What to do after a car accident

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What To Do After A Car Accident

After a car accident, it’s natural to feel shaken and overwhelmed, even if the damage is minor. To assist you in handling the situation calmly, we have prepared a step-by-step guide that outlines what actions you should take.

This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the aftermath of the accident and provide you with the necessary information to report the incident to your car insurance provider.

Your immediate steps after an accident

After an accident, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to ensure safety and gather necessary information. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do:

Stop Safely

As soon as it’s safe to do so, bring your vehicle to a stop and turn off the engine. Failing to stop after an accident may result in legal consequences.

Turn on Hazard Lights

Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers about the potential obstruction or debris on the road.

Check for Injuries

Assess yourself and your passengers for any injuries. If anyone requires urgent medical attention, call an ambulance. Remain calm and avoid hasty actions that could exacerbate the situation.

Exit the Vehicle Carefully

Step out of the vehicle cautiously and survey the scene. If there are injuries or the road is blocked, immediately call emergency services (999) to report the accident and request police and medical assistance. If there are no immediate risks, you can report the accident to the police by calling 101.

Call The Emergency Services

Exchange Information

Communicate with other involved drivers and exchange contact and insurance details. Avoid apologising or admitting fault, as the determination of liability will be assessed by the police and insurance providers. Refrain from engaging in confrontations or assigning blame.

Gather Witness Information

Speak with any passengers or witnesses who observed the accident and get their contact details. Their statements may be valuable during the claims process.

Document the Scene

Capture photographs of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you or your passengers sustained. Note down the driving conditions, date, and time of the accident. This evidence can support your insurance claim.

Capture Photographs Of The Damage To Your Vehicle

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Notify your insurance company promptly at the scene or as soon as possible after the accident. Failing to report an accident to your insurer may result in policy invalidation. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident.

Remember, staying calm and following these steps can help ensure your safety and facilitate the insurance claims process.

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What details to exchange after an accident

After an accident, it’s crucial to gather the necessary details for insurance purposes. Here’s a list of information to exchange:

Vehicle Information

Registration number, make, model, and colour of the other vehicle(s) involved.

Driver Information

  • Name, address, and phone number of the other driver(s) involved.
  • Driving licence number of anyone involved.

Insurance Details

Insurance information of the other driver(s) involved. It is illegal to drive without car insurance in the UK, so ensure the other driver(s) are properly insured. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, notify the police.


Get the contact information from any witnesses present at the scene.

Time and Date

Note the exact time and date of the accident.

Owner Information

If the driver of the other vehicle is not the registered owner (e.g., company car or borrowed vehicle), ask for the owner’s name and contact details.

In cases where you hit a parked vehicle and cannot identify the owner or leave your details, report the incident by calling 101, the non-emergency police number.

Remember, honesty is crucial. Failing to stop after an accident can lead to legal consequences. While it’s important to prioritise everyone’s well-being, having the necessary information will be helpful when making an insurance claim. Keep a checklist handy to ensure you gather all the required details.

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What other details should I record at the scene of a car accident?

In addition to exchanging details, there are other important details to record at the scene of a car accident:

Take Photos

Capture photos of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, damages, and any visible injuries. These photos can serve as evidence for your insurance claim and help refresh your memory later.

Notes and Sketch

Take notes on your phone, or use a pen and paper, to document important details. This can include a description of what happened, the sequence of events, and any relevant information provided by the other party involved.

Consider creating a sketch that shows the position of the vehicles, traffic signs, and any other relevant features at the scene. This can provide a visual representation of the accident.

Driving Conditions

Make a note of the driving conditions at the time of the accident. This includes factors such as the condition of the road, lighting conditions, and weather. Any unusual or relevant observations can be crucial information.

Driving Conditions At The Time Of The Accident

Witness Details

Gather contact details from any witnesses present at the scene. Their statements may be valuable in determining liability or providing additional information about the accident.

Police Report

If the police were called to the scene, record the details of the attending officer(s) and obtain the report number. This can be useful for insurance purposes and future reference.

Remember, accidents can be overwhelming, and it’s normal to forget certain details. By taking photos, making notes, and collecting witness information, you’ll have a more comprehensive record of the incident.

These details can support your insurance claim and help ensure an accurate account of the accident.

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Report the accident to the police

In the event of a motoring accident, it is important to report the incident to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so may result in fines, penalty points on your driving licence, or even disqualification.

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When should you call the police on 999 at the scene of an accident


If anyone involved in the accident has sustained injuries, it is crucial to call the police and request an ambulance if necessary. The safety and well-being of those involved should be the top priority.

Road Obstructions

If the accident has caused vehicles or debris to obstruct the road, it is important to inform the police. This will help ensure the safety of other road users and facilitate the removal of any obstacles.

Uninsured Drivers

If any of the other drivers involved in the accident are uninsured, it is necessary to involve the police. Driving without insurance is against the law, and the police can handle the situation appropriately.

Invalid Driving Licence

If you suspect that any of the other drivers involved do not possess a valid driving licence, it is important to report this to the police. Driving without a valid licence is an offence that requires police intervention.

