Whether you’re a professional driver or simply use your car to get from A-B, you may find yourself the victim of a road traffic accident. There are several things to consider should you find yourself in this unfortunate position, many of which can easily get overlooked due to the stress incurred by the accident.
Contact the emergency services
The first thing that should be done in the event of any road traffic accident is to consult the appropriate emergency services. Whether you believe anyone has been injured or not, medical help should still be sought. It is wise to note that not all injuries can be seen, and others won’t always demonstrate obvious symptoms until a later time, at which time, it may be too late to deliver the most effective medical treatments.
In addition to this, contacting the appropriate emergency services will give you the necessary evidence of the type of accident that happened and the injuries incurred, should you wish to make a personal injury claim.
Leave Your Details
When you are involved on any type of road traffic accident, you are obliged to leave your details with any other parties involved, this will include your name and address. Details should be left whether or not there was anyone around to witness the accident, for example if you hit a parked vehicle.
Of course, leaving your details does not necessarily mean that you should explicitly take the blame for the incident. There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to a car crash, even if the other vehicle involved in the accident was stationary. I.e., were the roads left ungritted when guidelines state they should have been? Was the stationary car parked around a bend that made the crash unavoidable?
Of course, in addition to leaving your own personal details, you should aim to seek the details of others involved, deciphering whether or not they are the registered keeper of their vehicle and obtaining details of the insurance policy they have set up.
Other information you should try to obtain the aftermath of a car incident includes:
- The registration number of all other vehicles involved, along with the make and model of the vehicle.
- The time and date the road traffic accident occurred.
- A description of any possible contributing factors such as the weather conditions, anything unusual about the road, or the way the lighting was set up or shining.
- A list of all injuries sustained by you, (this may also be provided by the hospital) a list of injuries sustained by others involved in the incident, and a list of all damage done to any vehicle involved.
Of course, the information collected by you will often depend on how severely injured you are, and collating all of this information is not something that is a legal requirement, nor is it compulsory.
If you have the means to do so, you may wish to take photos of the incident. Pictures are a great way to jog your memory of particular events that occurred. Legal cases surrounding road traffic accidents can be lengthy if there are multiple factors involved, and as such images will provide you great standing when it comes to presenting the facts of your accident in a court setting.
Until you seek legal aid, it is vital that you avoid accepting blame until you know exactly what happened to cause the incident.
Report the Incident
All road traffic accidents should be reported to the police within 24 hours of their occurrence. If you do not report your accident, it is vital that you are aware that you could incur a penalty, or even be disqualified from driving in more server cases.
Further to this, reporting your road traffic incident to the police will give you greater ground to stand on, should you decide to make a personal injury claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Many people are fearful of informing their insurance company of an accident they have been involved in, fearing that their premium my rise. However, most car insurance policies will have a clause that states the time frame in which accidents must be reported to them by. Failure to comply with the clauses set out in your insurance agreement could invalidate your cover and result in you needing to pay a heavy fine.
The time frames set up in your insurance policy will vary between each insurance company, so be sure to check the wording of your policy agreement carefully, as such time frames can be anything between two days and two weeks.
Once you have contacted your insurer, it will be then be your decision if you wish to pursue your claim, and your insurer will be able to guide you on what the next steps you will be required to take.
Should I Make a Personal Injury Claim?
There are multiple factors that can affect the success of a personal injury claim, and seeking the help of a specialist personal injury lawyer will help you determine the estimated likelihood success of your claim, and help you decide if you would like to move forward with your case.
Personal injury is a specialist area of law, and you should ensure that the lawyer you hire to help you with your case has the appropriate expertise to help you.
There are a wide variety of online tools available to those seeking the help of a legal representative. The Law Society is the representative for solicitors in England and Wales and offers a comprehensive search tool to help you find an appropriate solicitor in your local area.
Further to this, you can narrow down your search through The Law Society by using their “pro search” tool, as well as searching for you solicitor by specific accreditation.