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What To Do if You're Involved in a Road Accident

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 30 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Crash Crashed Injury Road Accident

Regular road users face the risk of injury every day - at some point most motorists will be involved in a car crash or will witness a road traffic accident. Whether you are crashed into, are at fault for the collision, or if you even just happen to witness damage or injury via a road accident, it's important that you know what to do in this situation.

Being familiar with the steps that motorists need to take after an accident will allow you to deal quickly and efficiently with the situation, reducing risk to others. In the event that you witness an accident then it will also allow you to assist those who aren't sure what they need to do.

What To Do if You Are The Driver in an Accident

If an accident occurs and you are driving, then you need to assess the situation and see if any of the following situations apply:

  • Is anyone (other than yourself) injured?
  • Has there been any damage caused to someone else's property, or another vehicle?
  • Has an animal (other than any you were transporting in your vehicle) been killed or injured (for these purposes an animal applies to a dog, pig, goat, sheep, ass, mule, horse or cattle.

If any of the above points do apply, you are legally required to stop at the scene and remain there for a reasonable period of time that will allow any people involved directly or indirectly in the accident to come to you and request your contact details.

If you are approached by anyone who has reasonable grounds for requesting your information (someone involved with the accident, or who owns property that has been damaged) then you must supply to them your contact details (name and address) and if you are driving someone else's car, then you must supply the contact details of the registered owner too.

If you don’t leave your details at the scene, then you must report the incident to a police officer or at a police station as soon as is practically possible – and in any event, within 24 hours. You can ring to advise the station that you are coming to report a road traffic accident, but it is not acceptable to report the incident over the telephone – it must be done in person.

Producing Your Insurance Details

If there is injury caused to another person as a result of the accident, then you are legally required to produce your insurance certificate, if available, at the scene of the accident if anyone with reasonable grounds requests to see it. If you don't do this at the scene then you must report it to a police station or to a police officer (in person) with 24 hours and you must take your insurance certificate with you. If for any reason you don't have your certificate when reporting the incident at the police station, then you must return to the station with it within 7 days of the accident.

Should I Take Photographs or Make Notes?

Take photographs if possible. It's worth carrying a disposable camera in your car at all times in case you end up having an accident. However, lots of mobile phones have cameras too, so don't forget to use it if you can - but do make sure you are not breaching any laws by using it while in control of the car.

Things To Make a Note Of

  • The date and time that the accident took place
  • Vehicle details - registration number, make and model of car, colour, any distinguishing features, how many passengers were travelling in the vehicles involved
  • It’s also worth asking if anyone involved in the accident is driving a company vehicle, or is driving on company time. If so, get their employer details too.
  • Weather, light conditions and visibility, anything that may have affected driving ability.
  • damage to all vehicles
  • Injuries to any passengers
  • Details of any police officers who attend

What if I Don’t Know Whether or Not to Report It?

It should be fairly clear for you to work out if you need to report the accident by looking at the criteria set out above. If you’re still not sure, then wait a reasonable time to see if anyone approaches you. If not, then you can leave the scene and report the incident to the police within 24 hours.

If you have damaged property, or street furniture, such as a road sign or a lamp-post, then report the incident to the police and they can supply you with details of the relevant parties, or get in touch with them for you. Remember that if you are at all unsure as to whether you need to report an incident, It’s always worth erring on the side of caution, and avoiding any possibility of being charged with an offence for leaving the scene of an accident without supplying your details.

The Importance of Having Insurance

Always inform your insurance company if you are involved in an accident, regardless of fault. Lots of insurance providers have a timeframe for you to report such incidents and if you go outside the acceptable limits laid out in your contract, then this can invalidate your policy.

