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What to do after a car accident

Find out exactly what to do if you’re in a car accident

It’s never how you expect your day to turn out when you set off in the car, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, so it’s good to know what to do in the event an accident happens to you.

Whether the accident was your fault or not it’s good to have a rough idea of how to proceed.

Straight after the accident

  • Stop the car as soon as you’re able, it’s actually an offence if you don’t.
  • Turn off your engine
  • Turn on your hazard lights using the red triangle symbol on your dashboard
  • Make sure that you and your passengers are not injured.
  • If it’s a minor collision and there are no injuries, make a note of what happened as soon as you’re able. This way if the other party tries to claim for an injury at a later date you have notes to refer to.
  • If anyone is hurt or the road is blocked you will need to call the police and an ambulance immediately.
  • Remain as calm as possible, it’s normal for you to feel shaken after an accident, so take a few deep breaths and don’t lose your temper.
  • Be careful not to apologise or admit responsibility for the accident until you’re completely aware of what happened. This can protect you from liability if it wasn’t your fault.

When to call the police in an accident

Call the police immediately if:

  • The other driver leaves the scene without giving details
  • You think the other driver has no insurance
  • You believe the other driver to be under the influence of drink or drugs
  • You suspect that the other driver caused the collision deliberately

What details to exchange with the other party

  • Your name and address
  • Insurance information
  • Details of any passengers and witnesses to the accident
  • Find out whether the other driver is the registered owner of the vehicle, if not find out who the owner is, as you’ll need their information for insurance purposes.
  • If your accident is involved with a foreign lorry you’ll need to get the numbers on both the lorry and it’s trailer, as sometimes they are different. It’s also a good idea to take note of the company advertised on the lorry.

What details to record at a car accident scene

  • About the car; make, model, colour and number plate. You can take pictures if you prefer.
  • Date and time of the crash.
  • Driving conditions; was it light / dark? What was the weather like? Road quality – were there markings? Were there a lot of potholes? Roadworks?
  • Damage to the vehicles; you should record both the type of damage and where it is on the car.
  • Injuries to driver’s passengers or pedestrians.
  • Names and contact details for any witnesses.
  • Take pictures; of the scene, positions of the cars and damage.

How to make a claim after a car accident

The most important thing is that you phone your insurance company as soon as possible. Ideally you would do it at the time of the accident.

  • They will ask you for the following:
  • Your policy number or information to identify you.
  • The registration number of the vehicle involved.
  • The other driver’s details; name, address and phone number.
  • The other driver’s insurance details.

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