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.
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.
Hi - my daughter who has been driving for about 9 months approached a give way at a junction to turn right. She looked left and saw it was clear although there was a sharp bend she couldn't see around. As she turned right a car approached round the bed and struck the passenger side. She was doing around 10mph, the vehicle that struck her was doing 30+ and made no attempt to break on seeing her! The driver and passenger of that vehicle then verbally abused my daughter and stated it was definitely her fault.my daughter was very up set but did not admit liability. Can we blame the other vehicle as it did not break or is I my daughter wholly at fault as she was turning into the main road? Thanks!
We really can't comment as we do not have both sides of the story. Insurance companies are generally pretty good at establishing fault however, so best to leave it to them.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 25-Aug-15 @ 10:20 AM
Hi - my daughter who has been driving for about 9 months approached a give way at a junction to turn right. She looked left and saw it was clear although there was a sharp bend she couldn't see around. As she turned right a car approached round the bed and struck the passenger side. She was doing around 10mph, the vehicle that struck her was doing 30+ and made no attempt to break on seeing her! The driver and passenger of that vehicle then verbally abused my daughter and stated it was definitely her fault...my daughter was very up set but did not admit liability. Can we blame the other vehicle as it did not break or is I my daughter wholly at fault as she was turning into the main road? Thanks!
mick - 24-Aug-15 @ 5:41 PM
@Joeeey...Your question: "I was on a dual carriageway and it turned into 3 lanes and I was in the left hand lane and wanted to go to the 2nd exit therefore I indicated to go into the middle lane looked into both my mirrors and did not see another car behind me or to the side so as I started to pull into the other lane all of a sudden a car had gone straight Into the side of me and smashed my wing mirror clean off and dented the side of my car, who is to blame as he was going fairly fast before he had to brake? "
Unfortunately we cannot give individual advice on accidents but as rule if you miss something in your "blind spot" it is your fault.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Aug-15 @ 2:35 PM
I was on a dual carriageway and it turned into 3 lanes and I was in the left hand lane and wanted to go to the 2nd exit therefore I indicated to go into the middle lane looked into both my mirrors and did not see another car behind me or to the side so as I started to pull into the other lane all of a sudden a car had gone straight Into the side of me and smashed my wing mirror clean off and dented the side of my car, who is to blame as he was going fairly fast before he had to brake?
Joeeey - 4-Aug-15 @ 5:36 PM
I was making a right out of the gas station and went through 3 lanes of traffic to get to the fourth lane which was a turning lane to turn left at the traffic light. The light was red and there was space left in between the cars ( all four lanes go in one direction and I was going in the same direction as the cars) I was partially in the third lane when all of a sudden a truck hit the left rear side of my car near the back left tire. There was enough space for me to get through and clearly more than half of my car was occupying the lane on front of the truck. All traffic was stopped, including the truck. The driver even stated after he hit me that "I didn't see you. All I saw was the green light and just took off. You are the second person i've done this to". Who is at fault? He was stationary as I was pulling through because the light was red. I was almost in the turning lane.
Kay - 3-Aug-15 @ 2:53 PM
I was in an accident last week. Had only bought my car the day be4. I was stationery,indicating right and another vehical slowed down indicating left and began to make the left manoeuvre.Just as I began to pull out onto the main rd, hed swung bk on2 the main rd and drove straight in2 me. He admitted full liability and offered to pay for damages. I thought he was bein decent and trusted that he would pay for the full work. However when my car was fixed he said he would only pay half. I was outraged as im a single working mother and need my car for my job as im out in the community. What should I do?
shaz - 3-Aug-15 @ 10:21 AM
Hi, I went around the roundabout and upon approaching my exit i signalled left only to hear a big bang on the left, a car from the left just came straight into my car, i have priority over him surely, the worse thing is he stopped then accelerated off the scene. i couldn't get hold of his NP unfortunately. will you be able to help ?
Londoner007 - 17-Jul-15 @ 4:58 PM
The other day, I parked in a space that required me to manoeuvre out as though I was on flat driveway. Before I got in the car, I looked up and down the road to see what was coming, as there was a van parked two spaces up from me. I then pulled out slowly and a car on the opposite side went past. I continued to pull out, stopped at an angle to turn the wheel and look around before pulling off, as the van had also pulled out,at which point the same car reversed into me at about 10 miles an hour, destroying his rear light and putting a hole in the middle of my bumper.
Who would be at fault or would it be shared fault?