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While driving along a narrow country road (with no road markings). Snow obstructiing either side edges of the road.A car came from opposite direction. I slowed down and went as far as i could into side of road. As i knew we both wouldnt pass due to snow lying at either side of the road. The other driver drove and hit my wing mirror. He stopped. And we decided it was knock for knock. Now he is trying to claim. Is this aloud?
AD - 30-Jan-17 @ 7:25 PM
My VW Touran went into VW dealer to have the egr valve replaced, the work was completed and the car returned. on my 1st journey the amber coil light came on again, so I returned the car, they looked at it again and whilst it was being test driven by a VW Techician, someone hit it from behind. The garage have dealt with the repairs, it was £4000 worth of damge to a car valued at £8,500, so I am concerned to accept the car back, as I may struggle to sell it on. The accident was on a main road, but n accident report was not entered to the police? Is this ok? Apparently because the cr should have been fixed the 1st time, but was damaged when I returned with the same problem, I am covered under the law of Bailment??
ktw - 25-Jan-17 @ 4:15 PM
Someone bumpedinto my car at the parking while I was inside He got out of the car and gave me his cell number he left I verified the number it was working And said I must go search for quotations he willpay how can i get him to pay or must I involve the police I do not have insurance
Tshego - 13-Jan-17 @ 8:02 AM
Hi. I was driving along in rain today and stopped before a cross hatched section of the road as the traffic ahead had stopped. The car behind me was then hit from behind. I was not hit. There was a police car on opposite side of road that put his lights on and pulled in front of crashed car. Should I have stopped? The traffic was busy so I just drove on.
Davey - 6-Jan-17 @ 5:35 PM
I was on my way home down a back road I swerved my car to miss what looked like a dear in the road I went up a bank and landed from a big drop the other side of the ditch I broke my back and my ribs I just wondered if I can make aclaim for my injuries i no I probably can't buy a friend told me I might be able to do though I would look into it. There was no damages to property and no other cars was involved
Claireee - 29-Dec-16 @ 1:57 AM
Hi there, my 17year old son swerved to avoid a deer and ended up in a ditch. There was no other parties involved and no other person in the car. There was engine damage to his car, Does he have to inform his insurance? Or can he just take the financial hit for repair or replacement of car(old car may not be worth cost to fix engine)
susan - 24-Dec-16 @ 10:33 AM
Marcus- Your Question:
I hit the side of someone's car this morning, no major damage to my vehicle but her rear passenger door was quite badly smashed and the she crashed into the lorry in front doing more damage to her car. She was pretty shook up and we got her an ambulance, the police talked to me, said it was unfortunate but it's technically my fault. I have to do a driver awareness course. I was wondering what happens now, I have third party insurance, they have my details, will I now have to pay for her entire car to be fixed, the minor damage to the lorry, her possible injury? I am quite concerned

Our Response:
Your insurers will be able to tell you more depending on the outcome of their enquiries into the incident.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 20-Dec-16 @ 10:38 AM
Spider - Your Question:
I pulled up at a juntion and an old lady ran her car into the back of mine. She was quite shuck up but there was only a minor scuff on my rear corner and she had a crack on her front number plate where the screw holds it on so we agreed there was no harm done and simply exchanges phone numbers out of courtesy. After a few days her husband rang me and said he had a £670 bill for repairs to their car for a new bumper, fittings, reg plate, grill and badges and told me he can't afford to pay it and would I be willing to chip in. I obviously declined as she had hit me. He said he woukd have to take it to his insurer. Over a month later I have now been contacted via email saying they have made a claim against me! How exactly I have no idea but now some conpany has demanded I contact them or i'll be in breach of my insurance policy! What should I do? Clearly I'm being conned and they're trying to pin their expensive repairs on me. Also, all I saw was a cracked number plate, I don't believe any of the other damage was caused in that incident and must have happened elsewhere after then.

Our Response:
Just write to them saying you were not at fault - pass it to your insurere if necessary.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 20-Dec-16 @ 10:33 AM
I hit the side of someone's car this morning, no major damage to my vehicle but her rear passenger door was quite badly smashed and the she crashed into the lorry in front doing more damage to her car. She was pretty shook up and we got her an ambulance, the police talked to me, said it was unfortunate but it's technically my fault. I have to do a driver awareness course. I was wondering what happens now, I have third party insurance, they have my details, will I now have to pay for her entire car to be fixed, the minor damage to the lorry, her possible injury? I am quite concerned
Marcus - 19-Dec-16 @ 8:14 AM
I pulled up at a juntion and an old lady ran her car into the back of mine. She was quite shuck up but there was only a minor scuff on my rear corner and she had a crack on her front number plate where the screw holds it on so we agreed there was no harm done and simply exchanges phone numbers out of courtesy. After a few days her husband rang me and said he had a £670 bill for repairs to their car for a new bumper, fittings, reg plate, grill and badges and told me he can't afford to pay it and would i be willing to chip in. I obviously declined as she had hit me. He said he woukd have to take it to his insurer. Over a month later i have now been contacted via email saying they have made a claim against me! How exactly i have no idea but now some conpany has demanded i contact them or i'll be in breach of my insurance policy! What should i do? Clearly i'm being conned and they're trying to pin their expensive repairs on me. Also, all i saw was a cracked number plate, i don't believe any of the other damage was caused in that incident and must have happened elsewhere after then.
Spider - 19-Dec-16 @ 5:35 AM
I was involved in a rta. I was behind a slow moving tractor with artic trailer on at night-tractor driver indicated to let me know road ahead was clear so i indicated and pulled out to overtake-before i got past a car came from behind at speed and hit me side on knocking wing mirror off and causing a dent above front wheel arch. Who is at fault?
Dougiec - 8-Dec-16 @ 10:29 PM
Rich- Your Question:
I skidded off the road and knocked down a telegraph post in a country lane at night, I didn't know it was a telegraph pole at the time It was very dark and I was in slight shock. I waited for about 10mins I tink but because there was no one around my mobile would not work. other than a farm house approx 300m away. I live about 15 min walk away and my friend is a motor trader with a land rover due to my friend living close by I went for help as my phone would not work. We drove past and we knew there was no way of getting it out that night. When I got to my sisters house I tried to call101 with no answer and was diverted to the website so I looked on line and it said if no one was hurt or damage to third party property it is fine. I then drove to get my stuff from the car early that morning and the police had recovered it. I called the police thinking it may have been stolen and reported the incident. Can I in any way be prosecuted for leaving the scene of an accident? I have reported it to my insurers also could my insurance be void

