How to report a car accident

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Stop the car.  If you carry on driving you are committing an offence.  Move it to the side of the road if safe to do so.

Turn off the engine and switch on your hazard warning lights.

Check everyone in your car is not injured including yourself. If you or anyone in your vehicle is injured and/or the road is blocked, call an ambulance and the Police.

If it is a minor incident and no one in your car is injured (including yourself)

  • Take photographs of the outside of your car. Take photographs of the road where the collision occurred (ensuring your car and the other vehicle involved in the collision is in the photograph so that the positions of each car is recorded).
  • Never apologise or admit responsibility for the accident to anyone at the scene. This will protect you from liability if it wasn’t your fault.

Other vehicle Involved

  • Swap information with the other vehicle involved. Give your name, address and your insurance company details.  You must do this by law.  If the other party does not offer his/her insurance information CALL THE POLICE.
  • Write down the registration plate of the other vehicle and take photographs of the vehicle involved.
  • If the other driver(s) and passenger(s) leave the scene, appear as if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or you feel that they may have caused the accident on purpose, call the Police.

Witnesses

  • If there is anyone standing around who may have witnessed the accident, speak to them, get as much information about what they saw and take names and phone numbers or an address is they live nearby.

If it is a major incident and you or your passenger(s) are injured

  • Stop the car as possible. If you carry on driving you are committing an offence.
  • Turn off the engine and switch on your hazard warning lights.
  • Ask a bystander/passenger or if you are able yourself, call an ambulance and the Police.
  • Ask a bystander/passenger or if you are able yourself, call the nearest family member from the accident to come to you.
  • If you are physically able, take photographs of the outside of your car. Take photographs of the road where the collision occurred (ensuring your car and the other vehicle involved in the collision is in the photograph so that the positions of each car is recorded).
  • Turn voice notes on your phone and record everything you hear. This will be an invaluable tool when it comes to recalling exactly what was said to you after the accident by any bystanders, the Police and the other vehicle involved (if they approach you).
  • Never apologise or admit responsibility for the accident to anyone at the scene. This will protect you from liability if it wasn’t your fault.

Other vehicle Involved

  • Swap information with the other vehicle involved. Give your name, address and your insurance company details.  You must do this by law.  If the other party does not offer his/her insurance information CALL THE POLICE.
  • Write down the registration plate of the other vehicle and if you are able, take photographs of the vehicle involved.
  • If the other driver(s) and passenger(s) leave the scene, appear as if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or you feel that they may have caused the accident on purpose, call the Police.
  • If the vehicle you collided with was a parked vehicle, you must leave your details by way of a note where the owner can see it. If you attempt to leave the scene of an collision with a parked vehicle and a witness, CCTV captures it or an owner reports it, you could face criminal damages.

Witnesses

  • If there is anyone standing around who may have witnessed the accident, speak to them, get as much information about what they saw and take names and phone numbers or an address is they live nearby.
  • When the Police arrive speak to them and tell them exactly what you remember about the accident.  Give as much information as possible.  As long as you are recording the conversation using your phone, you can use it to help you fill out the Incident/Collision report that the Police will send you.  It will also help you if a Field Investigator from your insurance company comes to home to go through the incident.

Call Your Insurer within 24 hours of the incident

This is crucial because whether you make a claim or not, the other party may make a claim against you.  You must report every accident to your insurer whether it is a minor or major one.

Do not admit liability to your insurer even if you think it might be your fault!

It is their job to investigate, not yours.  At times there may be circumstances that you might not be aware of.  The other driver could have been speeding or under the influence.

You will need to check your documentation before you call them.  If you have vehicle replacement cover, read that part of your policy carefully.  One of our members thought she had it, but her cover did not come into play if her vehicle was “written off” or unrepairable.  Some policies will only cover your vehicle if it is being repaired.

If your insurer requests that a Field Investigator visits you at home, you must agree.

This is to ascertain the particulars of the incident.  These guys are called in by your insurance company if the insurer has any doubts about the incident and/or to clarify the details of the incident before it makes a decision.

Ensure you take his/her business card so that you can get in contact with him after his/her visit to ascertain that his report has been submitted.

You will need:

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Your driving licence
  • Your MOT certificate
  • Your insurance documentation
  • Driving licence information (whether you have any penalty points or disqualifications). To obtain this information click here [https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence]
  • Your driving licence number
  • National Insurance Number
  • Postcode on your driving licence

The Investigator will then ask you questions about you, whether you wear glasses, when you last had an eye test etc.  Once he/she has obtained personal information about you, he/she will ask you to go into more detail and explain the incident in as much detail.  If you have already filled out a questionnaire and Collision/Incident Information Form for the Police (details below), you can give him/her a copy of it to help you both through it.  You will be asked to draw a picture of the incident and give as much detail as you can remember.

The Field Investigator then may be requested by the insurer to visit the scene to take photographs of the road.  If the Police attended the scene at the time of the accident, the Field Investigator will then submit a request to the police for their incident report and submit his report to the insurer.

It could take months after this process for a decision from the insurer so do keep chasing your insurer by email so that you can keep a record.

Police involvement

If the Police were called to the incident, you will receive a questionnaire and Collision/Incident Information Form to fill out.

You will need:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Name, address and telephone number of your insurance company
  • Insurance policy number
  • Insurance valid from and to dates.

You will need to give your details including name, address, date of birth, occupation, telephone, email, whether you were the driver, witness etc.  You will need to explain your injuries, who you feel was responsible for the incident and why and you will need to confirm the road conditions/weather/visibility at the time of incident.    You will need to describe the incident in detail (you voice recording will help at this time and any information you obtained from witnesses if you were not fully aware yourself).  You will be asked for a description of the other vehicle and its passengers and any conversations you had.  You will then be asked to draw a picture of the scene of the incident.  You have options to choose whether you want to attend court as a witness if the other party is found at fault and whether you feel a Driver Improvement Course would benefit the offender.  You will be asked to state whether you knew any of the parties involved in the incident.

You will be asked to give dates you could be available to attend court within the following 12 months and what dates you would be available to interviewed by Police.

You will then be asked if you agree to your personal details to be disclosed to interested parties.