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Who is Responsible for a Traffic Accident

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 23 Sep 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]
Jan - Your Question:
Hi someone I know has a dash cam, part of his work. He was driving along, put indicator on to turn right checked mirrors etc clear so commenced turning right. Out of no where a car overtook, hiting drivers side wing and headlight and bumper. The car never stopped carried on without slowing down continuing to over take a lorry in front, this is on dash cam. Never slowed down or turned around even though 0.5 miles ahead a roundabout so could turn around safely. Friend reported accident, but other car never reported it, never returned to accident site. When my friend contacted Police with dash cam, they let the other driver off as he said he returned 10 mins later. Which he didn’t as friend was still there then. Police gave other driver my friends details so now the overtaking driver is now claiming?? Yet he overtook at speed as a junction on right?? Failed to stop at accident?? Fail to report?? So my question is who’s to blame??

Our Response:
We can't help with individual blame/liability questions as we don't have both parties' versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:27 PM
Dan - Your Question:
I was reversing my big van in a country lane to allow a car to pass. I checked my mirrors and couldn't see the car behind me as they were so close I hit them. Who is at fault?

Our Response:
We cannot comment on questions of individual liability as we do not have both parties's versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:04 PM
Hi someone I know has a dash cam, part of his work. He was driving along, put indicator on to turn right checked mirrors etc clear so commenced turning right. Out of no where a car overtook, hiting drivers side wing and headlight and bumper. The car never stopped carried on without slowing down continuing to over take a lorry in front, this is on dash cam. Never slowed down or turned around even though 0.5 miles ahead a roundabout so could turn around safely. Friend reported accident, but other car never reported it, never returned to accident site. When my friend contacted Police with dash cam, they let the other driver off as he said he returned 10 mins later. Which he didn’t as friend was still there then. Police gave other driver my friends details so now the overtaking driver is now claiming?? Yet he overtook at speed as a junction on right?? Failed to stop at accident?? Fail to report?? So my question is who’s to blame??
Jan - 23-Sep-17 @ 3:20 PM
I was reversing my big van in a country lane to allow a car to pass. I checked my mirrors and couldn't see the car behind me as they were so close I hit them. Who is at fault?
Dan - 23-Sep-17 @ 1:22 PM
I was driving along a main busy road, a straight road, a woman pulled out from a side road on my left hitting the front of my car and pushing me into a car on my right stationary ready to turn right into the road she pulled out of. She has said I was indicating, I wasn't as was a straight road and I was going straight on. I have a witness who was directly behind me who confirms I wasn't indicating, but she has a witness that says I was. Where do I stand on this please .
Lisa - 13-Sep-17 @ 12:44 PM
Hi I was driving along the road heading straight as I was driving there was a van to my right awaiting to turn right beside me a car then pulled out from the opposite side turning right onto the road I was passing straight through and I hit them. who is at fault as I am heading straight and they have turned out in front of me? Can someone help?
Chelly - 30-Aug-17 @ 4:49 PM
Hi During an intersection I had to give why to the other driver, I checked right and pulled out to go across. a bus come down the road almost hit me. Both me and the bus driver stoped in our tracks. This point it may have been myfault. Then the bus driver try to go past me andscratched my car the front bumper. So even if I had to give way to him but we stoped and he was the only one moving who's fault is it, is it worth to go to the bus company and see what they say or go to my insurance company.
Sigh bus drivers - 11-Aug-17 @ 8:13 AM
Jordan - Your Question:
I was driving around a bend in my side of the road, when I got round the bend there was a car oncoming to me in my lane, I swerved out the way into his lane but he swerved back and crashed into me head on, when the cars had both stopped I was stationary in his lane. As I moved into his lane to avoid him. Am I at fault?

Our Response:
We can't comment on individual cases as we don't have both versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 10-May-17 @ 9:56 AM
I was driving around a bend in my side of the road, when I got round the bend there was a car oncoming to me in my lane, I swerved out the way into his lane but he swerved back and crashed into me head on, when the cars had both stopped I was stationary in his lane. As I moved into his lane to avoid him. Am i at fault?
Jordan - 9-May-17 @ 12:45 AM
My daughter was at some traffic lights. On green she went to go forward. But a bus cut her off. She had to reverse slightly so the bus wouldn't hit her. The driver in the car behind also reversed. But her foot slipped on the clutch and she stopped. So my daughters car hit hers. Is this my daughters fat or the car behind please? The lady said my daughter is at fault. I don't believe it is that clear cut. Thanks
LEYSA - 30-Apr-17 @ 9:25 PM
i was coming up to the junction getting ready to stop, (i hadn't reached the junction line yet) car b turned into the road i was on but cut the corner quite a bit meaning i had very little chance of stopping in time, i hit her drivers door leaving a little scrape, she scratched along bumper and scrapped it, i was still about a metre away from the junction line when we connected, also it was dark, she had a black car and i didn't see her till she was there, and i didn't see her lights on at all, when she left the car her lights still weren't on but her engine was. Who is at fault?, thanks
ronala26 - 23-Apr-17 @ 9:11 PM
Hi was at a roundabout the car infront moved onto the roundabout it was right over the give way line then i went to move i was just a noise over and the other car stopped on the roundabout and i bumped into the car that stoped who's fault is it?
Ma - 22-Apr-17 @ 10:35 PM
So I had a car accident yesterday, I was approaching a roundabout and was about to turn left. I got on to the round about and by time I knew it I saw a car on my right cut through the roundabout and hit in to me full speed. All of my window on my driving side is gone and my car is trashed. It hit me with that much force my car spun!He's saying that he's in the right because its right before left on roundabouts which I am aware of. But he was no where near the roundabout when I got on to it. He came full speed at me and cut the round about in to me! I've got years of no clajms bonus and don't want to lose it. My insurance is telling me that I can't get a courtesy car because "it's right before left so I'm at wrong" when I'm not! I am aware of that and have never been in an accident. He was not near the roundabout. The fact that he's blaming me when he knows he cut through the roundabout full speed into me is disgusting ! Worried to lose my no claims. Any advise ?
Audrey - 20-Apr-17 @ 12:16 AM
i was approaching a roundabout on a duel carriageway in the inside lane when a car on the outside lane came across in front of me to go around the roundabout smashing into the passenger door ,he claimed he was lost and had got confused,he was crying and kept saying sorry to me,my insurance company say he is now not admitting responibillity,50yrs no claims up in smoke, what can I do about it.what an awful person.
pip - 12-Apr-17 @ 6:41 PM
Stopped at a roundabout behind 1 car. They go and enter the roundabout to stop 2/3 over the line changing their mind. Our car hit theirs as she stopped without us expecting her to. Is it automatically our fault as we were the car behind?
Kim - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:02 PM
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
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