Eight Steps to Take After a Car Accident in the UK

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Published: 23rd May 2013
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A car accident can be upsetting and distressing, even if it is a very minor accident and no one is injured. It is normal to feel alarmed and shocked when you have been involved in an accident. This can make it difficult to think clearly and do everything that you need to do. So, take a few deep breaths, calm down and take the following steps after your accident:

1. Stop Your Car Safely

If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, it is a legal requirement that you stop your car in a safe position as close to the accident as possible. Turn off your engine and put your hazard lights on.

2. Call an Ambulance and the Police, if Necessary

If anyone involved in the accident is hurt, it is essential that you call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. The police should also be alerted if someone has been injured and/or if a car or debris is obstructing the road.

3. Give Your Details to the Other People Involved

If other people are involved in the accident, you need to give them your name and address. At this stage, do not admit responsibility for the accident, even if you believe that it was your fault. An admission of responsibility could adversely affect your insurance claim and it will be impossible to change it later.

4. Collect Details from the Other People Involved

It is important that you collect the following information from each of the other people involved in the accident, including passengers and witnesses:
* Name
* Address
* Contact telephone number
* Car registration number
* Make, model and colour of the vehicle
* Car insurance company details (from the driver(s) of the other vehicle(s) involved).
* Take Photos. Use your mobile phone to take some photos of:
* the scene of the accident
* each of the vehicles involved
* anything else that is relevant, such as an obstruction in the road.

5. Write Down As Many Details About the Accident As You Can

Once you are sitting in your car again, note down as many details about the accident as you can while they are still fresh in your mind, including:

* The time and date of the accident.
* A sketch of what happened. Show the position of each vehicle on the road.
* The weather conditions.
* The condition of the road.
* The estimated speed of each vehicle.
* Whether or not headlights and indicators were used
* A list of injuries to the people involved.
* A list of damage to the vehicles involved.
* Any other details that are relevant to what happened.

6. Report the Accident to the Police Within 24 Hours

Even if no one was hurt in the accident, you need to go to a police station and report the accident within 24 hours. If you do not do this, you could be fined or incur penalty points on your licence.

7. Inform Your Insurance Company as Quickly as Possible

It is important to tell your insurance company about the accident as quickly as possible. Check your policy to find out how quickly you have to inform them. Some insurers give you as little as two days to report an accident, while others may give you up to two weeks.

8. Make an Insurance Claim

If your car has been damaged in the accident, you will want to make an insurance claim. In order to do this, you will probably need to fill in a claim form, although some car insurance UK insurers may allow you to make a claim over the phone. In either case, the insurance company will ask for a lot of details about the accident, so the information that you gathered at the scene will be invaluable.
If you try to remain calm after your car accident, you will be in the best possible position to deal with the situation well. If you give your insurance company all of the relevant information, your claim should proceed smoothly and be settled quickly. If you take each of the above steps, you will also be secure in the knowledge that you have fulfilled all of your legal obligations.

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