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Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

Author: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 28 March 2015 | commentsComment
Accident Insurance Injury Injuries

When you're involved in a road traffic accident it's likely that you will initially be suffering from shock, whether or not you are physically injured. To add to that you've got to worry about your car insurance, who is admitting liability, and what the law demands you do in the aftermath of a collision.

Straight After a Collision

Regardless of your initial thoughts on who is to blame, don't get out of your car and start shouting and yelling at the other driver(s). Whatever the situation, it's not going to help if you lose it and all that people can remember at the scene is you going mad - it won't cast the kindest light on your situation if you end up having to go to court.

Admitting Fault

First things first, don't admit that you are to blame for the collision. Insurance companies take a dim view of people who admit liability, and even if you feel that it is your fault you shouldn't offer to take the blame at the scene. Remember that it's up to investigators to figure out what happened and who to point the finger at. You can provide the insurance company with a full statement later on and let them take the appropriate course of action.

A driver is not legally obliged to admit that they are at fault at the scene of an accident, so don't be bullied into doing so or try to force anyone else to admit liability. Of course if you do say that you were to blame and apologise for the crash, then if anyone hears you, they might be asked to stand up in court and say that you admitted liability at the scene. Remember that if you're in shock it can do funny things to you and you might say something that you don't mean, so avoid taking responsibility for anything.

Why Shouldn't I Admit Fault if I Think I am to Blame?

If the other driver is pushing you to admit fault remember that if you admit liability when you aren't to blame then you run the risk of losing any compensation you might have got from injuries sustained in the accident, and depending on the level of car insurance you have, you may end up without a car or a settlement payment.

The Other Driver Hit Me. How Can I Prove This?

Straight after the accident, look around and see if there are any bystanders. Unfortunately lots of people don't want to get involved as witnesses anymore, but you might strike lucky and find someone who saw the whole thing and who is willing to give you their contact details so that you can get in touch with them later on. If you can, it's a good idea to ask for a business card or to ask them to write out their details for you, you will probably be running on adrenalin after the accident and might get things wrong.

It's always a good idea to carry a disposable camera in your glovebox or somewhere in the car just in case you are involved in an accident. It doesn't take up much space and investigators can look at your photographs when you put in your insurance claim and may be able to tell from the position of the cars in the photograph who is most likely to be at fault.

If you suspect the other driver was on their mobile telephone or was distracted in some way, make a note of the reasons why you think this. When the insurance company are looking into it they may make the choice to contact the mobile service provider and find out if the other driver was on the phone. If you think any witnesses saw the other driver doing something that caused the crash, make sure you speak to them and get their details first.

Leave it to The Experts

Insurance companies have dedicated investigators who will look at all the evidence and make a decision based on what they can see and what they find out from their enquiries. The best thing you can do is get as much information and evidence on the accident as possible and forward it onto your insurers - it's their responsibility to decide who was at fault.

