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What to Do Immediately After a Road Traffic Accident

October 10, 2016 by admin in Insurance, Tips

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what-to-do-immediately-after-a-road-traffic-accident

No one wants to be involved in a road traffic accident of course – but if it happens to you, it is better to be prepared and know what steps need to be taken at the scene.

The law

The law is quite clear, and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for one gives a handy reminder that – whether or not you were responsible for the accident – you are required to stop and stay on the scene long enough to exchange certain information if:

  • someone other than yourself is injured;
  • another vehicle is damaged or damage is caused to other property – such as a neighbour’s fence or garden, or street furniture such as bollards or signposts; or
  • an animal – either in someone else’s car or running across the road – is killed or injured.

At the scene, the law also requires that you give your motor insurance details to anyone involved in the accident. If you fail to do this at the time, you need to report the accident to the police and produce a copy of your insurance certificate within 24 hours.

What to do at the scene

If anyone is injured in a road traffic accident, of course, your first priority is to call the emergency services for them to be attended.

Having made certain that vehicles and people are in a place of safety close to the scene it is time to take stock and record just what happened, what vehicles were involved, who was driving them, what vehicles and other property was damaged, and whether there were any witnesses to the accident.

Gathering this information whilst you are on the scene, have all the relevant people and witnesses present and the incident is still fresh in your mind is important. It is important since it is this detailed picture which is going to help determine who was responsible for the accident.

This is likely to indicate liability and, therefore, whoever may be responsible for ensuring that you are fully and fairly compensated for any injuries or property damage you suffered.

In the first instance, the question of liability and the claim for compensation for damage to your vehicle or other property is likely to be taken up by your own insurers through contact with the responsible individual’s insurers.

If you suffered a personal injury, your insurer may instruct solicitors to pursue that part of your claim – but you are still entitled to instruct any other personal injury solicitor of your choice.

The details to gather

Against this background, therefore, what you need to do whilst still at the scene after the accident is to:

  • make a note of your recollection of events;
  • support this with a sketch of the vehicles involved, the directions in which they were travelling and the angle of collision between them or with other property;
  • back up your sketch plan with pictures taken on your camera or smartphone;
  • make a note of the registration numbers of vehicles, the names and addresses of their drivers and the names and addresses of the vehicles’ owners if these are different;
  • make sure to ask for the insurance details of the drivers of any vehicles involved in the accident; and
  • ask any witnesses whether they are going to be prepared to make a statement to your insurers about the incident.

Hopefully, you may avoid any road traffic accident and the necessity for remembering this list of action points. Being prepared in advance, however, might make it easier to keep a cool and clear head when you need it most – at the scene.