Nickalito - 12-Jul-15 @ 8:19 PM
@marky. If the insurance company considered the contractors were negligent/liable why will they not take it up on her behalf. Does she have fully comprehensive insurance?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 6-Jul-15 @ 2:23 PM
I was parked in a space, the road was clear so I pulled out to do a turn in the road as I reversed back into the space I had left another car reversed in to my reversing space and we collided who would most likely be to blame? I feel it would be the other driver as he reversed in to my manuver?
Andy/22 - 3-Jul-15 @ 10:41 PM
After dropping the kids off at school, my wife was returning home when she entered a local roundabout and collided with a works vehicle (that was maintaining the shrubbery on the roundabout on behalf of the local council) that was dangerously parked on the edge of the roundabout with 3/4 of the van in the carriageway. The van was completely obscured at the entrance of the roundabout by the foliage, and there were no warning signs, or cones evident. The works vehicle had no amber lights fitted and did not have hazard light illuminated. The sun was low and upon negotiating the roundabout, my wife did not see the van at all. The police attended and cautioned the user of the van, and took many photos of the scene (as did we) to clearly show the negligence of the works vehicle. No risk assesments were carried out by the contractors regarding the works that they were carrying out. Our insurance company, upon seeing the photographic evidence against the contractors, were also of the opinion that they were liable, but have since decided to pay out and put the blame with my wife. Do we have grounds to pursue the contractors/local council for negligence in the course of their duties. Since the accident, they now always use cones and warning signs when working on this roundabout.
Many thanks for any advice you can offer.
marky - 2-Jul-15 @ 1:24 PM
@Madnessphil. As you will have been taught when learning to drive, you should never assume that simply because a vehicle is indicating, that it is actually going to turn.
Section 104 watch out for signals given by other road users and proceed only when you are satisfied that it is safe
be aware that an indicator on another vehicle may not have been cancelled.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 26-Jun-15 @ 12:36 PM
I was on a main road waiting to turn right I was stationary with my indicator on I saw a car coming towards me and he indicated to turn the opposite right from me so I started turning into my junction when the other vehicle went straight forward and hit the back end of my car righting my car off , I asked him why did he indicate to turn right he said his indicator was stuck on, a few months later I got a phone call from my insurance saying it was my fault cause I should have waited to see If he turned , how can this be right when we were both on the same main road both indicated to turn opposite right surley it's his fault as he went forward instead of turning as he had ibdicated
Madnessphil - 22-Jun-15 @ 12:29 PM
hi, I was just in a crash on the way to work,I was driving in the left lane when a white van in front started to slow down, so I started to overtake in the central lane when suddenly the white van turned right and crashed into the rear left side of my car. he got out ranting and raving saying what was I doing,I dont think I done anything wrong as he didnt signal. he was blaming me. surely it was him in the wrong?
juju - 10-Jun-15 @ 9:35 AM
@Brazmucis. It's not for us to say who's at fault here. You should contact your respective insurance companies.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 20-May-15 @ 2:05 PM
I have a question about a near miss in a supermarket car park at the weekend.
My partner was driving along in the car park when he saw a space so he pulled out to the right in order that he could turn and access/swing into the car parking space.
With that a small, possibly fiat car, came haring up the inside of our car (passengers side) before we could get in the car parking space!! I screamed and my partner managed to break just in time to avoid a collision.... who would have been at fault in that accident?
SusieT - 18-May-15 @ 8:34 PM
Hi. I'm confused Friday I had a accident. I turn right in the side way. As I'm on the middle of the road motorcycle bump in my back passenger doors. I have a hole and scratches on my doors. Now two days later his calling me and ask me for 100£ is it fair. It wasn't my fault. Why I should pay him? Who pays for my doors? Can someone help with answer.
brazmucis - 17-May-15 @ 2:37 PM
Back in October 2014 at almost 8pm. I was travelling a long a farm country road. As I approached a slight bend in the road downhill. I noticed 2 sets of headlights facing me. One set on my side of the road. As natural instinct I slammed my brakes on to avoid a head on collision. To which my brakes locked meaning I could not have steered my vehicle. The oncoming car on my side of the road swerved on to his side colliding with the front drivers side of my car. I later found out that this man was drink driving. Now in May 2015. I have been blammed for the crash, told he will not be charged for any offences. And that he is claiming (a very big claim) against my insurance. Being young myself this means I may not be able to get insured again. I think this is wrong and the police man ( who wasn't a road traffic officer ) has decided completely wrong just because I am a young driver. Perfect example of how young drivers are victimised as poor drivers just because of age. This means a man WHO WAS DRINK DRIVING has got away with a driving offence and also ruining my insurance. I wonder what other people think of this...
