If you suffer any kind of car accident you need to be prepared and understand what you need to do. Sometimes accidents can be far more severe than you realise, so it is important to follow sensible steps even if it seems like a minor incident. Here are the things you need to do if you are involved in a car accident.
Whenever you are in a car accident of any kind it is essential that you must stop and evaluate the situation. Even if the accident sounded very minor from inside the car and you don’t think it is anything to worry about. In fact, failing to stop in the event of an accident is actually an offense under the Road Traffic Act.
Find a safe place to stop and switch off your car’s engine. You should also turn on your hazard warning lights if you are anywhere that is dangerous for other road users. Now you can survey the scene and take a look at your car and any other vehicles involved in the accident.
Do you need to call anyone?
Now, in the case of many car accidents you will not need to call anyone. Some drivers panic and believe that they need to call the police even in the event of a small accident but in many cases, this is not actually necessary at all.
The most common occasions where you need to call the emergency services is if anyone has been injured in the accident, or if the accident is blocking the road and holding up other road users. You should also be aware that you can call the police in the event that you feel it is necessary – for example, if you believe that another driver is intoxicated, becoming violent or deliberately caused the crash in an attempt to commit fraud (these are known as ‘cash for crash’ scams).
If you require assistance but not an emergency response you can call 101 for non-emergency services.
Providing and collecting details
If you are involved in a car accident then you need to stop your car and give your name and address to anyone else involved. It is not necessary to provide insurance details – but you need to be able to contact or be contacted by insurance companies dealing with the incident. If you have an accident with a parked vehicle then you need to leave details on the windscreen in a note.
Note that when you take the details of other people involved in your car accident, you need to establish whether they are the registered keeper of the vehicle. If they are not then you need the name and address of the registered keeper as well. If someone attempts to leave the scene of an accident without providing you with their details you should call the police as this is a criminal offense.
Taking information at the scene
It is also important that you should collect as much information as possible at the scene of the accident. This includes everything from the registration numbers of the vehicles, as well as many details about the vehicles as possible such as makes, colours and models. You should also take down notes on the date and time of the accident as well as a description of the weather conditions, position of the cars, and crucially information on the damage to any vehicles.
Taking as many pictures as possible is also important. Modern mobile devices often have powerful enough cameras to take any information you need.
Contacting your insurance provider
Next you need to get in contact with your insurance provider about the accident in order to start the process of making a claim. It is important to contact your insurer as soon as possible after the incident – your policy may even be invalidated if you wait too long between the event of the accident.
Remember that you need to inform your insurance company about an accident eve if you have not intention of actually making a claim.
What if you’re a passenger?
If you are the passenger in a car crash and you are injured it can be more complicated. It is important to work with a solicitor with experience in dealing with car crash victims. If you are seriously injured in a crash and require a long rehabilitation period where you cannot work it may be possible to pursue a compensation claim.
Some settlements for victims of road traffic accidents have been in excess of £200,000 to account for the costs of care and loss of earnings.