Road traffic accidents: What to do

In the immediate aftermath of a road traffic accident you are very likely to be left feeling frightened, vulnerable and disorientated. Unsurprisingly the coronavirus pandemic has seen reported road accidents fall dramatically, to levels not seen since 1955. Yet as people are still making car journeys, albeit less frequently, it is still important that you know what to do if you are involved in an accident.

What should you initially do?

Difficult as it might be, the most important thing to do is to try and stay calm and alert. There will be a certain amount of information you will need to gather about the incident and the other driver. Firstly, stop your car and turn the engine off as soon as it safe to do so. You should also put on your hazard lights. If the emergency services are required, then calling them is obviously crucial and wait until they arrive.

If it’s a minor collision and there are no injuries, still make a note of it all just in case someone tries to claim against you at a later date. Most of us have a notes application now on our phones, but if you don’t, it’s always a good idea to keep a pen and paper in your car.

Don’t apologise or admit responsibility for the accident until you're completely aware of what happened – this can protect you from liability if it wasn't your fault.

Things you should always do

You should always find out if the other driver has insurance. If the other driver refuses to give you their insurance information, then you can report them to the police. Take note of their registration number, make, model and colour of their car. Try to collect as much information as you can about the accident as well as your losses and any injuries.

Record the time and date of the crash as well as the driving conditions, such as the weather, lighting, and road quality such as road markings, whether it was wet or muddy and whether there were pot holes in the road. If you can, take photos of the vehicles following the accident, and of your injuries. Also, if there are other passengers or witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their details too.

If an ambulance is not required at the scene, make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident to ensure you haven’t been affected by a whiplash-type injury resulting in neck pain, torn muscles, stretched tendons and internal bruising. Sometimes injuries don’t immediately present themselves. Keep a record of any contact you have with medical professionals as a result of the accident as these will be of great assistance should you need to claim against the other driver.

If the police were involved and/or you reported the accident to them, they will give you a reference number - remember to give this to your insurer and solicitor if you want to bring a claim.

It’s important to remember that the roads are, generally speaking, as safe as ever for the average person despite more cars on the road.  The UK regularly ranks in the top five safest countries in the world to drive.

What to do if you have a road traffic accident

If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident you may have a claim for compensation. First4Lawyers can help you – just give us a call, request a call back at the top of your screen or start your claim here.


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