Home > Responsibility > Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 19 Nov 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Three lanes coming up to the round about. Left lane turns left only. Middle lane turns left and can also go straight. Right hand lane goes straight and right. I was in the middle lane following the road ahead when a car in the right hand lane came over into the middle lane and cameinto contact with my rear drivers side wheel arch causing a big scuff. When he bumped into me I flagged him down to pull over but he had other thoughts and drove off. I ended up catching the guy and wasn't until the police turned up that I managed to get his name and details.i have no witnesses but the other driver had 2 passengers. And accused me of coming over and hitting him .
Jch93 - 19-Nov-16 @ 8:50 AM
I pulled up at a junction looked doth ways nothing was coming so I pulled out. I was over half way across the road when a car suddenly appeared instead of going around me or slowing down the other driver turned hitting my backend (drivers side) with his front passenger side. can anyone help to say who is at fault
ben dover - 11-Nov-16 @ 4:03 PM
Shane I was in a similar scenario anyone shed any light, £250 out of pocket as insurance co say I went into the back of the car
Hche - 1-Nov-16 @ 9:27 PM
My son was riding a scooter at night. He went to overtake last min a car parked on his side of the road facing toward him. He went to overtake but there was a woman sitting in the car just started her engine and her lights came on. He could not risk overtaking as he could not see what was coming as he was dazzled by her head lights facing him. he had to do an emergency stop but new tar mark and unexperienced made him skid no faster than10 to 15 mph max into her front end of the car. Who is at fault please. It was a 50 cc scooter and the scooter lights are worse than a push bike lights
jason - 29-Oct-16 @ 11:27 AM
I was parked curb side. Getting ready to pull out of my parking spot i have my signal on waiting for traffic to pass taking proper caution.As i proceed to pull out, signal on, a car collides into my driver side door. The person claims hes not at fault.I believe he was speeding.His front right end was crushed, while my rear driver side was damaged. Whos at fault?
Kico - 23-Oct-16 @ 6:25 AM
My wife was in a accident last April satstationary in traffic on a slight Hill when a car hit here from behind the other party at the scene admitted liability ,insurance contacted wife's had loads of physio etc and now other driver saying wife rolled back into her and not admitting liability . What advice can you give as insurance solicitors don't seem to great :-( . My wife's car no way would of received the damage it had my rolling back thanks
Rob - 15-Oct-16 @ 9:12 PM
i was recently in an uncomplicated accident that my insurer will not take forward as they dont want to risk fighting the other insurer. i had reversed into a turning area as far as possible to to exit the street i was stationary in neutral but had all ready dry steered towards the direction to exit, before i could even select gear i was hit at speed on my front passenger corner by a new driver that immediately admitted they could not see me as the sun was in there eyes. they also claimed they were familiar with the road thus must know that this turning area is the only way to exit the street properly, i also have an unamed bystander claiming to have witnessed the driver speeding in this occasion and earlier that day.now i cant afford to pay the excess my inadequate insurer wants but i have no idea what to do as i clearly followed the highway code thus how can i be liable? do i sue the dvsa? insurer? driver? or do i just get screwed over please respond as i have a young family and i am struggling to afford a mortgage as it is
anthony - 11-Oct-16 @ 2:05 PM
ScenarioA - Your Question:
I was involved in a collision where I (car A) was in the inside lane; car B was in the middle lane and car C was in the outside lane. I saw car C swerve from the outside lane into car B and car B swerved to avoid car C and ended up hitting me. Car C, who caused the accident, didn't stop, but car B was the one who actually hit me. Do I need to claim from car B or my own insurance because it was car C who caused the accident but didn't stop, so I can't claim from them?

