses if there is not another driver or property owner at the scene to give your details to.
If required, report the accident to the police
- Where no injuries have occured - to people or animals - you are not required to report the accident to the police. However, make sure that you have exchanged details with other drivers or property owners, in case anything was damaged.
- However, if minor injuries have been sustained - to people or animals - you must report the accident to a police officer, or at a police station within 24 hours. You should also produce your certificate of insurance at this point, or at the very least within seven days of the incident.
- Failing to do so is a serious offence and saying that another party offered to report is not a valid excuse. Every party involved in a car accident involving injuries must report it to the police.
- Only continue driving if you are sure your vehicle is in a safe condition to do so.
Report the accident to your insurance company
- Report the incident to your insurers and start your claim as soon as possible. Make sure to hand over all of the details that you gathered at the scene.
- In this event, your insurance company may make you an early offer of compensation for any injuries, but bear in mind that you are free to take impartial legal advice before you accept. The majority of our clients claim compensation on a No Win No Fee basis, so there is no financial risk in doing so.
If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident, contact us today for free legal advice from our expert solicitors.
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