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Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 23 Jul 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.

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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
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.
Kirst - 14-Apr-16 @ 10:17 AM
Can you advise me on who is at fault - everyday I have to access a roundabout to approach the motorway via a slip road - the approach is a dual carriage way and one lane has road markings clearly showing it should be used to go straight ahead, whereas the right states that it is to go around the roundabout to access the slip road.There are however two lanes around the roundabout itself. Everyday I see near misses where people use the left lane deliberately with a view to accessing the slip road - treating it as a short cut.Very often they don't bother indicating and undertake in the process. Generally speaking, people in the right lane will look to move over to the left to access the slip road. Where a collision takes place in the process who is at fault?Technically the car in the left lane should not be there in the first instance, they have ignored the road markings, have not indicated and undertaken - the driver following the correct procedure would have collided with the car, which may have been in his blind spot and may have been undertaking? I think it is knock for knock but don't know if ignoring the road markings have any bearing on the situation?
debsydoodah - 23-Mar-16 @ 5:12 PM
I was reversing out of a parking spot and it was clear put my car in first gear after reversingand was hit frombehind.the other person had reversedout of a parking spot in the main car park didn't give way at the give way at the give way lines on her part of road just drove straight out an into me who at fault
Lel - 18-Mar-16 @ 4:31 PM
Hi My partner had an accident last week. He was overtaking a bus which had stopped at a bus stop another car came from behind him shot past dragging his front end out (and completly off) and around the bus nearly squashing him up against the bus, they travelled on for well over 50 metres before they stopped..... They got out the car immediately and started taking photos I approached them and asked if they was ok to which they replied yes then called the police...... My partner and her swapped insurance details and she drive her car home ours was not driveable and now we are awaiting an investigation from the insurance companies however since then we have also received a personal injury claim
lcy_cts - 17-Mar-16 @ 1:58 PM
William - Your Question:
Hi, looking for some advice on this one. I was driving along a clear single carriageway main road that has two residential streets leading off it, one to the right, the other to the left some 50 meters further along. I indicated to turn left down this second residential street, slowed down to make the maneuver and as I looked into the street, I could see cars parked closely to the junction off the main road. I had to turn slowly to avoid hitting the parked cars on my left. The vehicle behind me came from nowhere, hit my passenger side door, front passenger wing, near-side front wheel and suspension. The speed of his vehicle was such that it hit me completely across this junction with my car ending up in the residential garden wall. My car was written off and I suffered some minor injuries. The driver insisted that I was indicating right and so he undertook me and that I had turned into him - he hit me in the side from behind? It has gone to court with the insurance companies to prove liability and as no defence was given from the other driver, my insurance company obtained judgement. Now, months later, they are trying to set aside judgement using my indicating as their defence. Giving him the benefit of the doubt that he thought I was indicating to turn right (I wasn't), is one allowed in law to undertake a vehicle on a single carriageway when there was no room to safely do so? I don't know how they think this is a defence? Also, his speed on this 30mph road was far, far in excess of the limit and that shows by the side damage on my car (scrapped by insurance now). HELP - I'm at my wits end. I need clarification on what seems a simple liability fault and I can't see his side of the argument. Any advice please.