Our Response:
Your insurance company will be able to sort all this out for you. Give them a call for further advice/instruction on what to do.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 11-Oct-16 @ 12:13 PM
i was recently in an uncomplicated accident that my insurer will not take forward as they dont want to risk fighting the other insurer. i had reversed into a turning area as far as possible to to exit the street i was stationary in neutral but had all ready dry steered towards the direction to exit, before i could even select gear i was hit at speed on my front passenger corner by a new driver that immediately admitted they could not see me as the sun was in there eyes. they also claimed they were familiar with the road thus must know that this turning area is the only way to exit the street properly, i also have an unamed bystander claiming to have witnessed the driver speeding in this occasion and earlier that day.now i cant afford to pay the excess my inadequate insurer wants but i have no idea what to do as i clearly followed the highway code thus how can i be liable? do i sue the dvsa? insurer? driver? or do i just get screwed over please respond as i have a young family and i am struggling to afford a mortgage as it is
anthony - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:03 PM
i was recently in an uncomplicated accident that my insurer will not take forward as they dont want to risk fighting the other insurer. i had reversed into a turning area as far as possible to to exit the street i was stationary in neutral but had all ready dry steered towards the direction to exit, before i could even select gear i was hit at speed on my front passenger corner by a new driver that immediately admitted they could not see me as the sun was in there eyes. they also claimed they were familiar with the road thus must know that this turning area is the only way to exit the street properly, i also have an unamed bystander claiming to have witnessed the driver speeding in this occasion and earlier that day.now i cant afford to pay the excess my inadequate insurer wants but i have no idea what to do as i clearly followed the highway code thus how can i be liable? do i sue the dvsa? insurer? driver? or do i just get screwed over please respond as i have a young family and i am struggling to afford a mortgage as it is
anthony - 10-Oct-16 @ 9:35 PM
I was involved in a collision where I (car A) was in the inside lane; car B was in the middle lane and car C was in the outside lane. I saw car C swerve from the outside lane into car B and car B swerved to avoid car C and ended up hitting me. Car C, who caused the accident, didn't stop, but car B was the one who actually hit me. Do I need to claim from car B or my own insurance because it was car C who caused the accident but didn't stop, so I can't claim from them?
ScenarioA - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:55 AM
Good day I was in accident last year, September 11, there were 3 cars involved. Back then the guy that hit me from behind vanished on me, I opened up a case at the Police Station and the guy that was before me which I was actually pushed forward to was with me at the Station. I never reported the matter to my insurance so I ended up fixing my car, the guy before me said he would be doing quotations for the repairs of my car there by insinuating that I'm responsible for fixing his car. I never disputed, it wa my first time being involved in accident, I panicked and just didn't fight him. So that was the last time I had heard from him, until recently, he appeared out of nowhere claiming that I should fix his car, it been over a year...being the modest and very respectful person that I am, I heard him as he told me he has done a quotation and it amounts to 5 grand, contacted me again the next day and said his guy has come down to R3800 - I then told him I wanted to do my own quotation so he must meet with me for the car to be inspected (again here, I feel now that I admitted guilt but what guilt, of course I hit him but there was a cause for that and it was the person behind, I had no intention of hitting him from behind)...but doesn't the Prescription Act kicks in...shouldn't we both claim damages to the actual guy that was the cause of the accident?
Missunderstood - 6-Oct-16 @ 6:33 PM
Hi my partner was behind another car at a roundabout and as the car infront pulled away she followed but then the car infront stopped on the roundabout for no reason and she went up the back of the other car. So who is at fault? I have a witness who saw what happened and would be happy to give a statement
Shane - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:49 PM
My car was hit and very badly damaged by a cyclist last week. It was the cyclist at fault as I was turning right and he hit the side of me. Police attended and said cyclist at fault. But my insurance company are saying the cyclist can claim on MY insurance as he doesn't have any; public liability or something, even if I dispute it and don't claim myself! How can this be possible?
Bo - 16-Sep-16 @ 9:48 PM
I was recently in a car accident. My uncle was driving me to the urgent care because I was sick. We stopped at a 4 way light when the light turned green we went straight and was hit in the back passanger side. The ppl that hit us are claiming we hit them, but when they hit us we swerved right to avoid hitting a car in front of us and went thru a gate. We waited for aide and nobody came for over 30 mins I believed it was a hit and run so I took off to park my car at my sister in laws house which was 2 streets over. Before I made it we where pulled over and the police would not take our statements.I did not get other ppl info bUT they filed that their car was hit while they were parked. It's been over a week and police report not ready. What do I do and who is at fault? My uncle went to jail for causing damage to a moter vehicle, but when my insurance came to take pics they said looks like my car was hit. Idk what to do and only have liability insurance.
JULI - 23-Jul-16 @ 6:48 PM
I was sat parked on the left had side. A car had also parked behind me. I then signalled to do the turn in the road and as I was stationed in the middle of the road I looked around and went to reverse when all of a sudden the girl who was parked behind me decided it would be a good idea to move forward and park behind me whilst I was reversing. Our cars slightly hit. So who was in the wrong?
