Do you know what to do if you’ve been in a car accident?

by Canter on July 15, 2013

Accidents happen in a matter of seconds but can affect you for the rest of your life.

It’s an old cliché, but accidents happen. Every minute of every day, somebody somewhere suffers in a road traffic accident. Whether the accident was your fault or not it’s important to know just what to do in those vital moments after the collision occurs.

Here’s a brief list of some of the basic things you should do if you’ve been involved in an accident on the road.

Make sure everyone is safe

If you’ve been involved in an accident and it wasn’t your fault it may be tempting to get out of the car to vent your feelings at the other driver. That will do absolutely no good and could waste valuable time if someone has been hurt. Get out of your vehicle if you can, along with any passengers and ensure that everyone involved is OK. If anyone appears to be injured in any way, you must call for immediate medical assistance.

Get off the road

As soon as it is safe to do so, make sure yourself, other drivers and all other passengers are off the road and out of danger. You may not be able to go anywhere but other road users are usually keen to go about their business and continue their journeys; meaning you could be in danger of being struck by other vehicles. If your vehicles are not too badly damaged you may want to drive them to the side of the road, but if there is major damage, anyone injured is still inside, or there may be an issue for the police to investigate; always leave the vehicles exactly where they are.

Call the police

Even if the incident seems minor it’s always worth calling the police; especially if there’s some kind of dispute over the cause of the accident. The police attending will mean that the incident is recorded should any further action be taken further down the line – such as a road traffic accident claim

Exchange insurance information

Once you’ve established that everyone is safe it’s vital that you exchange insurance details with the other drivers involved. If possible take down the name of the insurance company and the policy number, but as many people don’t have this to hand you need to take down as many details as possible. Things like the driver’s name, address and phone number, along with the car’s registration plate details, make, colour and model of the car will all help when it comes to processing an insurance claim.

Approach witnesses

If there are other people nearby who saw the accident you should approach them to be a witness. Simply ask them if they would mind reporting what they have seen, though they don’t need to do anything at that moment. Simply giving their name and contact details will be enough. Should the insurance company need any information they will contact them at a later date.

Photograph and document all evidence

As well as taking down as much information as you can regarding the accident, if possible, try and photograph the damage caused and the position of the vehicles. Obviously if your car is in the middle of a busy road then this isn’t advised, but capturing that little bit of extra information might just help your case.

Get someone else to drive home

When all details have been collected, the police have left and you are ready to leave the scene, make sure someone else drives you home of possible. This may seem like a strange thing to do but following a road traffic accident you can sometimes suffer from delayed shock or even injury. Whiplash injuries can take some time to become noticeable and your reactions may be affected if you are shaken. See if someone will come and pick you up, or at least be with you in the car as you make your way home.

This article was provided by experienced writer and blogger Matt Parkinson in association with Canter Levin & Berg – Road traffic accident solicitors.

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