If you have been involved in a car accident, motorbike accident or cycling accident , or if you have been injured as a passenger, there are some steps that you should, if possible, take after the accident.
Taking the following steps immediately after a road accident can help prove any claim for compensation that may be made later on
CHECK FOR INJURIES AT THE SCENE: If you or anyone else at the scene is injured an ambulance may be required.
CHECK FOR WITNESSES: witnesses often leave the scene of an accident without leaving their details. If there are any witnesses at the scene you should ask for their name, address and a contact telephone number so that they may be contacted later on if required.
EXCHANGE DETAILS: it is important to that you obtain details of the other party before they leave the scene. You should also provide your details. It is important to obtain at least the name and address of the other driver along with the registration number of the other vehicle.
DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY: Don’t discuss liability at the scene of the accident. It is very important that you do not admit liability at the scene even if you feel that you may be partly to blame. Liability in road accident claims is not always straightforward and it is therefore important that you do not admit any blame for the accident until you have obtained your own legal advice.
INFORM THE POLICE : the accident should be reported to the police even if the police do not attend the scene. This should be done as soon as possible and in any event at least within 24 hours of the accident. Failing to report an accident or failing to stop after an accident is a criminal offence.
If the police attend the scene they will assist the injured and ensure that the scene is safe. The police will take details of the parties involved, any witnesses, position of vehicles etc. The police will also ask each party for a description of the accident.
You should avoid making any statement to the police regarding fault for the accident but stick to the basic facts of the accident.
OBTAIN YOUR OWN EVIDENCE AT THE SCENE: do not rely on the information given to the police. It is advisable to take your own details such as:
- the registered number, make, model and colour of other vehicles involved.
- contact details for any police officer who attends the scene
- the exact location of the accident including road names
- the position of all vehicles before and at the point of the collision including the direction each vehicle was travelling in
- the weather conditions, condition of the road and any factors affecting visibility
- details of any lights or indicators displayed by all vehicles at the time of the accident
TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS AT THE SCENE: this is particularly important if the police do not attend the scene. However, even if the police attend the scene and take details it is useful if you can take your own photographs.
- Take photographs at the scene showing the position of the vehicles immediately after the collision (if possible before the vehicles are moved).
- Check for skid marks and the position of accident debris such as broken glass etc. If possible take photographs of these at the scene. If it is not possible to take photographs at the scene make a note of the position of any skid marks and glass etc.
- If possible take photographs of the damage to all the vehicles.
- Take photographs of any road markings and the area where the accident happened.
If you are unable to take photographs at the scene take them as soon as possible after the accident. If you are unable to do this due to injury ask a friend to take the photographs for you. If it appears that there may be a dispute over the liability for the accident instructing personal injury solicitors as soon as possible after the accident will ensure that the evidence is collected for use in support of your claim.
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION: you should seek medical attention for any injury sustained as soon as possible after the accident. This not only ensures that you receive proper treatment but also provides a medical record of the injuries sustained which can be used to support your claim later on.
CHECK FOR VIDEO FOOTAGE: Is there dash cam footage of the accident? If so, this should be reviewed and retained.
Read more about the use of dash cam footage in road accident claims.
PREPARE A SKETCH PLAN: a sketch showing the accident location and position of the vehicles before and after the accident along with the position of any glass, skid marks etc can help your solicitor pursue a compensation claim on your behalf.
NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: it is a condition of insurance that you notify your insurance company if you are involved in an accident. This is the case even if you are only insured Third Party or if you are not making any claim on your own policy. You can report the information to your insurance company ‘for information only’. Read more about notifying your insurers.
BEWARE: Your insurers may try to convince you allow one of their solicitors to act on your behalf in connection with your claim. This is particularly the case if you have some kind of legal expenses insurance with your motor policy. However, you should not agree to this without first considering your right to instruct your own independent solicitor. Remember that you have the freedom to choose your own solicitor to act on your behalf and the solicitors offered by your insurers may not be the best option for you.
For further information about your freedom to choose a solicitor click here.
KEEP DETAILS OF YOUR LOSSES: After an accident it is important that you keep records any financial losses or expenses that you incur. You should keep receipts for any expenses. You should also keep a record of how your injury affects you – for instance time off work, any medical treatment you receive and how the injury affects your day to day activities. This information will help to prove your compensation claim and maximise any compensation that you receive.
CONTACT US FOR FREE ADVICE: we recommend that you obtain your own independent legal advice following a road accident. We will provide free advice by phone or we can arrange a free, no obligation meeting to discuss your case. Free home visits are also available anywhere in Lancashire.
Freephone 0800 7315434