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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:

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

2. Turn off the engine and switch on the hazard lights

3. Check for any injuries

4. Stay calm

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

What you should not do:

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:


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.

Final Thoughts

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.

For more insurance-related guides, check out why is car insurance mandatory, can an 18 year old buy temporary insurance, and what affects the price of car insurance.