Our Response:
You have damaged third party property, we suggest you call your local police now. If you've reported it to your insurers already, it's unlikely to void your cover.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Dec-16 @ 2:01 PM
I skidded off the road and knocked down a telegraph post in a country lane at night, I didn't know it was a telegraph pole at the time It was very dark and I was in slight shock. I waited for about 10mins I tink but because there was no one around my mobile would not work. other than a farm house approx 300m away. I live about 15 min walk away and my friend is a motor trader with a land rover due to my friend living close by I went for help as my phone would not work. We drove past and we knew there was no way of getting it out that night. When I got to my sisters house I tried to call101 with no answer and was diverted to the website so I looked on line and it said if no one was hurt or damage to third party property it is fine. I then drove to get my stuff from the car early that morning and the police had recovered it. I called the police thinking it may have been stolen and reported the incident. Can I in any way be prosecuted for leaving the scene of an accident? I have reported it to my insurers also could my insurance be void
Rich - 2-Dec-16 @ 12:47 PM
David - Your Question:
I was involved in a road traffic accident were I was knocked of my bike by a car I am trying to get the lady' who knocked me down details from the police but the police are saying they can't give them to me so could you please inform of how igo about getting her details I have the cad number and the badge number of the policeman who dealt with it

Our Response:
If she knocked you off your bike and damaged it or injured you, she should have given you her contact details or insurer's details by law. If you're unhappy with the way this has been handled go to your local Citizens' Advice Bureau with all the details and they should be able to tell you what you can do.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:54 AM
I was involved in a road traffic accident were I was knocked of my bike by a car I am trying to get the lady' who knocked me down details from the police but the police are saying they can't give them to me so could you please inform of how igo about getting her details I have the cad number and the badge number of the policeman who dealt with it
David - 21-Nov-16 @ 1:51 PM
Hi I was reversing in my street today to go up a road and as I was reversing a car came down the road without looking to the right and hit my back bumper what can I do pay for my own damages or go through theirs insurance they not taking the blame ???
Gail - 12-Oct-16 @ 9:13 PM
I was parked in a cul de sac preparing to make a right hand reverse manoeuvre into my parking bay. I did all my all round scan starting over my left shoulder and working my way to looking over my right shoulder prior to moving. By the time I had done my all round scan, a 3.5 tonne van had entered into the cul de sac, drove the wrong way down the short access road and proceeded straight into my blind side path. His nearside wing scraped along my rear side about 12 " s. In this situation, who is the driver at fault ? The damage to both vehicles was slight and nobody was hurt. As their were no witnesses at the scene, I was prepared to enter into an amicable settlement as in a bump for bump cost basis in an attempt to prevent anyone having their licence penalised and thus affecting anyone's livelihood. The other driver phoned his boss and told him as much but this was later construed as me admitting liability, which I wasn't. Despite having had two brief phone conversations with his boss, and that I had provided my full details immediately after the incident, I had to wait 5 days before I got any details in return and that was only because I was getting concerned about the situation and went to my police station to report the incident in their incident book.
Unlucky Sod ! - 17-Sep-16 @ 7:23 PM
I was parked in a cul de sac preparing to make a right hand reverse manoeuvre into my parking bay. I did all my all round scan starting over my left shoulder and working my way to looking over my right shoulder prior to moving. By the time I had done my all round scan, a 3.5 tonne van had entered into the cul de sac, drove the wrong way down the short access road and proceeded straight into my blind side path. His nearside wing scraped along my rear side about 12 " s. In this situation, who is the driver at fault ? The damage to both vehicles was slight and nobody was hurt. As their were no witnesses at the scene, I was prepared to enter into an amicable settlement as in a bump for bump cost basis in an attempt to prevent anyone having their licence penalised and thus affecting anyone's livelihood. The other driver phoned his boss and told him as much but this was later construed as me admitting liability, which I wasn't. Despite having had two brief phone conversations with his boss, and that I had provided my full details immediately after the incident, I had to wait 5 days before I got any details in return and that was only because I was getting concerned about the situation and went to my police station to report the incident in their incident book.
Unlucky Sod ! - 16-Sep-16 @ 11:17 PM
Hi I was just involved in a minor traffic collision. The other driver drove into the back of me. I got his details, but not his insurance details as he is insured under his mothers policy. What do I do next?
Cs - 16-Sep-16 @ 5:30 PM
Holly - Your Question:
I was involved in a accident non-fault. Wasn't able to get the other drivers details as both myself and passenger were taken off in an ambulance and now the police won't release the drivers name which I need for insurance purposes.

