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.
@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 .
ange - 2-Apr-15 @ 12:01 AM
@SJH. You'll really have to leave this to your insurance companies to resolve. If she's said she was reversing out of a car park and wasn't - this will come to light when the fine details of the claim are examined.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 31-Mar-15 @ 12:49 PM
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.