Hopefully, it never happens, but if the worse does occur, you need to be appropriately prepared to handle yourself and the situation safely.
Car accidents are unfortunate, but handling them can significantly affect the outcome, especially if you have to make a claim.
If the unfortunate occurs, this article will guide you through the proper steps to handle it and help create the best possible outcome.
What to do after a car accident?
The moments after an accident occurs are crucial because your compliance with the proper steps can make the most significant difference when you make a claim.
It is equally important to understand that there are things which you should not do. Specifically, never:
- Leave the accident scene
- Admit fault to anyone
- Lose your temper or get violent
- Refuse to provide your information
- Fake a personal injury
Here are the things you need to do to protect yourself and your property.
Stop the vehicle and switch on your the hazard lights
Immediately after a road traffic accident, focus and ensure you have clarity of the moment.
Take a few deep breaths and fully grasp the situation and focus on the things you now must take responsibility for.
Be sure to follow these four steps immediately:
1. Stop the Vehicle
- It’s a legal requirement that all vehicles involved be safely and securely brought to a stop, and if possible, removed from the road. Failing to ensure this is done is an offence under the Road Traffic Act.
2. Turn off the engine and switch on the hazard lights
- Next, you must shut the vehicle off and switch on the hazard lights to warn any other driver who may pass by.
3. Check for any injuries
- Immediately assess if there are any injuries sustained by anyone in your vehicle and if not, then investigate the other vehicles involved.
- If there are injuries sustained, immediately contact the police.
4. Stay calm
- Do not get heated, lose your temper, become enraged, or have any violent behaviours.
Who should you call after a car accident
The first phone call should be to report the car crash to the police and get ambulances.
You are required to report a car crash to the police if the accident if any of the following occurs:
- There are injuries to anyone
- Anyone flees the accident scene
- You believe other road users are in danger or the road is blocked
- You believe another driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- You think the other driver is uninsured, or they will not provide insurance company information
- You believe the other driver caused the collision deliberately
Exchanging motoring details
To ensure the integrity and quality of any potential car accident claims, you need information about everyone’s insurance.
Provide your details after a car accident
You are required to provide your details to everyone that is involved in the car accident, including your name, phone number, and your insurance company paperwork.
Collect details from any other motorists after a car accident
In addition to providing everyone with your information, you need to ensure that you collect the same information from all the other drivers and contact details from passengers and any witnesses who are still at the scene.
What should I document at the scene of the accident?
You need to document as many facts about the accident as possible and be sure to confirm everything that happened as accurately and as factually as possible.
The facts and details you want to document are:
- The exact date
- The time the accident occurred
- The time at which you called the police
- The time the police arrived at the scene
- The condition of the vehicles
- The registration details of all the cars involved
- The exact location of the accident, including any landmarks to give a more accurate location
- The weather conditions (was it foggy, for example?)
- The road quality conditions at the time of the accident (was there something wet on the road, for example?)
- Anything else you feel is important for your insurer or the police
If a parked car was involved, be sure to document the vehicle registration number and licence plate number.
There are several ways to document these things. For example, take a screenshot of your weather app or use your phone’s voice recorder when you are speaking to witnesses.
The best idea is to take photos of everything, especially prior to the police arriving.
Making an insurance claim after a car accident
When the time is appropriate and all other requirements have been met, get your insurance company involved to ensure that they will have all the relevant and requisite information for your possible insurance claim.
Contact your insurer
At the earliest moment, contact your agent directly or your insurer through whatever phone number you have been provided for phoning in a claim. Inform your insurer about every detail of the car accident in a concise but accurate and factual manner. You do not want any possible police report to contradict basic but essential information later.
If you’ve taken temporary car insurance out with GoShorty and need to contact us to make a claim, please first check your policy documents to find out which insurer you are with, then call:
- KGM Underwriting: 0333 555 5909
- First Underwriting Ltd: 0344 854 1157
- LV: 0800 681 6371
- Mulsanne: 0344 573 6651
- Ageas: 0345 122 3018
Provide information on other drivers involved in a car accident
There is some specific information your insurer needs to know at this stage about the other drivers and their insurance details.
Your insurer will need to know:
- Names of all involved
- The phone number for each individual
- The details of the vehicles involved
- Whether any are children, elderly or pregnant
- Initial assessment of whether any other driver is uninsured or unlicensed
- A basic assessment of injuries, such as no one was bleeding, everyone was conscious and standing, etc.
Provide details of the accident
Your insurer also needs to know the facts and circumstances of the accident. These are the same facts and details that you have been documenting already. It is important to note that the details you provide your insurer should match the documentation you have already made. Be sure to inform your insurer that you have documented the details you are telling them.
What should I do in the event of a hit and run?
This is a very different type of road accident, as a hit and run (also called a dent and run) is automatically a criminal matter, as it is reckless driving. The other driver could potentially be sentenced to jail time.
In the event of hit and run road accidents, you should:
- Immediately but safely bring your car to a stop and exit the vehicle – Note: if your car was parked or you were not present at the time, follow as many of these steps as possible
- Try to document the licence plate of the other vehicle
- Assess if there are any injuries, if yes call the emergency services
- Call the police. They will provide you with a crime number.
- Document the accident as usual and take the details of any witnesses
- Contact your insurer
What you should not do:
- Chase the hit and run driver
- Wait until later to contact the police or your insurer
- Remain inside your car or try to drive off
What should I do if I accidentally hit an animal?
If you hit an animal, you should address the situation humanely.
The best thing to do is stop your vehicle and pull over to the side of the road. Try to safely and carefully approach the injured animal to see if it is alive and if it has a collar with any contact details.
If it’s a pet with contact information, you should contact the owner. If there is no contact information, you can call the police.
Under the Road Traffic Act, you are required to call the police if you hit:
- Donkeys and mules
Can I make a car accident claim on someone else’s behalf?
Yes, it is possible to file a car accident claim on someone else’s behalf. However, there are certain specific criteria that need to be met legally and procedurally. The best course of action is to contact the insurance company.
What are the time limits for making a car accident compensation claim?
Time limits are strictly enforced, so be sure to act quickly and responsibly. For road traffic accidents and other car accidents, the time limit to file a claim is 3 years from either the date of the accident or the date of recovery if the accident rendered you incapacitated.
Do you have to call the police after a minor car accident?
You should report every accident within 24 hours from the time in which the accident occurs. You must call the police in certain situations, however, if you plan to make a claim, a police report can usually help the process.
How long does it take for insurance to pay out after a car accident?
This depends upon the circumstances. Technically, it could take from a week up to a year for a claim to be processed, approved, and for you to receive your payment. The longest phase is for the insurance company to conclude liability. Once that is established, payments are made quickly, on average in 1 to 4 weeks.
Hopefully, you never need these steps, but there is never a reason for not knowing them. Being prepared is the most important thing about driving, and that means having the proper skill, knowledge and insurance cover in the event that you do get into a car accident. Go Shorty offers a range of insurance policies to help you prepare for all eventualities when driving.