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I was driving down a street and came to a stop to turn right into another street. Their was another car in front of me also going to turn right. while waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, another vehicle reversed from a parking bay (the parking bays are next to the street) into the side of my vehicle at the rear. The driver of that vehicle said she is very sorry and didn't see me (have no witnesses to this). she gave me her details and said she will contact her insurance. I gave all documents to insurance, but the refuse to pay out the claim cause they said their client said I was not standing still with my vehicle and that I saw her reversing and done nothing to avoid her. Can you please give me advise on this matter. Thank you
needhelp - 28-Mar-15 @ 6:44 AM
I was driving along a road and on my side someone was parked (illegally on double yellows) so I went past as they were not indicating and with no indication or anything this vehicle pulled out and smashed into the side of my car she admitted full responsibility at the scene then when I got home my insuarance company rang her and she had made up some story how she was reversing out of a car park!!! Even though her front was damaged from where she pulled out and hit me. There were no witnesses and I was so shocked I didn't take pictures. Who is to blame and what will happen now?
Sjh - 27-Mar-15 @ 6:04 PM
i went to pick my son up from school yesterday i found at the top of the street there were parking spaces, there were no other cars parked in front of me so i indicated pulled into the gutter and slowly started reversing back towards the other parked cars, a lady came round the other parked cars and saw another car coming towards her and slightly pulled over intothe spot i was reversing into i was checking my mirrors all the time and she was not there when i looked but obviously she was travelling at about 30 mph and i was crawling. whos at fault here.
mandy - 18-Mar-15 @ 5:49 AM
@tonymontana. Did you contact the police at the time? If so they may have seen from the damage that the van was travelling above the speed limit and taken additional measurements etc? If not, then you're really at the mercy of the insurance company. They are usually fairly competent at assessing liability if they are furnished with all the facts. Contact them and ask whether they have taken the speed of the vehicle into account? The fact that you caused the obstruction, may have overidden the speed factor anyway?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 24-Feb-15 @ 10:02 AM
I was parallel parked on the right hand side of a single lane residential road with cars on both sides. I crept forward and out around 15cm to gain visibility. I saw van which was speeding the other way, and stopped my manoeuvre, but he clipped the front of my car, then hit two more cars causing substantial damage. He has moved the cars over 1 metre and damaged his van. Three cars are written off. I have taken witness statements saying he was doing over 40, and photos regarding the damage, the distance travelled, and what I deem to be the cause of collision. It clearly shows that he must have been going over the speed limit (20) to cause so much damage. Where do I stand? My insurance suggested I was at fault. I have told them I'm not, and sent photos and statements, now its been passed on to investigators. Thanks.
tonymontana - 21-Feb-15 @ 3:47 PM
@Bubbles. Was the car actually illegally parked? Your vehicle was the one that did the damage. You could try contesting this but it's unlikely you'll be successful.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 16-Feb-15 @ 11:04 AM
I parked at the top of a hill, left handbrake on only to an hour later find out my car had somehow managed to come down the hill at a snails pace according to a witness and then my car nudged against a car which was illegally parked on the pavemt no obvious damage but they have invoices for £60 for the tracking on their car, how can they charge me for it when they were illegally parked on the pavemt And even people around say they are constantly parking on the pavement illegally which to my understanding causes damage to tracking more so than my car hitting there's at about 2 miles per hour if that, according to the witness who saw it happen. Should I pay or reply back expressing the factsorryy car rolled down but it was insufficient to cause the tracking to be out on their car which was illegally parked
Bubbles - 12-Feb-15 @ 11:04 PM
