Car accidents can happen to anybody, and they are always unexpected. If you find yourself involved in an accident on the road, whether it’s a big collision or a minor dent in your bumper, it is important to keep calm and take the correct steps.
Stop Your Car
In many cases, you will be required by law to stop your car. If the accident causes damage to somebody else’s property – including another car – or results in injury of a person or animal, it is absolutely essential to stop. This duty applies whether or not you are at fault.
If you are the only person involved in the accident and there is no damage to property, you will not necessarily have to stop. However, it will often be difficult to be sure that no property has damaged without stopping and getting out of your car to check properly.
Assess the Damage
The next step will be to assess the damage to your own vehicle and to any other vehicles or property involved in the accident. If there has been an injury, the priority is to assess the extent of this and establish whether the other person needs medical attention.
If you have a camera on hand, it is best to take photographs of the scene. Make sure that they show the location of vehicles and the extent of damage. It is also a good idea to photograph the registration numbers of all vehicles involved. A mobile phone with a built-in camera is ideal for this purpose. It is also worth writing down your recollection of all the events leading up to the accident so you can refer to them at a later date. This can be particularly useful when making a statement to the police or even if you are badly affected by the event and have to attend legal counselling prior to appearing in court.
Exchange all Necessary Information
There will be information you need to give out to other parties and information that you need to collect from them. This will be essential in making a claim from your own insurance or from somebody else’s. In terms of information you need to give out, other people involved in the accident will need your name, address, contact details and insurance information. You should also give out this information to any policeman or other official who attends the scene.
You will need to collect the same information from the other people involved in the accident. It can also be a good idea to try and get the names and contact numbers of any witnesses, especially if the other person is at fault and you may need to provide evidence to a road traffic accident solicitor at a later time.
Contact all Necessary Organisations
If nobody is injured in the accident, the police do not need to be called to the scene. However, it may be necessary to report the accident to the police later, for example if you were unable to provide your name and address at the scene for some reason or if the other driver has not done so.
You will also need to contact your insurance company. This should be done at the first opportunity to ensure that your claim progresses smoothly and as quickly as possible.