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Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 27 Mar 2017 | 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.

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[Add a Comment]
Sal - Your Question:
Just coming off roundabout onto 2 lane road, which turns left then merges about 800 yards from where I was - in outside lane on the bend. It was clear in front so stayed in my lane ready to merge behind the car I could see at least 400 yards in front. Suddenly, another car's front right collides into my front left passenger door. He says he was in his lane & I must've strayed into his. I know I was in my lane,.I drive that road in the same way every week day. I said even if I had have strayed I was in front so he could see me & compensate, but he said he didn't see me. How could he have not seen me!? I had no way of knowing he was there as he was in my blind spot. In insurance terms who's to blame?

Our Response:
We can't give individual advice on blame when we only have one party's version of events, sorry.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 29-Mar-17 @ 11:53 AM
Just coming off roundabout onto 2 lane road, which turns left then merges about 800 yards from where I was - in outside lane on the bend. It was clear in front so stayed in my lane ready to merge behind the car I could see at least 400 yards in front. Suddenly, another car's front right collides into my front left passenger door. He says he was in his lane & I must've strayed into his. I know I was in my lane,.I drive that road in the same way every week day. I said even if I had have strayed I was in front so he could see me & compensate, but he said he didn't see me. How could he have not seen me!? I had no way of knowing he was there as he was in my blind spot. In insurance terms who's to blame?
Sal - 27-Mar-17 @ 5:58 PM
i was on a roundbout at shopping center just near the exit the lite was red so was just sorta in the 2 lanes but still on rounderbout waiting for the lites to changewhe a car come up my left side ( passenger side) hite me at front i hadent moved he and another car stopped ( his witness ) and said it was my falt..... am i at falt everyone says no my passenger says not my falt :(
davis - 17-Feb-17 @ 2:26 PM
I had an accident 3 weeks ago with a bus. I was at a junction and the bus indicate to turn left. I move out as soon as I see the bus indicating.To my surprise the bus did not turn it went straight.We had an accident.At the scene of the accident the bus indicator was still on showing that the bus was turning left.I ask the driver why is his indicator on he said because it's his and he have a right to keep it on. I am not sure who is at fault. Not sure why the bus was in the left Lane and not the right Lane.
Fi - 8-Feb-17 @ 10:29 PM
I had an accident back in December. An out of control vehicle crashed into me. There were no witnesses but police and ambulance were involved. I have suffered injuries and alot of emotional stress. The police have written a report stating that the third party were responsible for causing the crash and I was the innocent party. The third party sustained head injuries and states he can't remember anything. My insurance company have told me that although they accept my version and are pursuing the third party the third parties insurance still could go for a 50 50 blame as they may claim he had a blackout. Surely that has to be proven? Why should I take any blame at all? He hit me and a police report including photos prove it. I have been going through hell as it is without that to worry about. Can anyone advise please?
Sal - 17-Jan-17 @ 8:46 PM
Was a passenger today in sons car when car smacked straight into back of us at traffic lights pulled over she admitted she was fully to blame that she washed her car and the brakes got wet from car wash resulting brakes not working lead to her going into back of us.she was very unapologetic at all her attitude was well your cars a heap junk so what I pointed out May not be lot damage but it's the impact we took.His exhaust now rattling dint to bumper but more importantly we both left exstreamly in shock hurt my side.her attitude was terrible just didn't care surly if you're in the wrong 1st thing to make sure everyone ok.my son said why are you be like this you've just hit us!!!she said hardly any damage so whats the problem!Only her passenger that was apologetic explain can go threw insurance I said why should you claim of my sons only you at fault what should we do just imagine if been little old couple would she be so nasty and uncaring knowing when she washes her car her brakes fail should she be driving whilst brakes fail when wet?
Zoe - 31-Dec-16 @ 3:19 PM
Was driving down road and taxi pulled out of junction infront of me and is not taking liability what action should I take
Richard - 28-Dec-16 @ 2:52 PM
I was driving on a straight road.Got to a junction and stopped. As I continue to move on on the same straight high road, a van hit me on the driver side but further back to my back tire. Who's fault is this ?
Kk - 10-Dec-16 @ 8:51 PM
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
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