It is something that every driver hopes will never happen, but no matter how careful you are on the road, you may be involved in an accident. In 2014, there were 192,910 reported casualties on British roads; a 5% increase on the year before. This shows that accidents on our roads are a major issue and something that every driver should be aware of.
At AYB Law, we’re committed to ensuring that those who are involved in an accident that was not their fault receive the compensation they deserve, so here is our advice for what you should do if you are involved in a car accident.
Immediately After the Accident
When you are involved in an accident, no matter how severe it is or who caused it, it is vital that you stop. Failing to stop after an accident is an offence under the Road Traffic Act, and you may be prosecuted.
Make sure that your vehicle is as out of the way of oncoming traffic as possible. You must make sure that your car engine is turned off, you have applied your handbrake and you have turned your hazard lights on to warn approaching vehicles.
If someone has been injured, it is vital that you call 999 as soon as possible and ask for an ambulance and the police. You must also call the police if you have been involved in a hit and run or the accident is blocking the road.
Collecting and Giving Information
If you are involved in a car accident, you are obliged to give your information to anyone else involved, and they must also give their information to you.
At this point, you must not accept blame for the accident or apologise until you know what precisely caused the accident. Your priority must be to ensure that anyone who has been injured is taken care of appropriately and that you get all the necessary information from the other party.
Where possible, you must get the following information from any drivers, passengers or witnesses of the accident:
- Contact Number
It is also important to find out if the other driver/s are insured and licensed, as this will impact on your insurance claim and your ability to be awarded additional compensation.
Car accidents must be reported to police within 24 hours, as failure to do so is an offence and can result in a fine, penalty points on your licence or disqualification from driving.
If a driver leaves the scene without giving their details, call 999 immediately.
Hit and Run Accidents
In a hit and run accident, you will in nearly all circumstances not know any of the above information about the other driver.
If this is the case, you should try to remember as much as you can about the other car in order to try and identify the driver. This information includes:
- Information about the driver – gender, clothing, physical appearance etc.
- Information about the car – colour, make, model etc.
- Registration number
Appeal to any witnesses of the accident, as they may have noticed details that you may have missed. Note all this information down and then call 999 immediately.
There are additional details that may be vital to your insurance or compensation claim, and therefore you should try to collect as much information as possible about the accident.
These details vary depending on the circumstances of the accident, and often include:
- Registration numbers of all cars involved
- Information about the cars involved
- Time and date of the crash
- Description of weather and driving conditions at time of accident
- Damage caused to vehicles and injuries caused – note if anyone was hospitalised
- Names and contact information of witnesses and police officers
The next step of the process is claiming compensation, and if you have been in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to a significant payment.