What to do Following a Car Accident

There are not many things worse than being involved in a car accident. It is essential to know what to do after a car accident.

Two Main Points

 

1. If you are involved in any sort of accident, you must stop. For example, if you took a corner a little too sharply and may have damaged someone’s property, it is illegal not to stop, and the let the relative people know.

2. Don’t admit fault. If you have had a bump with another car, emotions can run high, and the other driver might be angry or confrontational enough to force you into admitting fault. Sometimes it will be self-evident who is at fault, but that doesn’t make this any less true. When you give your statements to the police, and your insurance company – stick to clear facts, to the best of your recollection. This is merely to protect yourself in the future if you have admitted fault and the other driver decide to sue, then you might regret the decision.

 

Image from Pixabay

At The Scene of a Car Accident

 

A step-by-step as to what to do immediately after the crash:

 

  • Stop your car as soon as possible (it is an offense to drive away)

  • Turn off your engine

  • Press the hazard light button

 

Although we all hope never to have a car accident, sometimes, through no fault of our own it happens. It is crucial that you know what to ask, what details matter and who everything needs to be reported too.

If no one else was involved in the accident, and you have hit a parked car, someone’s property or perhaps road signs, then you still need to follow the above step-by-step. If you cannot get a reply from the owner of the property, then leave your details through a letterbox or safely somewhere they are likely to find it. You might be in for a nasty surprise if they have CCTV and you drove away.

Firstly, while you might have a rush of emotions, you should check the extent of your injuries and those in the car with you. Then, if you are able, go and check the other car too. If anyone is in need of urgent medical care, call an ambulance. If however everyone is responsive and relatively unhurt, the next step is to call the police. Even the smallest bump should be reported to the police to ensure there is a legal record.

Try not to discuss the accident too profoundly with the other party. Your duty of care here is to exchange the correct details and make sure everyone is unharmed. Any discussions you have about the accident should be with your insurance company, the police and medical professionals on site. It is also vital that you do not try to negotiate or pay the other driver. There has been a rise in bogus accidents, where the other drivers have negotiated and received money in the crash and left the other person out of pocket and with a damaged car to pay for. Be vigilant.

 

A quick list of the details you should get is:

 

  • Name

  • Address

  • Phone Numbers

  • Number Plate

  • Car Description

  • Insurance Company & policy number and VIN (vehicle identification number)

  • Are there any injuries

  • Is the driver the registered owner of the vehicle

  • If it is a delivery van, lorry or company car then write down the name of the company

Once you have all of that information, call your insurance company asap. If you can call them from where you are currently, it is likely going to be more useful for them and you. Occasionally if you have a police officer with you, they can get information directly from them. You are likely to be upset or hurt.

You can start the claims process very quickly once you have handed over all the relative information. Your insurance company is likely going to be very supportive and guide you through everything you need to do. So take a deep breath and work with them.

If your accident has caused damage to someone’s property, or parked car then do your best to make them aware of the incident – again without admitting fault.

 

A more detailed list of things you should make a note of:

 

  • Date & time

  • Location of the accident – the road/street

  • In which direction you were traveling

  • The path of the other car

  • Use your mobile to take some photos – this might be especially helpful if you don’t remember all of the details enough to describe it later on

  • Write down or voice record your account of what has happened, you can again use your mobile phone to take this recording

  • Take note of the weather – ice or heavy rain are particularly important

  • Look around for any witnesses, take their contact information too

  • When the police arrive, be sure to make a note of the officers you talk to, including badge numbers and contact information.

 

At all times you must remember your primary duty is to collect facts. It is not recommended to talk about how you feel, or that you feel responsible for what has occurred.

You might feel the urge to go home, decompress and deal with everything from there. But, don’t leave the scene until it has been settled. The other driver might be keen to exchange information and sort it out later, but to protect yourself you need to follow the steps above and remain safe. There is a set period in which you have to make the necessary call to your insurance company, which is another reason you should make the call as fast as possible.

You are free to choose not to claim, but remember that the other person may decide to, so you still need to call your insurance company.

Most accidents can be avoided by driving safely and following the rules of the road. However, if you happen to find yourself in one, remember this article, and you’ll be fine.

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