Car accidents are a rare phenomenon in the UK. In 2020, we saw a 17% decline in fatalities, year to year – but the trend was downward long before Covid-19 became a factor, thanks to a combination of changes in driving culture and improved safety technology. If you’re part of the unfortunate minority who find themselves involved in an accident or fender bender, however, then those statistics might not be much consolation. Let’s walk through some of the steps you’ll need to follow in the aftermath of any collision.
First, Take a Deep Breath
You’re in a stressful situation, and so you’ll want to take a moment to get calm yourself before you take any further action. This will be easier for some people than for others, but it’s always important that you take the effort.
Don’t Admit Fault
If you apologize, it could be taken as an admission of guilt. Make sure that your language is neutral and that you’re not drawn into any arguments about who did what.
If you’ve collided on a public road, then you’ll need to notify the police. If there are injured people involved, then you might need to also call an ambulance. Assess the situation and contact the relevant authorities. If you’re unsure of whether a particular injury warrants an ambulance, then it’s best to err on the side of caution.
To make any insurance claims, you’ll need to swap details with the other driver. This means your name, address and phone number You’ll also want to collect information like driver’s license numbers, plus vehicle registration and license plate numbers. Collect basic insurance information such as the name of the insurance provider, car registration and policy numbers. If the vehicle doesn’t belong to you, then you’ll also need to provide the name and address of the person to whom it does belong. You’ll need to notify your insurance company that an accident has occurred, even if you don’t intend to file a claim.
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, then you might be able to claim compensation. Your insurance company will be able to provide you with advice. In either case, it’s a good idea to file a police report.
Take photos of the scene, and of both vehicles. If you have a dashcam, even better – but don’t forget to take close-ups, too.
Ask for Advice
It might be that you’re entitled to compensation. The easy way to find this out is to seek the services of a specialized solicitor. Certain kinds of injury warrant more generous pay-outs. Brain injury claims, for example, are typically commensurate with the seriousness of the injury.
Visit Your Doctor
Once you’re home, it doesn’t hurt to get checked out by your doctor. Even if your discomfort is only minor, you might find that there’s an underlying injury that could be serious if left untreated.