What to do if you are in a car accident

No one expects to be involved in a car accident, and if it does happen to you it can be something of a shock. Whether it’s a little bump or a big motorway crash, the unexpected can happen when you least expect it. If you were to listen to lawyers discuss getting case past judgment, you’d know that in cases like these, you’d only be fortunate that your judgement was deferred. And if it does happen to you, here’s your must-follow checklist of things to do.


Your immediate checklist


  • Stop the car immediately. It is an offence to not stop your car
  • Switch off your engine
  • Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers
  • Check yourself for injuries and ask passengers
  • Call the police and ambulance if anyone has been injured or if the road has become blocked
  • Try to remain calm. Take some deep breaths and try not to lose your temper with the other driver
  • Don’t accept responsibility or apologise for the accident until you know exactly what happened as this could protect your liability if you weren’t at fault


Exchanging details


  • Give your name and address to the other driver. This must be done especially if damage or injury has been caused – it is against the law not to
  • Make sure you get the other driver’s name and address
  • Swap insurance details
  • Get details (name, address and number) of other passengers and people who have witnessed the accident
  • Try to find out if the driver is the registered keeper of the vehicle. They may not be as it could be a company car


What to record at the scene


  • Details of the vehicle involved, including make, model, colour and number plate
  • Date and time of when the crash occurred
  • Driving conditions e.g. wet, muddy
  • The lighting quality
  • Road quality e.g. road markings, state of road surfaces
  • Any injuries sustained by driver, passengers or pedestrians
  • Take photos of the scene, damage to cars, positions of cars involved


Should I call the police?


Yes, especially if the accident has occurred on a main or busy road as police officers can help with traffic flow and ensuring the correct procedures are followed. There are certain circumstances where the police should be called immediately, including:


  • If the other driver(s) has left the scene without stopping and providing details
  • If you believe the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • If you believe the other driver has no insurance
  • If you suspect that the collision was caused deliberately


The police should be informed about the incident within 24 hours. If you don’t you could receive a fine, points on your licence or even be disqualified.


After the crash


Following the crash you will be contacted by your own insurance, once you let them know about the accident, and don’t be surprised if you get a phone call from the insurance company of the other driver.


It is likely that both your own insurance company and the other driver’s will offer to help you make a personal injury claim for your injuries, however you are under no obligation to use their services. Your insurance company’s route – and especially the other party’s – may not be able to get you the compensation you deserve. If you do wish to make a claim for your injuries, it is recommended that you use an  Accident and emergency Claims  who will offer impartial assistance throughout your claim.

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