Lin90 - 21-Jul-16 @ 7:22 PM
Hi, I was at a four way Junction going right. There was a traffic que so I was still positioned side on while I Waited for flow to start again so I could straighten up and continue down the road. However a car came and hit me out of nowhere side on. He is now claiming I cut across his lane. What will insurers say?
Simone - 6-Jul-16 @ 1:05 PM
Scarlet - Your Question:
Daughter was hit from behind whilst stationery in queue. Other drive gave her details and admitted on day didn't take daughters details. Her insurance want her to except 50 50 as other driver now claim my daughter reversed as she was impatient to leave she is so upset doesn't know what to do. Told she will be liable for costs if she loses.

Our Response:
We can't really advise on this kind of issue. Usually it's sensible to take the advice of your insurer, but sometimes it might be that they're simply trying to make their job easier. Do any of our readers have any comments?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Jul-16 @ 9:42 AM
i was travelling over a bridge following the road to the left when a van came on my side of the road following the bend round and i hit his drivers wheel with my front passenger side,, he is stating i was over the drink limit cause he could smell it on my breath. i work in a pub and had not been drinking,, who will be at fault and should i of rang the police.. he has later changed his story stating he ewas doing a turn in the middle of the road
andy - 4-Jul-16 @ 6:02 PM
Daughter was hit from behind whilst stationery in queue.Other drive gave her details and admitted on day didn't take daughters details.Her insurance want her to except 50 50 as other driver now claim my daughter reversed as she was impatient to leave she is so upset doesn't know what to do.Told she will be liable for costs if she loses.
Scarlet - 4-Jul-16 @ 1:06 AM
Hi My friend was involved in a RTA this week. He was hit head-on by an oncoming and overtaking car, in his lane of course. Only thing is, he was found to be intoxicated when the Police arrived and they subsequently charged him. Can anyone explain how the two insurance companies will act? Thanks.
wrangler - 9-Jun-16 @ 5:56 PM
Hi over a year ago I had a letter from my insurance company telling me I was involved in an accident and had not reported it. In formed that that I hadn't so they said to leave if with them. A few month later the police call to say I was registered an being involved in a RTA and that a witness had seen my car hit another car. I said that my insurance company had informed me but I have no recollection of the incident. He looked at my car (clear from damage given what was damaged on the other car). Because he said they had a witness I accepted just to close the problem. I called my insurance company and they said fine. However 1 year I receive a county court claiming damages, so I call my insurance company and they say the witness f the accident gave a different make and model to my car. So they are challenging it. Because I was told by the police it was me and they had a witness does it mean I'm accepting liability and will it impact the insurance companies case as it looks like heading to court?
Dandy - 9-Jun-16 @ 2:12 PM
Hi, don't no if any of you could help me I was in a rta couple of months ago.. I was driving up a street where there is park cars each side, I was heading straight up towards the shops, as I was passing a car came straight out of a side road with give way lines and straight into the side of my passenger side and pushed me into the other side of the road into a bin.. Air bags came out and my car was a cat b write off. He was going at least 45mph, he isn't taking liability, and it's taking ages.. His car insurance has paid me for my car but still not taking reliability I have 3 witness but his car insurance are not even taking this into consideration.. Has anyone been in one like this or no how long it can take? Thanks
1991xx - 15-May-16 @ 6:25 PM
This is long, last year I was hit by a motorway Lorry on a road which took the drivers side of my car out ie new doors mirror ect...the Lorry was fitted with cct under the wheel arches, and I crossed the white line by a centermeter, the divers had day off sick and is claiming whiplash so its pending on my policy this was last year, but on the 6 April 2016 I was parked stationary on asda carpark when a Range Rover reversed in my front end, the driver got out and applogise i wrote down what happened and he signed it and admitted liability, 5 days later my insurance was up for renewal, it got renewed then my insurance company called saying they've made a mistake and won't insure me with 2 or more accidents unsettled pending on my policy, the third party said they would get me a curtisy car and repair my car, so I called them as they wasn't getting back to me, there now saying there policy holder saying he never had any contact with my vehicle,my car not insurared as my insurance has gone through the roof I've lost my NCB and on top of all this my cars been stolen, where do I stand? And are third party liable as I was insured when he hit my car, police have been called and told me my insurance company need to push for third party to admit it please help
