What to do if you have a car accident?

Friday, 28th October, 2011


Accidents happen, and whether your fault or not, it is good to know exactly what to do if you find yourself in that unpleasant situation.

It happened to me when I was in my late teens, and if the other party’s dad was not there, neither me nor him would have known what to do.

I wanted to write this post to share my own personal experience, and help others who may find themselves in the same unfortunate situation. Knowing what to do in the event of a car crash could also help to ensure you don’t miss out on any deserved car accident compensation.

I appreciate car accidents vary in severity and some of the advice may or may not be possible, but nonetheless, reading a step-by-step guide may help you remain focussed in an accident scenario. So here is my advice.

Immediately after the car accident

The first thing I would do in any post-accident situation is try to remain calm. Admittedly, this is often easier said than done. I know I was suffering from shock when it happened to me.
After the accident, I needed to determine the damage to myself, any passengers and any vehicles involved. It is important NOT to leave the scene of the crash. Even if the accident is not your fault; doing so would be against the law.

Once I had assessed the damage I was able to decide whether to involve the emergency services or not. Just for reference, here’s when you do need to make that all important call:

– If the cars are blocking the road;
– If the involved party or parties have caused the accident by breaking the law (e.g. drink driving, dangerous driving or speeding);
– If a person or an animal is injured;
– If damage has occurred to buildings or other vehicles.

The main details I needed to exchange with the other party involved in the crash were:

– Name and address;
– Owner of the vehicles’ name and address (if different from the above);
– Vehicle Registration number.

I would only discuss my version of events with the Police and insurance company. In my own experience, even the clear-cut cases will sometimes involve a dishonest person trying to escape the blame, so it’s important to relay an accurate version of what happened to the Police, and take the details of any willing witnesses.

If an accident was absolutely not my fault, I would avoid accepting the blame even if I felt the other party was being aggressive towards me. It is better in that particular instance to wait for the Police to arrive.

Who do you report to?

I was advised to report the accident to my insurance company, and told if I was ever in this situation again, I should report the incident to the Police within 24 hours, if I was, for some reason unable to exchange details.

Summary

So should you ever get into the situation I did, here is a summary of what to do:

– Stay Calm;
– Exchange details with the drivers involved;
– In the situations outlined earlier, call the emergency services;
– Take down the details of any witnesses.

One final piece of advice is to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and that of the others involved, this can be used as evidence should it be required.

 

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