@pedestrian - having been involved in an accident myself recently where I was the driver of the vehicle and a 15 year old walked out in front of me, I have been informed by my insurance company that even though I have a witness to say I did everything I could and the teenager stepped into the road not using the correct crossing, had headphones in and their head down, I will still have to admit 100% fault. I am not surprised that you have received this letter and claim from the driver, but if it goes to court I am pretty sure you wouldn't have to pay 100%.In virtually all car vs pedestrian cases the liability is split between the pedestrian and car - even if the pedestrian has admitted they weren't crossing in the correct way.The insurance law seems to always be on the side of the pedestrian (even more so if the pedestrian is a child). I have been advised to seek my own legal advice and put in a claim against the pedestrian for my accident as I have suffered anxiety and insomnia since.It doesn't sit right with me to claim against a 15 year old, but at the same time it is very difficult to swallow that I will have to admit 100% liability when someone has had no regard for their own safety and stepped out in front of me. The chances are the claim from the driver is because if they don't claim from someone else they will have their no claims bonus affected and their premium affected for 5 years until they aren't required to declare the claim on insurance policies anymore.I would suggest that it is their insurance company pushing this, not them.Seek legal advice, but yes, as the person below me has said, it will be your house insurance they are expecting to pay out.
insuranceadvice - 11-Feb-15 @ 8:10 PM
@pedestrian.It's extremely rare to make a claim against a child pedestrian, who certainly won't have the means to pay. We're guessing they're hoping that the claim can be made against your house insurance somehow? Legal advice is probably your best recourse - make an appointment with a solicitor - the first half hour consultation is often free of charge.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 11-Feb-15 @ 2:12 PM
@Lou. She is fully entitled to contact her insurance company and there's not much you can do about that unfortunately.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 9-Feb-15 @ 11:10 AM
My daughter was hit by a car a few weeks ago whilst crossing the road outside her school. Although I was not there when it happened witnesses and my daughter Say she stepped out into the road without checking the oncoming traffic. Unfortunately an approaching car had no time to stop and she was hit - luckily she did not sustain life changing injuries however she did break her leg badly, which after a 4 hr op is healing well. The driver was in shock but sustained no injury staying at the scene until my daughter left in the ambulance. My daughter was crying a lot and apologising to her teachers saying she was sorry for walking out into the road. The driver's windscreen was smashed and a front light broken in the accident. The police took a record and came to the hospital to find out to check with my daughter what happened. Again my daughter kept saying it was her fault - and the police agreed and said the driver hadn't been driving over speed limit - the police said she wasn't in trouble and that was the end if the matter and she just need to take better care and concentrate on her recovery - he also suggested my daughter write the driver a card to let him know about her recovery and gave me his address - she wrote to him in hospital and once home she received a get well card from him. Now a month later I have received a letter from the driver saying his insurance won't pay out. He has included receipts for the costs of his car repairs plus he says his insurance has gone up by £271. He is suggesting I pay a balence of over £500 ? Please advise if I am obligated to pay.
Pedestrian - 8-Feb-15 @ 7:35 PM
I bumped I to the back of a car that was stationary, on a blind bend in a lane waiting for a tractor to pass. The conditions were icy - no major damage but other driver has blamed me and contacted her insurance even though I offered to pay for the damage to her car-advice please!
Lou - 4-Feb-15 @ 12:16 PM
@Buzz. That's for the insurance company to decipher unfortunately. If there is any CCTV or safety camera there, they may be able to request evidence from the police.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 3-Feb-15 @ 10:33 AM
I was waiting at a junction they were lights on my right which turned red as i pulled out a car came through the lights hitting me the driver claimed the lights were amber (he lied) even so who is to blame
Buzz - 29-Jan-15 @ 11:37 PM
@Plzhelp. Your insurance company should be able to help you with this as they must already be involved with the claim.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 23-Jan-15 @ 2:18 PM
Plz help my husband and I had both cars smashed into just b4 christmas. Early hours in the morning. Our neigbers woke us up to tell us it wre a hit un run. Anyway we found the lad that had hit us also he admitted he was at fault so my insurance has payed out,, hubby car is now in for repairs. We have just found as police have interviewed him Monday and now he is say that the girl was driveing his car Plz help wot happens to our insurance now do we have to cough it it up
Plzhelp - 21-Jan-15 @ 8:14 PM
@Day. Of course they can remember who was driving! Name all four of them to the police - if you say you were driving it yourself and you weren't, then you are giving misleading information to the police which is a crime in itself.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 19-Jan-15 @ 11:16 AM
