A road accident – whether you are driving your car, a motorbike, bicycle or on foot – is generally a traumatic event. This is especially true, of course, if you have been the victim of personal injury.
Rather than struggling in the heat of the moment to remember what to do, it may be helpful to be prepared in advance and have clearly in mind those actions likely to help you in the aftermath of the accident.
The reason is quite straight forward. When insurers and solicitors are assessing road traffic accident claims, there is one thing prized above everything else – and that is information about the accident, as much of it and in as great a detail as you can manage.
This is likely to be especially important if you subsequently instruct personal injury specialists to purse a claim on your behalf.
What to do
You might want to use the following as a checklist of the sort of information which an insurer or solicitor is going to find useful:
- as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau points out, the law requires anyone involved in a road accident to stop if any person is injured, if another vehicle or property is damaged, if an animal is injured, if traffic signs, bollards and the like have been damaged;
Who is involved
- details need to be taken of everyone involved in the accident – including those you think were responsible for it, along with those whom you think might have played no part in causing it;
- the details need to include their names and addresses, the make, model and registration of any vehicle involved, together with the insurance details relating to the drivers of those vehicles;
- anyone involved in helping you – such as an insurer or solicitor – to make a claim arising from the accident, is going to need as accurate and as detailed account from you of what actually happened;
- make notes at the scene of the accident, therefore, whilst the circumstances are still fresh in your mind, sketch out a plan of the road, the position of vehicles, pedestrians and any damaged property on it, and use your smartphone or a camera to take pictures from every relevant angle;
- this is critical information in determining who was to blame for the accident – who is liable;
Who is involved
- along with a detailed – and illustrated – description of what happened, you also need to make a note of the name, address and contact details of everyone involved in the accident;
- this includes the make, model and registration number of any vehicle involved, together with the insurance details of the driver or drivers of those vehicles;
- you might also want to gather comments from any witnesses to what happened and ask for their names, addresses and contact details too;
- if the police attend the scene, it may later prove useful to have the incident number and contents of any immediate report that is likely to be made;
- if you have or even suspect that you have suffered any kind of injury, it is important that you seek a medical opinion as soon as possible after the accident;
- if you have repairs made to your own vehicle or to property that has been damaged in the accident, it is vital that you keep quotes you have obtained for the work to be done, along with receipts for any invoices you have paid.
In a nutshell, therefore, what you should do in the event of a road traffic accident – after making sure that any physical injuries are appropriately dealt with – is to gather as much detailed and accurate information as possible.