J - 8-May-15 @ 1:32 PM
@emma. Seems to strange thing for an insurance company to do if what you say is true. Did you give them your police case number?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-May-15 @ 12:12 PM
@smithy. Usually inrear end crash like this the person behind takes the blame. It's not always that the case though, so make sure you plead your case with your insurance company.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 7-May-15 @ 1:50 PM
I have had an accident where i accidentally drove into the bus. the ambulance was not called as it did not look that any one was injured. the bus driver took my details and drove away.
if any of the passengers decide to claim an injury afterwards can i receive penalty points or be procecuted? i did not speed and was insured properly(it was a work van)
rimasuk - 6-May-15 @ 8:31 PM
I was pulling out of a parking space at the side of a road and checked my mirrors several times before doing so only to be hit by a motorcyclist. I never saw him coming and my passenger swears his light wasn't on. He was breathalysed at the scene and found to be over the limit. The police are saying he is at fault but my insurance company wants me to claim off my own insurance saying it's my responsibility and are refusing to contact the police. Who is at fault?
emma - 3-May-15 @ 1:11 PM
I was driving down the road a car length away from the car in front when it slowed down quickly in the middle of the road to chat to someone at the bus stop, no indications and never noticed the brake lights but I still hit it. I've been driving ten years and never caused a crash until now am I 100 percent in the wrong
smithy - 1-May-15 @ 2:52 AM
I was on my way to work this morning an was approaching a junction i saw a car coming in the distance and realised i had plenty of time to exit the junction i turned left and began to travel along the road, i checked mu rearview mirror to go into fourth gear and saw the car approaching rapidly behind me and saw the driver attempt to swerve and i can remember thinking i cant believe they are going to overtake when there is a bend coming up however they have hit my car and took all the right side back end off.Within moments somebody the other driver knew was there pushed all evidence further down the road into the side and they both started pointing the blame at me saying i had pulled out infront and moved my car up the road But i know myself i was not in the wrong and had plenty of time and had never moved my car.There is evidence of where the other cars radiator leaked on the road with photographic evidence showing how far away from the junction I had gotten. There was also no attempt by the other driver to brake therefore there was not any skid marks on the road. Can anybody tell me what they think will happen?
Den - 27-Apr-15 @ 11:39 PM
@Michaelwmichael - That would be for the insurance companies to decide once they had received both sides of the story.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 15-Apr-15 @ 2:31 PM
I hit someone yesterday in the back side because they didn't give way to me I braked late therefor hit their car who is to blaim and can I claim on my insurance?will they also have to pay anything on their insurance?
michaelwmichael - 14-Apr-15 @ 6:39 PM
@sj. They may want to speak to him in person and to inspect the damage to the car?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 14-Apr-15 @ 12:35 PM
Hi, I had a bump today.I was driving around a McDonald's car park to leave.There was a very long line for drive through which people were driving away from.I drove the length of the car park to turn right, my vision was unclear to my left so I was creeping out.As I'd driven the length I'd also been checking the other lane to my left seeing if cars were moving, none were that I'd noticed.As I as creeping out, my car now on a slight angle a car beeped to my left to which I stopped but he continued driving.He went from my left to right in seconds catching his back door and wheel arch.I was the one leaving the junction so I'm presuming it's my fault but he was definitely going too fast.I was more worried about the child that was in the back of his car whilst him and his partner took photos.I gave all of my details not realising I had to take his aswell.I was told the child was more upset because she wasn't having McDonald's now.I'm thinking McDonald's and Game may have cctv.What should I do, I thought they just do everything now, not once did I say it was my fault, but I did say I'm more concerned about the kids than the cars, I also had my 2 year old nephew and 13 year old autistic daughter, plus my 19 year old and mother.He had partner and o young kids in the back.I also rang my husband so I've got exact time of accident.
newtothis - 11-Apr-15 @ 11:12 PM
My son had an accident. There was no other cars involved and he was not injured. We have claimed from the insurers as the car had some damage. They are sending someone to interview him. Why is this ?
sj - 11-Apr-15 @ 6:06 PM
mY husbands car was slighly nudged when he was reversing out of a parking spot on to a main road the other car pulled out of a side road and scrapped the back of my husbands car as he swung round both drivers said there was no damage to claim and even though my husband reported it to his insurance he never expected next what happened he told the insure he wasnt making a claim and the insurance said they would inform him straight away if the other driver claimed. twelve months later my husband received a letter from the insurance saying that they had settled the third party claim to the tune of £1629 and had now closed the case my husband rang the insurance to ask them what was going on as he had not had any corrospondant from the insurance company to this effect it was put in the hands of the customer relation officer who has sent him a cheque for £50 for their poor servicebut they have refused to alter their so called findings this case has now been turned over to the finacial omnibus service .