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.
@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
@Hyundai. This is the kind of thing that is impossible to comment on or advise. If there were no witnesses, you will both need to give a full description to your respective insurance companies and they will make the decision based on all the facts.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 4-Dec-14 @ 11:11 AM
@Shaun Noble. To trace the driver you may have to contact the police. You could try contacting your insurance company to see what they advise.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 3-Dec-14 @ 2:00 PM
So, I live on a fairly main street, I was turning right from my property saw I had a clear path to turn and turned slowly when I turned another car hit my side out of no where. It was a 4wd. We both pulled over and there was no damage to her car except a slight scuff on her wheel but there was damage to the side front of my car and it will be costly to fix. She said she had right of way because she was going straight but I was half way through turning when she hit me. It was a 50 zone as well and when I turned there was a clear path to turn. I believe she was at fault. Though she is arguing it was me who was at fault. So please someone help me out. Who was at fault? There was no witnesses so it's really difficult
Hyundai - 2-Dec-14 @ 1:52 PM
I was in an indoor carpark and had stopped as a car was reversing out of s spot when a car drove into the rear of me.I got out and looked as did the other driver but it seemed like only a plastic trim had popped out which I pushed back in.And some minor scuffs which I wasn't bothered about. I said it was ok to the other driver and we both left. Upon getting home and closer inspection I found that the rear skirt/bumper was now hanging off and I am now having lower back pain from the jolt. I have the registration of the other car. Am I able to do anything
Shaun Noble - 30-Nov-14 @ 3:18 PM
@GGM. We don't have the full details here so cannot comment. But remember, one thing you learn when you start driving is never to make assumptions about another driver's intentions.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 6-Nov-14 @ 12:39 PM
Hi was just wanting some advice. I was in an accident in a car park. I have already left my parking space and was traveling on the straight road of the car park out. I saw the other car across the car park leave their space also and head towards the junction to join the road i was already on. I didn't pay much attention to the car after that assuming the would stop till I passed and focused my concentration to the road ahead as a tight bend was coming that can only assist one car. The car then pulled out and hit my driver side front wheel arch. I automatically expected it to be resolved quite quickly through the insurance however they are still undecided on fault. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks
Ggm - 5-Nov-14 @ 1:46 PM
@Confused Individual. This will be for the insurance companies to decide. You should give all information honestly when completing the insurance forms though...omitting to say that you braked etc is foolhardy.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 31-Oct-14 @ 2:11 PM
Hi, can someone please shed some light?a known individual has had an accident, where as she was moving lanes from right to left, she checked her mirrors indicated checked and started to move over, she noticed another vehicle which was alongside her (to the left) so she moved back into the right hand lane, the other vehicle slammed on the brakes (road wet as it had been raining) and her ABS kicked in and she collided with the individual, the other person does not want to mention that her ABS kicked in or that she broke, both cars damaged and the known individual will need both passenger front and back repainting.What needs to be done now?Any advice muchly appreciated
confusedindividual - 30-Oct-14 @ 12:53 PM
@nnutty. It was probably because the other driver complained and they thought they had better do something about it! The police would normally breath test all drivers in a serious RTC but as noone was hurt, we imagine they didn't feel the need to in this situation.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 29-Oct-14 @ 9:30 AM
Hi the other night I was involved in a crash I was in n/s lane on a 2 lane road (a6181) came through the lights witch had turned green as I aprochedthem
i pass them and 60 yards down road there's a set off lights to my left contoling traffic that cuts over the roadim on (canal rd)a car drove into side off me pushing my car to the o/s lane I rang the police and they came checked we where both legal we where
he then left but came back 15 min later asked me to get in car and asked have you been drinking off course I had not gave me a berth test and passed 0 reading he was not happy about coming back and opens his widow and shouted to other driver that I was clear he then told me that the other driver or some one representing him had rang them saying i was drunk but the other driver was not given a berth test is this normal id expect both parties to be tested ?
nnutty43 - 26-Oct-14 @ 6:17 PM
@notatfault - unfortunately unless you can prove that he did not brake or deliberately set out to crash his 'works' vehicle, then it will be difficult for you without professional legal assistance.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 24-Oct-14 @ 12:37 PM
@musia. If you had seen that the door was already partially open, there's a good argument that you should really have allowed for the door opening in its entirety. However do not let someone bully you by saying they work for a law firm if you feel you are in the right.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 24-Oct-14 @ 11:58 AM
Thank you for the response.
I believe the van driver did not attempt to brake/slow down to let me in the right hand lane. Considering we were travelling at no more than 5 mph, he could have easily had enough stopping time and I feel this is warranted by the fact he used his horn before hitting me - it was almost as if he thought 'I am in a work van and so I don't care if I hit you'.
Your advice is much appreciated.
notatfault - 22-Oct-14 @ 4:30 PM
@notatfault - could the van have been in your blind spot? What isthe van driver's opinion? As we often state, this will be up to your insurance companyand/or the police to resolve. What do any of our readers think?