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What to do if you have been involved in a car accident

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Unless you’ve been involved in a car accident before then you might not know what to do. Most likely you will be in a state of shock and having some knowledge of how to react might be a great help to you. What's more, if the accident you were involved in was not your fault then there are some important steps that you will need to follow.

The first thing you should do in a car accident is stop. Under the Road Traffic Act (1988) a driver has a duty to stop their vehicle, report the accident and give any information that is requested.

Switch off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and safely exit your vehicle. If you have any hi-visibility clothing then this would be a good time to use it.

The next thing you should do is see if anyone else has been injured or affected by the accident. If you believe that someone has been injured then you should call the emergency services to attend the scene as quickly as is possible.

If you are injured yourself then you should attend hospital as soon as possible or visit your GP for less urgent injuries, either way your medical records could be vital evidence should you wish to make a claim for compensation.

The Road Traffic Act also requires you to share your details with anyone else involved in the incident. This means your vehicle registration, make of car and model as well as your name and address. If you are in an accident where you hit a parked vehicle or a street sign for example, then you should stay around the scene for a reasonable amount of time, leaving your details, on the windscreen for instance.

If you believe that the other person was to blame you should endeavour to collect the same details from them. You should also check around to see if there are any witnesses who saw the accident and ask them for their contact details.

When exchanging details it is vital that you remember not to apologise as this could be seen as admitting guilt for the accident. Road traffic accidents are a stressful experience and you might not be in a clear frame of mind to understand what has happened completely, so admitting guilt early might be problematic should you realise the other driver was at fault for the accident.

Nowadays, many people have smart phones with cameras, so if you can, take some photographs of the scene and any damage to your vehicle. If you don’t have a camera then you should consider sketching out the scene of the accident to remind you later on.

You should make a note of as many details as possible, names of people involved, times of incidents, weather conditions and any other details as something that might seem insignificant at first could be a deciding factor in your compensation claim if the accident was not your fault.

A car accident could leave you incurring extra expenses for hire cars and repairs to your vehicle or it could leave you with injuries that mean you are unable to work for a period of time. Either way, if the accident was not your fault then you may have a strong claim for compensation.

Rollingsons Solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with various types of compensation claims and aim for the maximum amount of compensation for their clients. For further information on making a claim for a Road Traffic Accident, read out free guide here or contact our Personal Injury team on 020 7611 4848.

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