Cruz - 7-May-16 @ 8:10 PM
I pulled in to kerb to park, driving through all 3 avaliable spaces - no other cars.stopped at the end, checked rear view...put her in to reverse, just to get a fraction closer to kerb, planned to reverse back to the first park space too as i knew they were vacant! .mirrors, mirrors, mirrors.....bang, smash.Mirrors.....nothing!!Hop out, here is this little blue sedan with its passenger headlight smashed in, bumper hanging off and a nice big dent in the bonnet from mytow ball.I have a ute with a lift kit....they had a little old sedan.So in the time ive stopped, put my head down to change gear, hes snuck in behind me.I was only a foot or so from kerb when i started to reverse.Ive gone almost through the middle 'free' space, and my back tyres are nice and snug next to kerb, when ive hit him. So, if anyone has the answers, i would like to know please: 1.What was his (if any) responsibilty to me, having not completed my maneuver? 2.He had stopped 1.5 metres (at least!!) away from kerb, is THAT a contribution factor? 3.Is this 100% my fault? I saw this car waiting at the intersection as ive come in.Now, his passenger had already stepped out or was stepping out of the car (apparently i almost hit him too!)when i hit them.So to me that says they have just pulled in quickly from intersection, without paying attention to my parking.. Thanks :)
BettyB - 28-Apr-16 @ 5:57 PM
I was at a junction waiting to turn right onto a main road. There was a parked car in front of me opposite the junction (on my side of the main road) and 2 parked cars on the corner of the opposite side (on the main road) i looked both ways twice and it was clear so i pulled out. As i was pulling out and was on my side of the main road i then heard and saw a car skid towards me coming from the opposite side. I broke hard and almost stopped as i just reacted out of instinct when he then pulled out to overtake the parked cars (as he wasn't going to stop in time) trying to squeeze inbetween us and hit my rear driver side quarter of the car with the corner of his car.He was clearly on my side of the road and i assume he was speeding as he skidded so far and it is a 20mph zone and there was speed bumps that im also assuming he was trying to go down the middle until he saw me pull out. He is saying i pulled out in front of him? Could this be when i had pulled out in plenty of time and was already on my side of the road when the accident occurred on my side of the road because he had to overtake the parked cars on his side?
H - 22-Apr-16 @ 4:22 AM
LF - Your Question:
My daughter was slowing reversing from a parking space. She noticed a man wanting to pass so stopped to let him by, she checked and it was free for her to pull out just to have a car traveling at a good speed come out of nowhere and the two cars scrape together. My daughters scrape is on the back bumper where the other car was near the wheel of the rear driver side door. Who would be at fault please? The lady came out of her car swearing away and was not pleasant to my daughter too.

Our Response:
We are able to say who's at fault in cases posted in comments as we don't have full possession of the facts.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 21-Apr-16 @ 11:28 AM
My daughter was slowing reversing from a parking space.She noticed a man wanting to pass so stopped to let him by, she checked and it was free for her to pull out just to have a car traveling at a good speed come out of nowhere and the two cars scrape together.My daughters scrape is on the back bumper where the other car was near the wheel ofthe rear driver side door.Who would be at fault please?The lady came out of her car swearing away and was not pleasant to my daughter too.
LF - 19-Apr-16 @ 6:43 PM
I was indicating left to come out of a side road I came out and some idiot was driving on the wrong side of the road and hit me he braked and moved but still scraped my bumper and then he said can we sort this abother way what an idiot. What do I do?
Irving mitchell - 17-Apr-16 @ 11:56 PM
Kirst - Your Question:
I was driving down a a single carriage way, when we got to one of those mini roundabouts, you know the ones where they are painted on the road and it's only a dot of a mound in the middle. At the round about you can either go left at 10o'clock or straight over at 12o'clock, or go round the roundabout back on yourself at a right turn. Anyway the car in front of me without any indicators that I could see turned left, so I carried on straight. However as I got to the centre of this so called roundabout the car that had turned left before me was now right I front of me indicating right and altho I slammed on brakes I still went into his drivers door. Who is said to be at blame.

Our Response:
We can't really say who is to blame when we only have one view point unfortunately. Your insurer should be able to help you.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 15-Apr-16 @ 10:51 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TrafficAccidentAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.