Hi, i lent my car to my mates so they could get us all a pizza while I was busy at home mending my quad bike. The next morning I noticed part of my number plate was missing. i just assumed the idiots were larking about & pulled it off to annoy me. now recently I have recieved a letter from the police to name a driver because apparently my car was involved in hitting the fence & the missing part of my number plate has been found near the damaged fence. My 4 mates that might of been in the car at the time of the accident cannot remember who was driving can I or they can be prosecuted
Day - 15-Jan-15 @ 1:34 PM
@Slc. YOu've not said whether car was coming from behind or in front etc? Your respective insurance companies will be able to assess who is to blame after being given the full details.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 9-Jan-15 @ 10:55 AM
@Tor. Contact the police and tell them exactly what you've told your insurance company.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Jan-15 @ 10:39 AM
I had a accident where i was making a turn of the road. i was half way through the manoeuvre when a car collided into the side of my car at such speed i was pushed into a wall. it was a 20 mph road. whos at fault?
slc - 7-Jan-15 @ 4:42 PM
This morning a taxi driver rolled in to the back of my car. No damage we was both basically stationary. I rang my insurance company not to make a claim because it was nothing really he just tapped my car. Hes know gone to the police and said i reversed into him. We didnt exchange details because like i said it was nothing all at really. He obvously took my number plate after. Do i need to ring the police also or just leave it as i have contacted my insurance
Tor - 6-Jan-15 @ 11:34 AM
@tcoy. Unfortunately we as website providers cannot determine who is at fault in these cases. The insurance company should have received all the details and are usually in the best position to make a decision on these things.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Jan-15 @ 2:01 PM
hi sorryI was in car parkstarted to revirsingout my bayin one way roundcar parkme and other car hit mytowbar hit a caron the side he was drivingwrong way round the carpark my ins saying I at faultas I going backwardshow I wrongthis chap was going wrong way
tcoy - 30-Dec-14 @ 4:00 PM
hi I was in carpark at mc donalds in parking bay the carpark in one wayset upI was revising out my bay looking both ways car comingwrong wayroung in carpark my insuranceare saying my fault how its one waytraffic Iwas going rite wayiam not a owlandcars shouldn't come other waywho at fault
tcoy - 30-Dec-14 @ 3:54 PM
I was pulling out of a car parking space in tesco to turn right, there was a white van restricting my view to the left of me. As I creep out a motor bike hit the right hand front wing. He came off his bike. He explained no injuries but scratches to bike. Costing over £1000 to repair. Will I be at fault or will it be 50/50
louise - 28-Dec-14 @ 4:19 PM
@mrs S. State the facts, if you were turning right, the vehicle behind should not have overtaken. The insurance company usually makes reasonable judgements on cases like these.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 10-Dec-14 @ 12:00 PM
Help I need some advice. Yesterday morning I was waiting to turn right, when traffic cleared I started to turn when all of a sudden I was hit on the drivers door. My door window smashed and door was caved in. He got out said he was turning right with me. Now hes saying ive violently swerved into him. He was coming from begin me. He said he didn't see my indicator on. Hoe can his insurance believe him. I think he was on him phone or talking to his mate didnt see I wasn't moving when he saw I was waiting panicked swerved to miss me but ive started to turn. I did see the van behind me before I set off but never thought for 1 minute he was going to try and over take me :( I very confused driver who's never made a claim help.
mrs s - 9-Dec-14 @ 9:15 PM
@kit. Unfortunately this is often what the insurers will do if they cannot establish whether one party is fully to blame or not. You could try and insist that you were not at fault - but you'd need to provide evidence to back this up for the insurance company to really take notice.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Dec-14 @ 10:34 AM
I was following a car up a residential street at about 20mph. No other cars were in the street apart from one parked on the left kerb. The driver in front of me slowed and pulled in to the left, in front of the parked car against the kerb. I assumed he was parking up. As I continued on my line having slowed to about 15mph he then pulled out across the carriageway to pull into a drive on the right without signalling left or then right. I struck his drivers door and sustained a small amount of damage to my left wing. He immediately admitted that he was not paying attention since his elderly mother was standing on the pavement and he knew he was not signalling, he apologised, saying he would pay for the damage to my car without going through the insurers. I now am being pursued for the damages, the insurers are recommending a 50/50 split. I was driving carefully with my 2 children in the car, no other witnesses were present, apart from his mother. I was in no way able to stop to avoid the collision and feel that I was not at fault. I have been driving for 25 years and never had a prang before.
kit - 5-Dec-14 @ 9:59 AM
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