Accidents happen; it’s a fact of life and it’s important to know what to do if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident. Here are the steps that you need to take following a collision with another car both immediately and when you get home.
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Always stop after an accident even if you think it is so minor that there has been no damage. Failing to stop is against the law, and can result in potentially serious consequences with a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment, a £5,000 fine, up to 10 points on your licence and discretionary disqualification.
After you have stopped switch off your engine and switch on your hazard warning lights.
Is anybody injured?
Find out if anybody in the accident had been injured. If so then you should call the police and an ambulance using 999. Even if the injury appears minor, it should be checked by a paramedic.
Blocking the road?
If the road is blocked due to the accident then you should call the police even if nobody has been injured.
Details that you need to give to the police
If you are questioned by the police then you should answer all their questions fully and honestly. It is quite likely that they will give you a breathalyser test; this is simply routine and it doesn’t mean that they think you have been drinking. You must cooperate fully or you could face being arrested.
Details that you need to give to the others who have been involved in the accident
You should give your contact details to the other driver/drivers including your name, address and telephone number.
It is very important that you don’t accept blame for the accident, as doing so is likely to contravene the terms of your car insurance policy. It could also go against you in court.
You should collect as much information about the accident as possible including the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the other driver/drivers, passengers and any other witnesses. If anyone involved leaves the scene without giving you contact details take a note of the registration number and phone 999.
Make a note of the time of the accident, the weather conditions, visibility, road surface, road lighting and anything else that might have contributed to the accident. Make a detailed sketch of the scene and if possible take a few photographs of it.
Make a record and photograph the damage caused to the other vehicles.
Hitting a parked car
If you hit a parked car you should stop and if you can’t locate the car owner you should make a note of the registration number and provide your contact details in a note left on the windscreen. To be safe you should also report the incident to the police within 24 hours of it happening.
When you get home
Phone your insurance company as soon as you are able to do so. They will record details and inform you of how to go about making a claim.