Should you be unlucky enough to be involved in a Motor Accident / Road Traffic Incident, here’s some brief guidance on what to do (and what not to do) during the aftermath:

    THE DO’S
  • Try to stay as calm, and polite, as possible
  • Check the other driver to see if they are hurt (whiplash doesn’t show up immediately, so don’t be shocked if they seem okay at the scene, but later make an injury claim)
  • Volunteer your contact and vehicle information to the other party/ies involved, making no admission of responsibility for the incident.
  • Request the other Drivers’ contact and vehicle information, making no accusations of responsibility for the incident.
  • Request the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident take place (this does not include passengers of the involved vehicles, as they are not considered to be ‘independent witnesses’)
  • Take a mental note of the other Drivers’ appearance (hair colour, approximate age, height and weight) in case you are asked at a later date to provide a description, to resolve a dispute over negligence.
  • Take as many photographs of the scene as possible, including (but not limited to):
  • a) the position of each vehicle immediately after the incident (try to include the vehicle registration of the other party’s vehicle in at least one photo)
    b) any skid marks in the road or verge leading up to the point of impact (preferably only those that can be specifically attributed to an involved vehicle)
    c) the bends in the road leading up to the incident scene, including any road signs (and try to take these photos from both directions, so that insurers can see what both drivers would’ve seen leading up to the point of impact)

      THE DO NOT’S
  • Do not admit responsibility for the incident to anyone on the scene
  • Try not to call 999 unless
  • a) harm or violence is threatened by any party on the scene*;
    b) the other driver appears to be under the influence of drink or drugs*;
    c) if the other driver refuses to provide their information*;
    d) petrol or diesel (or some other hazardous fluid/material) has leaked or spilled onto the road;
    e) someone is seriously injured, or trapped in / by a vehicle; or
    f) the road is blocked and cannot be cleared without professional equipment/machinery

    *If you need to call 999, please request a ‘Crime Reference number’ and provide this to your Insurer when reporting the incident (or as soon as received, if not provided at the scene).

    As a side note, too many motor incidents these days are being settled by insurers on how such claims have been settled in past, regardless of any differing circumstances, because not enough people volunteer to come forward as a witness to the events leading up to an accident. A witness statement can make the difference between a 50/50 (or equal responsibility) settlement, and a full recovery of costs (meaning that the innocent party isn’t penalized with a loss of out of pocket expenses (policy excess, hire car), loss of injury compensation to which they may be entitled, a reduction in their NCD, and increased insurance premiums for the next 5 years – see our article regarding Protected NCD and why it doesn’t do what most people think).

    I would respectfully ask that, if you witness the events leading up to a Motor Accident / Road Traffic Incident, please consider offering, to the driver you feel was not at fault for the incident, to act as a ‘witness’, even if it makes you a little late for work or an appointment. It only takes a few minutes to pass on your contact information before you can be on your way again as, one day, you may be thankful when a someone does the same for you.