What to Do After a Car Accident
It’s an awful moment that can have you standing shaking, mind slightly distant, voices and sounds echoing. Disbelieving. Shocked. In denial.
A car accident.
There’s really nothing anyone can do to prepare you fully for a road traffic accident, but this article is here to offer you some help – some steps to follow after a car accident.
Skip to a section or continue reading for everything you need to know.
A minor car accident is anything where no one is significantly hurt, and you feel capable of driving away after sorting out the essentials.
Step 1 – Stop!
Always stop. Driving away after an accident is a criminal offence that can lead to a fine, points on your licence and in some cases, prison.
Stop and sort it out – even if the only other thing involved was a tree!
Step 2 – Call any authorities
In most minor accidents, the authorities are not needed, but if they are, then call them before doing anything else. This might be:
- Because you discover someone is hurt where previously you believed that wasn’t the case.
- Because something is a hazard (a damaged car, shattered window, knocked over sign etc.).
- Because you feel you need help – there is nothing wrong with calling the emergency services for personal help even in a minor situation.
- Because someone else involved is acting aggressively – if you feel afraid, call the police and allow them to deal with any interactions.
Q: Do you have to report a minor car accident to the police?
A: Yes – call 101 rather than 999. All road traffic accidents should be reported to the police within 24 hours.
Step 3 – Exchange details
Make sure you exchange names, address, registration and (if known) insurance details with the other parties involved.
If the other party is a parked car (which you bumped into) then be sure to leave a note under the windscreen wipers with your details on. It is important that you do not admit fault – and even a simple apology can be taken as such. Be polite and efficient, but not apologetic.
Step 4 – Take photos
Be sure to take lots of photos for evidence. These should include the registration plates of all vehicles involved, a full view of the scene showing the surroundings, weather conditions, a picture of the road conditions and any damage.
Step 5 – Inform your insurance company
This can wait until you get home, but be sure to talk to your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident happening.
After – If you find you were hurt
If you discover that you have pain that wasn’t obvious at the time of the injury, visit your doctor as soon as possible, and if you were not at fault for the accident, give Non Fault Claims a call – we can help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
We can also help provide you with a replacement car after a non-fault accident.
With the ongoing improvement in car safety technology, injury after accidents is becoming rarer, however major collisions do still occur and if you find yourself part of a major car accident, it is best to be prepared.
For the most part, the steps to dealing with a major road traffic accident are similar to those needed to be taken for a more minor car incident.
The steps are:
1 - Call the emergency services
This should always be the first thing you do once you have stopped the car immediately after the accident, whether or not you know if someone is hurt.
Even if you suspect there has been an injury then the ambulance service should be called, and if any of the cars have suffered damage such that they present a hazard in some way, then the police must also be contacted.
If in doubt, call. If you are asking yourself ‘should I call the police?’ then the answer is almost always ‘yes’.
2 - Absolutely avoid accepting fault
It is hard to do, but it is important that you do not say the accident was your fault. Examples which can be taken as an admission of liability include:
- “I could have avoided that....”
- “I didn’t see…”
- “I’m sorry…”
- “My bad!”, “I have to hold my hands up…” Etc.
It is also antagonistic and unnecessary to say anything pushing blame on another such as:
- “What were you doing?”
- “Are you crazy?!”
- “Look what you have done!”
- Anything involving an insult, or aggressive behaviour.
Appropriate things to say include:
- “Are you OK?”
- “Has anyone been hurt?”
- “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Try to avoid discussing the accident with any other party at the scene, especially regarding any emotional response.
Keep your conversation short and focus on the exchange of necessary information.
3 - Don’t move anything
Unless you are blocking traffic in a way that can easily be avoided, try to leave everything exactly as it was at the time of the accident until the police arrive.
This includes any debris, which should be left for the authorities to clear safely.
4 - Help where you can
Do not do anything you do not feel comfortable doing, but do help others where you can, especially if following the instructions of an emergency services officer.
Remember, that often the best help is to stand aside and allow professionals to do their job – and once the emergency services arrive, let them have authority.
In the UK, the law states that you are entitled to be properly compensated for any loss or injury caused by an accident that is not your fault.
Car accident injuries range from something as minor as a swollen ankle to the life-changing devastation of paralysis or brain damage, but all are treated with the same level of respect and are given fair weight when claiming compensation.
At Non Fault Claims, we are a specialist team of advisors and legal professionals who can help you get the compensation you are entitled to following a non-fault car accident.
We believe that everyone has the right to professional legal representation and so our personal injury lawyers work on a No Win No Fee basis.
No Win No Fee means that we do not charge you for any of our services until compensation is paid to you, at which time we take a small percentage for our work. In this way, our continued success is tied to the success of your case and we work to the best of our ability to secure an outcome that is the best achievable.
Whether or not you have had an injury, any accident that was not your fault will have an impact on your life – an impact for which you deserve financial recompense.
If your car is off the road, we can arrange a replacement car to ensure you are not inconvenienced by the incident – and unlike the basic courtesy car that insurance companies offer, we can make sure you get a like-for-like replacement vehicle that matches your needs (credit hire).
Other expenses – from your travel home from the crash, through to parking fees for later medical appointments and a loss of earnings due to time away from work, can all form part of a compensation claim.
You should always visit the doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that you have been injured due to an accident.
Legally, however, the limitation on claiming compensation for an injury is three years from the accident itself.
If you have been suffering in silence and have not sought medical attention for your injury, you should do so as part of starting your claim.
Call Non Fault Claims today. Our experienced advisors can make an assessment of your claim and determine if a successful outcome is likely – passing you on to a dedicated solicitor who focuses on car accident compensation.
If you would prefer to be contacted at a more convenient time, fill in our contact form and one of our advisors will get back to you.