Have you been involved in a car accident?
Here’s what to do if you are in a car accident and the steps you should take.
It may seem a bit obvious but the first step is don’t panic. If you allow yourself to get distressed, you won’t be able to think clearly.
If you aren’t seriously hurt and if it’s safe to do so you will probably leave your vehicle because you’ll want to assess the damage. Should you have any passengers, your instinct as a driver is to assess them, to make sure everyone is alright. You may need emergency services like Police or an ambulance.
- But firstly, you must not admit liability at the scene. This has nothing to do with deception. Often with road traffic accidents you do not know the full extent of the details. Imagine if someone shunts your vehicle from behind trashing the rear of your vehicle. Your first subjective thought is to blame them but they may have been shunted too and hold a very different perspective to yours. Leave the investigation to the insurers.
- Make sure you get the other vehicle registration – sometimes drivers leave the scene in a hurry for whatever reason or they refuse to pass on their details or give you fake ones. So, make sure you have the presence of mind to note the registration number.
- Call the Police if you believe the accident serious or if the other driver is aggressive or refuses to give their details. If both drivers are civil, communicate and share details there may not be a need to inform the Police at the scene. However, it is advisable to report the accident to the Police within 24 hours anyway for insurance purposes.
- Exchange details with the other driver(s) for example, you’re name and address or the name of your insurance company and policy number if you know it.
- It’s a good idea to take photos with a camera or with your smart device, no doubt your version of events will be different from the other driver.
- Tell your insurer about the accident as soon as you can. Even if you intend to make no claim, you must call them and let them know. Long term it will help you.
An uninsured driver
You can claim on your insurance if you have comprehensive cover. However, the MiB (Motor Insurers Bureau) might also be able to settle a claim if a driver is uninsured. There is no legal obligation to speak to your insurer to make a compensation claim. The law says you can speak to any personal injury solicitor to instruct them to handle a claim.
In fact, the Law Society in England and Wales advises you to do so as personal injury cases settle by a lawyer tend to have better outcomes. See this article about insurer’s responsibility.