Do you know what to do in a car accident? Of course, no one expects to be in one. You can take every possible step to avoid accidents on the road. However, no matter how safely you drive, you cannot control the other road users. A lapse of concentration, bad weather or a fault with the car could lead any driver to have an accident that could cause injury.
If the unexpected happens and you find yourself in a collision, there are steps you must take for your safety and to ensure you have everything in place to claim on your insurance. Here, we will look at what to do in a car accident and the procedures you should take immediately after your accident to make sure you, your passengers and other road users are safe from any further damage or injury.
What to Do if Someone Hits Your Car
You must stop your car as soon as you can; if you continue driving you will be leaving the scene of the accident and this is an offence. Once you have stopped safely, switch off the engine and turn on your hazard lights.
You will probably be shaken up and everything may seem like a blur but check yourself and your passengers for any sign of injury. For minor collisions where there are no injuries and just a small scratch on the car, keep a log of what happened in case you are contacted with a claim at a later date.
Next, if there is an injury, you should call the police and ambulance to take care of any injuries and ensure the road is patrolled (it may be blocked due to the accident or people may be slowing down or stopping to help).
One helpful tip is to not say sorry as this could be claimed as an acceptance of responsibility, which could negatively affect your chances to claim on your own insurance later.
When Do You Have to Report an Accident?
You must report the accident to the police if:
- You think the accident may have been caused deliberately
- You think the other driver lacks insurance, a license or any other legal requirements
- The driver does not give his details and flees the scene of the accident
You can be given a fine or points on your license if you do not report a serious accident within 24 hours of its occurrence.
What Insurance Details Do You Give in an Accident?
It can be easy to forget what to do in a car accident and not take the proper steps. With adrenaline running and your system being shaken, it is understandable that getting people’s details may not be the first thing on your mind.
You should make sure you give your name and address to everyone at the scene and request the same from the person you collided with as well as any witnesses to the accident itself. Ensure you have the details for the registered owner of the vehicle as the driver may not be that person (company or rental car for example).
Swap insurance information with the other driver including the name of your broker and the basics of your coverage.
You should also keep details of the following:
- Date and time of the accident
- The make and model of all vehicles involved in the accident
- Driving conditions at the time of the accident (the weather, road conditions, time of day etc)
- Damage caused to the vehicles including area of damage
- Injuries of any drivers, passengers or members of the public
Nowadays, we all have a phone with a camera at the ready. Taking pictures as soon as you can will work as evidence for claims and/or proof of who may be at fault.
How Soon Should You Report an Accident to Your Insurance Broker?
You should get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as you can to start the process of getting compensation. The best advice is to call as soon as the accident has taken place, ideally at the scene, although this may not be possible depending on the severity of the accident.
You provider will ask for:
- Driver name, phone number and postal address
- Driver insurance details
- Registration numbers of all vehicles involved
- Your policy number and any identifying information
No one expects to be in a car accident and, for many, driving is second nature. But, you should always be on your guard for any possible causes of accidents, from road conditions to erratic drivers ahead of you. Being aware of what do to in a car accident can save you a lot of time and money.
Some people get into accidents deliberately, in order to fraudulently claim on their insurance so keep an eye out for anyone driving dangerously or without break lights.