Our Response:
Did the police take any measurements etc at the time of the incident? This will help indicate the speed of the other driver. Regarding undertaking...the highway code states that you should:
"Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.
And
You should only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is signalling to turn right, and there is room to do so"
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 16-Mar-16 @ 10:20 AM
Hi, looking for some advice on this one. I was driving along a clear single carriageway main road that has two residential streets leading off it, one to the right, the other to the left some 50 meters further along. I indicated to turn left down this second residential street, slowed down to make the maneuver and as I looked into the street, I could see cars parked closely to the junction off the main road. I had to turn slowly to avoid hitting the parked cars on my left. The vehicle behind me came from nowhere, hit my passenger side door, front passenger wing, near-side front wheel and suspension. The speed of his vehicle was such that it hit me completely across this junction with my car ending up in the residential garden wall. My car was written off and I suffered some minor injuries. The driver insisted that I was indicating right and so he undertook me and that I had turned into him - he hit me in the side from behind? It has gone to court with the insurance companies to prove liability and as no defence was given from the other driver, my insurance company obtained judgement. Now, months later, they are trying to set aside judgement using my indicating as their defence. Giving him the benefit of the doubt that he thought I was indicating to turn right (I wasn't), is one allowed in law to undertake a vehicle on a single carriageway when there was no room to safely do so? I don't know how they think this is a defence? Also, his speed on this 30mph road was far, far in excess of the limit and that shows by the side damage on my car (scrapped by insurance now). HELP - I'm at my wits end. I need clarification on what seems a simple liability fault and I can't see his side of the argument. Any advice please.
William - 15-Mar-16 @ 9:12 AM
Hi, I was involved in a collision the other night. As I was emerging to go right from a T junction I was pulling into the middle lane to turn when a car collided with the front left side of my car. I did not see them until just before the point of contact where they hadn't indicated from the outside lane and turned well after the arrows indicated on the road in order to find the middle point of the road to turn into the junction I was coming from. If they had been going straight on the box to indicate this is just after the end of the entrance of the junction I was coming from, thus meaning they turned too early. Although at this point I wasn't straight, I was most certainly in my lane. Who is at fault?
Dave - 14-Mar-16 @ 5:18 PM
I was involved in a collision with a man on a off road bike this morning the police have charged him with numerous affences my car is a mess can anyone please tell me where I stand .Many thanks. Thinker
Thinker - 13-Mar-16 @ 7:25 PM
I was hit by a drunk driver, coming over a bridge he was on my side of the road and hit my car. He was 4 times over the limit, fled the scene but was so drunk the police found him asleep in a puddle behind some trees. He couldn't be interviewed until the following afternoon as he was so drunk. I was not injured (8 months pregnant!) but my car was written off. He was charged and convicted. His insurance company wont pay mine and think I should take 50/50 as they say there were no witnesses and he says I was on his side of the road!! I want to take it to court as I'm so angry. Why should my insurance be affected when none of it was my fault!! What are my chances of winning? Thanks.
N125 - 12-Mar-16 @ 7:19 PM
Hi, I was driving up my side of the road, with no obstacles, and a car coming from the opposite direction broke my wing mirror -there was parked cars on his side and not enough room for two cars (I was already on the stretch of road). He seems to think I am to blame, eh? I also had another adult in my car with me, who would be a witness. He proceeded to shout obscenities at me - leaving me a bit shaken. How would an insurance company view this? I know I wasn't to blame!
Th - 9-Mar-16 @ 4:49 PM
manofvision - Your Question:
I was in the outside lane on a 3 lane roundabout. At the point of the 2nd exit, in my lane I could either exit the roundabout or carry on to the next exit. I was already indicating right showing I had not intention of exiting at that point. Suddenly this car, from the middle lane, with what seemed twice the speed I was going, maneuvered in front of me aiming for the 2nd exit and in the process took off the whole of the front panel and grill of my vehicle. I came out and asked him why he drove in such manner but he wasn't remorseful at all instead arguing with me although I can't exactly remember what he said. I told him I wasn't prepared to argue and that I was going to call the police which I did. At a point before the police arrived he asked to move his vehicle but I refused. The police arrived and with their help we exchanged details. Now 3 days on my insurance company have not been able to speak to anyone from the other party's insurance company as 'they're not taking their calls'. I'm livid right now because I'm beginning to smell a rat. The police confirmed he was fully insured but could something fishy be going on here? I have no car use because the courtesy car people want admission of liability before they can proceed. Please what do I do now to make a successful claim off this third party's insurance company?

Our Response:
Chase it via your own insurance company. If you keep on angling for a response they should get a move on.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Mar-16 @ 1:01 PM
Hi, My husband was in an accident at the weekend. He was travelling down a straight A road, slowed down and indicated to turn right at a cross roads and a car behind him overtook as he turned and crashes into the drivers side of our car and ended up in a ditch. The other driver said that my husband was not indicating to turn, which is untrue, and he actually indicated early as he had seen the car behind coming up very quickly. The police told us and the other driver at the scene that it was his fault as you should never overtake at a crossroads, so we thought we were in the clear with a no fault claim. I'm now reading posts however that say if the third party insurance company take the other drivers testimony that my husband wasn't indicating to turn, this might not be that case. Any ideas whether this might be the case? Or when I will find out from the police who they are blaming in their report and if the third party insurers will have to take their findings? Thanks!
Alasa - 7-Mar-16 @ 4:46 PM
I was in the outside lane on a 3 lane roundabout. At the point of the 2nd exit, in my lane I could either exit the roundabout or carry on to the next exit. I was already indicating right showing i had not intention of exiting at that point. Suddenly this car, from the middle lane, with what seemed twice the speed i was going, maneuvered in front of me aiming for the 2nd exit and in the process took off the whole of the front panel and grill of my vehicle. I came out and asked him why he drove in such manner but he wasn't remorseful at all instead arguing with me although i can't exactly remember what he said. I told him i wasn't prepared to argue and that i was going to call the police which i did. At a point before the police arrived he asked to move his vehicle but i refused. The police arrived and with their help we exchanged details. Now 3 days on my insurance company have not been able to speak to anyone from the other party's insurance company as 'they're not taking their calls'. I'm livid right now because i'm beginning to smell a rat. The police confirmed he was fully insured but could something fishy be going on here? I have no car use because the courtesy car people want admission of liability before they can proceed. Please what do i do now to make a successful claim off this third party's insurance company?
manofvision - 6-Mar-16 @ 4:24 AM
Oley - Your Question:
Hi - I am a cyclist and was involved in an accident this morning. Slow moving traffic and I was in the bus lane. A car from the other side of the road was turning right across the traffic. He began to manoeuvre, then stopped before pull across the bus lane. I shouted to attract his attention to me, but then he continued and he drove directly into me. Just cuts and bruises to me, but my bike has some damage. I have his details - I estimate the parts to my bike that need replacing being approximately £250/300. Front wheel, front brake, and potentially the front fork. The driver apologised and has said he will replace what needs replacing. What's the best thing to do in this situation?

Our Response:
If the driver has offered to pay, then you could simply, let him know what it will cost and ask for the money. He may want to take it through his insurance - and you may find that your household insurer is willing pursue this on your behalf.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 29-Feb-16 @ 12:17 PM
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