Unfortunately, car accidents are fairly common and around five people die in road traffic accidents in the UK every day. Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely traumatic experience that can result in extensive property damage and serious injuries. No one wants to think about being involved in a car accident, but you must know what steps to take to protect yourself if you do find yourself in one. To help you to be prepared, here are five actions you should take following a car accident.
1. Stop immediately
You must always stop immediately after an accident, even if it’s just a minor bump. It is a legal offence to drive away from the scene of an accident. If you are involved in an accident, then stop your vehicle in the nearest safe location and switch off your engine. You should also put your hazard lights on to help prevent other accidents from occurring in the area. It is also a good idea to take photographs of the scene, including any damage to the vehicles.
2. Contact emergency services
You should call an ambulance and the police immediately if anyone has been injured in the car accident. Even if no one appears to be injured, it’s often a good idea to contact the police as you may require a police report when making an insurance or liability claim at a later date. When the police attend, make sure that you give an accurate description of what happened.
3. Exchange details
According to experts at the AA – “You are legally obliged to provide everyone involved in a car accident with your name and address. You should also swap insurance details with the other driver(s).” It is also advisable to make a note of any passengers and witnesses to the accident. Your insurance company may require this information, or a solicitor may request it if you decide to claim compensation.
4. Seek legal advice
In some situations, it may be necessary to seek professional legal advice following a car accident. For instance, you should always contact a solicitor if there have been serious injuries and you are being accused of manslaughter or murder. It is advisable to contact a specialist solicitor immediately in these circumstances. A solicitor will explain the charges to you, ensure that you are treated fairly during police investigations, and discuss the various defences to murder and manslaughter that may apply in your case.
5. Notify your insurance provider
Most insurers state that you must notify them within 24 hours of a car accident. This means that your policy may be void if you fail to notify your insurers within this time frame. For that reason, you must contact your insurers at the earliest possible opportunity, ideally at the time of the accident. Your insurers are likely to request the following information – your policy number and personal information, the registration number of the cars involved, and details of the other driver. Have this information to hand to help speed up the reporting process.