What to do immediately after a car accident

Nearly everybody will be involved in a car accident at some point in their life. Fortunately, most accidents are only minor and don’t result in any injury. However, occasionally people suffer quite serious injuries in a car crash. Not all injuries are noticeable straightaway, so it is important that you follow the correct procedure after a car accident, no matter how minor, as you may not know whether or not you will need to make a claim.

Stopping and reporting the accident

If you have a car accident, the first thing to do is stop. Failing to stop after an accident is a criminal offence, so always pull over. Before you get out of the car, make sure it is safe to do so and turn your hazard lights on to warn other motorists. You don’t always have to inform the police. However, if somebody is injured or the vehicles are blocking the road then you should dial 999.

Swapping details

Even if you think the accident was your fault, avoid saying sorry or accepting liability, as you may not be to blame. You are obliged by law to give the other driver your name and address and should get theirs too. It is always wise to make a note of the other person’s number plate, as somebody may give a false address. You should also ask the driver if he or she is the registered keeper of the vehicle. If the answer is ‘no’ then ask for the name and address of the person who is.

Finally, ask for the other person’s insurance details and provide them with yours. If they are reluctant to hand this information over then it could be a sign that they are not insured so it might be wise to report the accident to the police.

Finding witnesses and other information

If possible, take down the names and addresses of any potential witnesses. If you have a camera phone, take pictures of the accident. If not, make a rough sketch showing the positions of vehicles involved. It is also wise to make a note of the time and date and other pertinent information, such as the road condition and any noticeable damage to the other vehicle.

 

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