Being involved in a car accident can be a highly distressing experience, regardless of the severity. It is entirely natural to be frightened and overwhelmed in the moments or even months afterwards, even if it’s just a small bump. Every day, we hop into our cars and go about our business, it’s second nature. We aren’t planning for a disaster, so when we are involved in an accident, we might be unsure what to do. In the first instance, try and stay as calm. Innocent Driver has put together this guide on what to do next …
If you are involved in an accident, you are legally required to stop if the accident has caused any damage to another vehicle or property. Without meaning to state the obvious, you also have a legal requirement to stop if a person or animal may have been injured.
It is also a legal requirement that you supply your name, address, insurance details and registration number to anyone else involved. If you happen to be driving someone else’s car, you have to provide their contact details too. This works both ways; anyone else involved is legally required to provide you with the same information. If someone has been injured, and animal has been hurt, or there has been property damage, then you should report an accident to the police within 24 hours.
For your the safety and the safety of others, follow these steps immediately:
- Safely stop your car & turn off the engine – this is a legal safety requirement.
- Slowly and calmly, check yourself for injuries.
- If you are sure you can do so safely, check anyone else in the car for injuries.
- If you have any reason to believe your vehicle is damaged and unsafe, exit the car and move a safe distance away. This also applies if you’re obstructing the road and unable to pull over.
- If anyone requires medical assistance, call an ambulance and then the police.
- If your car is in a dangerous position, for example, the middle of the road, then call the police.
- If it is safe to do so take pictures of the accident scene and include the registration numbers of any vehicle involved.
If everyone is safe and there is no reason to request urgent assistance, then you can go ahead and exchange details with anyone else involved in the accident. If someone was injured, you should report the accident to the police within 24 hours. Remember, this is a legal requirement, so please make sure to report the accident as soon as you can. You can use our handy guide ‘How To Report A Car Accident’ to find out how.
When exchanging details with others, Do not admit fault or apologise for the accident in any way. Apologising is something many of us would do in the moment, especially if you suspect you are to blame in some way. It can be tough not to apologise following a dramatic event; however, you mustn’t do it.
Admitting guilt or saying sorry could harm your legal position later down the line. It could work against you if you choose to claim on insurance later, or if someone claims you. Just because you think you are at fault or naturally wish to apologise, there may have been other factors at play. Which brings us to our next checklist…
Evidence To Collect
If you are able, collect evidence at the scene of the accident. Here’s what you need:
- The name, address, registration number, car make & model and insurance details of anyone else involved in the car accident.
- The name, address and phone number of any witnesses.
- The date & approximate time of the incident.
- The police reference number relating to the incident (if the police attended).
- Take photos showing the damage to all of the vehicles involved (try and show the position of the vehicles and any road markings).
- Collect and save any dashcam footage of the accident.
- If there have been any injuries, take pictures where possible.
- Check the road to see if it is damaged or has any potholes if so, take photos.
- Take a note of the weather, especially if it could have impacted your driving (rain, snow etc.)
- Make a record of the weather and how it may have affected road conditions at the time of the accident.
- Make a note of anything that may affect the quality of the road conditions such as potholes or broken street lighting.
- If other vehicles where involved take notes or a sketch of how they came into contact with each other.
Finally, speak to us BEFORE you talk to your car insurance provider.
Here at Innocent Driver, we are fully aware of the stress and the difficulties that can occur following a car accident, especially if it hasn’t been your fault!
There’s the worry of the quality of repairs, the concern of the excess payments and the stress of losing your no claims discounts still to contend with. Dealing with the insurances can be a lengthy and complicated process too! That’s why we are here to help.
How We Can Help
At Innocent Driver®, once we accept your claim you won’t have to pay your excess, your repairs are guaranteed, you should keep your no claims bonus, and we can even give you a replacement vehicle similar to your own while yours gets repaired.