Our Response:
Give your insurance company the police incident number (the police will give you that for your claim) - they should then be able to follow it up themselves.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 14-Sep-16 @ 11:36 AM
I was involved in a accident non-fault. Wasn't able to get the other drivers details as both myself and passenger were taken off in an ambulance and now the police won't release the drivers name which I need for insurance purposes.
Holly - 12-Sep-16 @ 4:29 PM
sarah - Your Question:
Hi I was involved in a car accident. Where the other driver reversed into the back/side of my car where I was stationary. The other driver apologised for it and gave me there detail I.e name, number and car reg.can I claim for my personal injuries and my compensation amount ?

Our Response:
This is the kind of thing you need to discuss with the motoring lawyer.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 23-Aug-16 @ 10:30 AM
Hi I was involved in a car accident. Where the other driver reversed into the back/side of my car where I was stationary. The other driver apologised for it and gave me there detail I.e name, number and car reg.can i claim for my personal injuries and my compensation amount ?
sarah - 20-Aug-16 @ 8:11 AM
whene an accident happend person can claim for his compensation amount as a non foult party he will get that compensation amount from third party car insurance company we will help you for that we need you contact number tnx .
david - 19-Aug-16 @ 8:00 PM
whene an accident happend person can claim for his compensation amount as a non foult party he will get thatcompensation amount from third party car insurance company we will help you far that tnx .
harrison - 19-Aug-16 @ 7:49 PM
I was involved in a crash for cash accident on a41 and the case has just been closed and the scammers have not received any payouts as lack of evidence, can I now claim for personal injury against the scammers even though I went into the back of them and caused no real damage to the cars ?
loulou72 - 19-Aug-16 @ 11:58 AM
A public bus run into me at a giveaway, I don't have insurance public bus does.Can I invoice bus company for repairs to my boot and rear light?The driver has given me his details, what do I do now? Do I go to a mechanic and get him to contact the driver of bus with repair details? #noidea
Cori - 15-Aug-16 @ 12:36 PM
tree - Your Question:
Im getting asked for a police report for an accident that involved a tree. No police showed up, no other cars involved, no property damage. This was a long time ago. I was not the driver. There may have been an accident report? Whats the difference between accident report and police report?

Our Response:
Why are you being asked for an accident report if you were not the driver?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 20-Jul-16 @ 12:57 PM
Im getting asked for a police report for an accident that involved a tree. No police showed up, no other cars involved, no property damage. This was a long time ago. I was not the driver. There may have been an accident report? Whats the difference between accident report and police report?
tree - 19-Jul-16 @ 7:02 AM
Carl - Your Question:
Hello, my brother was driving up the M1 today and the 2 cars infront slammed their breaks on for no apparent reason. My brother was alone and in shock, the driver from the car in front than proceeded to blame my brother and took his details, he than proceeded to wink at the driver from the first car and gave him a thumbs up, I'm aware there is cameras on the motorway, we believe this is a 'crash for cash' job and we are unsure whether to contact the police or wait for the insurance? What would be the correct thing to do? Thanks, Carl.

Our Response:
It's worth contacting the police if you think you have been scammed.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 1-Jul-16 @ 2:19 PM
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