5 Helpful Steps To Take If You’re Involved In A Road Accident
It’s not a nice thought, but car accidents do happen and it’s important to know what to do if you’re involved in one. If you take the right steps immediately after a car accident, you can stop a bad situation from getting worse and help to make sure your car insurance claim is paid out without any dramas. Solicitors, H McPartland & Sons, provide 5 helpful steps you need to take to deal with it quickly and smoothly.
However minor you think a car accident is, you must stop. Not stopping at the scene of an accident or failing to report an accident you’re involved in is a serious offence that can result in a hefty fine, disqualification or even prison. Ensure your car’s engine is switched off and then turn on your hazard lights to alert other road users to your presence.
- Check for injuries
Before doing anything else, make sure that no one is hurt. If anyone has been injured in the car accident you should call the emergency services immediately. The police should also be called if the car accident is blocking the road or if you feel there was foul play involved – perhaps where a driver deliberately causes an accident to make a fraudulent insurance claim (crash for cash scam). Try to keep calm and take some deep breaths to get your head round what’s just happened as this will help ensure that matters are easier resolved.
- Exchanging details
Exchanging details may be the last thing on your mind but it’s the law and it can provide you with protection. It makes sense to exchange as many details as possible. Ask the other drivers involved for their car insurance details and try to establish whether they are the registered keeper of their vehicle. If they aren’t, find out who is and make a note of their name and address. Make sure you exchange your car registration number, name and address, and details of the registered keeper if different from the driver. We also recommend you exchange phone numbers. If the police are at the scene, you’ll have to show them your car insurance document. If it’s not in the car at the time, you should take it to your local police station within seven days. You should also take down the other driver’s registration number in case they’ve given you a false name as the police can trace the owner with that information. Avoid saying sorry or accepting blame for the accident until you know precisely what happened as it could be used against you at a later stage. Basically, collect and note down as much information, using photographs and notes, as you can while at the scene.
- Scene – date, time, location, weather conditions, traffic conditions, road marking, signals etc.
- Vehicles – make, model, registration number, colour, condition, direction, use of lights or indicators, number of passengers
- People – contact details, description of driver(s), contact details of passengers, pedestrians or other witnesses and details of any police officers involved
- Damage – description of the damage to vehicles or property and any injuries to people involved
- A minor accident
But what happens if it’s a minor crash and the police are not needed? Its important to get a detailed sketch of the scene. Note the exact location of vehicles and damage, road layout, street names, the colour, make and number plates of cars involved in the accident. Get any witnesses details too –things may look aboveboard at the time, but back-up details may prove crucial at a later stage. If you’ve a mobile phone, use it to photograph the entire scene. You might feel you’re overdoing it, but these steps will help your car insurance claim go quickly, smoothly and fairly.
If you crash into something on or near the road even if there aren’t any other people involved, such as hitting a wall, fence or parked car (you should leave your details on the windscreen), you should report the incident to the police as soon as it’s safe to do so, taking all of the paperwork and information above with you. Car accidents should also be reported to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so could result in a fine, penalty points or even disqualification. Reporting the accident to the police by telephone isn’t enough and you can’t ask someone else to report for you.
5. Claims and repairs
If you’ve got comprehensive car insurance, then the damage should be covered subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
You don’t have to claim from your insurer, but if repair costs are high or your car is a write-off, then you may want to make a claim. However, your no claims discount may be affected. If your cover is third party or third party, fire and theft only, then accidental damage to your vehicle won’t be covered.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen and it’s a not a fun experience. Use H McPartland & Son’s easy steps to stay calm and know what the right thing is to do after a crash.