What to do after a car accident

Cars, buses and motorbike traffic in town

Through our work with people who have suffered personal injuries, we know that being involved in a road accident can be a traumatic experience.

If you are the innocent party and believe you have suffered injuries and losses through no fault of your own, it is important to stay calm and focus on obtaining the information that you will require to make a road traffic accident claim against the driver who is at fault.

Noting the details of the other driver and vehicle can make the process of claiming compensation easier and quicker.

What happens if the driver fails to stop or is uninsured?

In the event that the other driver fails to stop and cannot be traced or is uninsured the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) will step in to compensate any injured victims.

The Motor Insurer’s Bureau is however a compensator of last resort. All other avenues of obtaining compensation must be exhausted before a claim can be directed to the MIB. This means that the compensation process is often longer in such claims.

It is important to obtain as much information as you can at the scene of the accident to allow the driver, the vehicle and the insurer to be identified.  Unfortunately, there are many irresponsible drivers on our roads who choose to drive when uninsured but the more initial information you can obtain, the better.

Steps to take after a car accident

Take photographs at the scene of car accident

In such stressful circumstances such as a car accident, it is difficult to rely on your memory. It is always helpful to take photographs.

1. Position of vehicles

You should take photographs of the position of the vehicles, before they are moved, and the damage to each vehicle. 

2. Other driver

If you can include the other driver in the photographs that can be helpful as sometimes issues can arise over who was actually driving the vehicle.

3. Registration plate and driver’s license

It is also important to photograph the registration plate of the other vehicle and the other driver’s driving licence or other ID document to confirm their identity and address.

What to do if the other driver refuses to provide contact details

If the driver refuses to provide his details you should contact the police as it is a criminal offence to refuse to provide details following an accident. The police will then be able to obtain those details and prepare an accident report.

If you have reason to believe that the other driver has taken drink or drugs you should always contact the police straight away.

Steps to take if the accident involved a foreign lorry

It is important to remember that some foreign-registered lorries have different registration plates for the lorry itself and the trailer. If you are involved in a car accident with a foreign-registered lorry you should take photographs of all registration plates on the vehicle or trailer.

Steps to take if the accident was with a taxi, foreign or hired vehicle

In many cases a photograph of the registration plate will be enough to allow the vehicle’s insurance company to be traced.

However, in cases involving vehicles such as taxis, foreign vehicles or hired vehicles it can prove difficult to trace the correct insurance company with the registration number only. The same vehicle may be insured by more than one insurer depending on the particular circumstances in which it is being used.

Taxi, commercial or hired vehicle

If you have a collision with a taxi, a commercial vehicle or a hired vehicle it is important to obtain the driver’s name and address and full details of their employer or the hire company.

If they refuse to provide such information you should contact the police.

Foreign vehicle

In car accidents involving foreign vehicles it should be possible to trace the insurer from the registration plate. However, there are cases in which foreign registrations are duplicated and/ or stolen and so it is always helpful to get as much information as you can about the driver, his employer and his insurance.

For further information, please see road traffic accident claims or contact us on 0333 200 5925 to speak with someone.