Road traffic accident dos and don'ts

By Anjali Kanish
Published: 05:42PM BST 15 Aug 2012

Take to the road, and unfortunately your chances of being involved in a road traffic accident are quite high. It's difficult, we know, but try not to panic if you find yourself in the aftermath of a collision.

There are guidelines you should follow to get through these anxious moments, and we hope this article will help.

Things you should do

  • If you witness an accident, inform the medical services immediately, in case anyone is injured.
  • The police should be informed quickly as possible. In certain cases, especially involving uninsured or untraced drivers, if the police aren't notified within 14 days of the incident, it could hamper you bringing a claim via the Motor Insurers' Bureau. 
  • Tell your insurer as soon as possible. Any delay could prejudice you at a later stage. 
  • Collect information about the other party involved in the accident, including their name, address, contact number, vehicle registration number, and if possible their insurer's details.
  • Try to get the addresses, phone numbers and names of any witnesses. Remember, if it was a car accident, the passengers involved can be regarded as witnesses, but can't be considered independent.
  • If you have a camera, or have a camera on your mobile phone, take pictures of damage to the vehicles involved, the area where the incident took place, and pictures of adjacent and connecting streets.
  • Try to gather physical proof of what might have caused the accident. If possible, collect details from the site and make a rough sketch, including details such as weather conditions, precise location (including landmarks), date and time. The more the better.
  • Inform a personal injury lawyer immediately to assess the whole situation.

Things you shouldn't do

Don't leave the scene of the accident, or you may be considered guilty.

  • Try not to talk to anyone about the accident, or hold anyone responsible, including yourself.
  • Never sign any papers provided by an insurance company or enter into an agreement before getting legal advice.
  • Try not to converse with anyone from the other party's insurance company without seeking advice from a lawyer. The statement you provide might be used against you in court.

What next?

If you're ever placed in such a situation, please call our legal helpline 03700 86 86 86 to talk about your claim and to see if you are entitled to road traffic accident compensation.

There'll be no cost to you for the initial discussion, and if we believe we can help you we'll arrange appropriate funding for your claim.

Once an initial discussion has taken place, and following a successful risk assessment, your lawyer will contact you and begin to pursue your claim in the best way possible to ensure a successful outcome.

Our team of specialist personal injury lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with such cases.

Please print off our handy guide and place it in your glovebox. We hope you never have to use it.

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All documents should be read and used in accordance with the terms and conditions. This document is for your general information only and is not a detailed statement of the law. It is provided to you free of charge and should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice. If you require specific legal advice please contact our helpline on 03700 86 86 86.

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