How to React After a Car Accident
Car accidents can be emotionally and physically traumatising; knowing what you ought to do at this stressful time isn’t easy, but if you familiarise yourself with the information below, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the situation effectively.
What should you do after an accident?
- You must stop! It’s an offence to leave the scene of an accident if anyone is injured or if there is damage to another vehicle or property not belonging to you
- Turn off your engine and activate hazard lights to make the accident scene as safe as possible.
- Check if anyone is injured and call for an ambulance if necessary
Do police need to be called to an accident?
Police aren’t always required at the scene of minor accidents, but there are some situations in which it’s a good idea to get them involved.
- If anyone is injured
- If one of the parties doesn’t stop or leaves the accident scene without giving their details
- If you believe you’ve been provided with false information
- If you are concerned another driver may have been driving illegally
- If the accident scene creates an obstruction or danger to traffic or pedestrians
- If both parties stop and exchange details
- If nobody is injured
- If you don’t need police to direct traffic away from the scene
What information do you have to give after a car accident?
The following information must be given to anyone involved with the accident, including vehicle or property owners and witnesses, as well as the police, if they attend.
- Your name
- Your address
- The name and address of the owner of the vehicle (if different)
- The vehicle registration
In addition, it’s useful to have car insurance details handy, although insurers can be traced from personal and vehicle information if necessary. Keep a copy in your glove compartment.
Don’t admit liability
Do not admit liability for the accident, or get involved in discussions about the cause, especially if you think you are at fault. If you admit blame, your insurers may refuse you cover. Do not apologise, even as an act of courtesy, as an apology may be used as evidence against you in both criminal and civil proceedings.
What information should you collect for an insurance claim?
As well as the essential exchange of information described above, it’s a good idea to collect as much detail about the accident as possible for your insurance company’s records. It’s possible that a claim will be made against you, even if you don’t intend to make a claim yourself.
- If you have dash-cam footage of the accident, send this to your insurer
- Take photos or video footage of the scene from several angles if possible
- No camera? Make a sketch showing the road layout, the final positions of all the vehicles involved and the approximate position and length of any skid marks
- Record the weather and road conditions
- Note the estimated speeds and direction of travel of any vehicles involved
- Make notes about what happened as soon as possible after the accident while the details are fresh in your mind
- Note the names and contact details of any witnesses, including passengers
How much time do you have to report an accident to your insurer?
Car insurance policy wordings differ. Many insurance companies will simply say you should tell them about any accident or potential claim “as soon as possible”. Others may ask to be notified “immediately”. Check your own policy’s conditions or their accident and claims procedure.
If you’re in any doubt, err on the side of caution and don’t delay.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, get in touch with Insure Your Motor.
Call 0800 221 8628 and we’ll help you take the next steps.