Impaired Driving

If you believe that any of the other drivers involved are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is essential to involve the police. Impaired driving poses a serious risk to everyone on the road.

Aggressive or Threatening Behaviour

If any of the drivers involved in the accident exhibit aggressive or threatening behaviour, it is important to call the police. Your safety and the safety of others should be protected.

Suspected Deliberate Accident

If you suspect that another driver intentionally caused the accident as part of a “cash for crash” scam, where fraudulent insurance claims are made, it is crucial to involve the police. This type of behaviour is illegal and should be reported.

When can you report the incident on the non-emergency helpline?

If the situation does not require an immediate emergency response, you can report the accident to the police on the non-emergency helpline by calling 101. This can be done at the scene of the accident or within 24 hours.

Reporting the accident to the police ensures that the appropriate authorities are aware of the incident and can take any necessary actions. It is important to prioritise safety, follow legal requirements, and provide accurate information when reporting an accident to the police.

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Contact your insurance provider

After ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone involved in an accident, it’s important to prioritise contacting your insurance provider. While it may not be your immediate concern, notifying your insurer is crucial for the claims process and to ensure your policy remains valid. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Prompt Reporting

Notify your insurance provider about the accident within a reasonable timeframe, as specified in your policy documents. This time frame can vary between insurance providers, typically ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Failing to report the accident within the specified timeframe may invalidate any future claim you make. It’s important not to delay reporting the accident to avoid potential complications or claim rejection.

Even If Not Making a Claim

Even if you don’t intend to make a claim, it’s still important to inform your insurance provider about the accident. Some policies require reporting of all incidents, regardless of claim intention. Be sure to understand your policy’s requirements to ensure compliance.

Repair Considerations

Before having your car repaired, consult with your insurance provider. They may have specific instructions, such as using an approved garage, to ensure your claim remains valid.

Taking your car to a non-approved garage without prior authorisation may jeopardise your claim. Additionally, depending on your policy, you may be eligible for a courtesy car during the repair process. Discuss these details with your insurer to understand your options.

Claims Process

If you decide to make a claim, your insurance provider will guide you through the next steps. Familiarise yourself with the claims process outlined in your policy, as it may vary among providers. Following your insurer’s instructions will help streamline the claims process and ensure you have all the necessary information and documentation.

Remember, timely communication with your insurance provider is essential after an accident, even if you don’t plan to make a claim. Reporting the incident promptly and following your insurer’s guidelines will help facilitate a smooth claims process and ensure compliance with your policy terms.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, it is essential to stop after a car accident, regardless of fault. Failing to stop and provide your details is an offence under the Road Traffic Act, and there are certain conditions that require you to stop, including:

  • Injury to a person: If anyone has been injured as a result of the accident, it is crucial to stop and provide necessary assistance. In some cases, contacting emergency services such as an ambulance may be necessary.

  • Vehicle or property damage: If there is damage to another vehicle or property, stopping and exchanging details with the other party involved is essential. This includes collisions with stationary vehicles or damage to buildings, fences, or other structures.

  • Animal collisions: If you hit certain animals such as dogs or farm animals, it is important to stop and report the incident. This is necessary to ensure the well-being of the animal and potentially inform the owner.

  • Damage to street signs or bollards: If you cause damage to any street signs or bollards, stopping and reporting the incident is required. This helps to maintain road safety and ensure necessary repairs are made.

Failing to stop after an accident can result in serious consequences. If found guilty in a magistrate’s court, you could face penalties including 5-10 points on your license, a fine of up to £5,000, and even imprisonment for up to six months.

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It is important to abide by the law and take responsibility in the event of a car accident, regardless of fault.

When reporting an accident to your insurance provider, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your policy number and personal details: This includes your name, address, and contact information. Providing your policy number helps to identify your specific insurance coverage.

  • Details of the other driver(s) involved: Provide the names, contact details, and addresses of the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This information is necessary for your insurance provider to communicate with them if needed.

  • Vehicle registration numbers: Provide the registration numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident. This helps to identify the vehicles and ensure accurate documentation of the incident.

  • Other driver’s insurance details: If available, provide the insurance details of the other driver(s) involved. This includes the name of their insurance company and policy number. It helps facilitate communication between the insurance providers and ensures a smooth claims process.

  • Comprehensive accident details: Provide a detailed account of the accident, including the date, time, and location. Describe the sequence of events leading to the accident, the road conditions, weather conditions, and any other relevant details. If there were any witnesses, provide their contact information as well.

  • Photos and evidence: If possible, include any photos or evidence related to the accident. This can include pictures of the vehicles involved, the accident scene, and any visible damages or injuries. These visual records can support your claim or provide evidence in case of disputes.

It is important to provide your insurance provider with accurate and complete information about the accident. This ensures that they have all the necessary details to assess the claim, determine liability, and guide you through the claims process effectively.

If you or any of your passengers have sustained serious injuries in a car accident, it is crucial to call an ambulance or proceed to the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department immediately. Prompt medical attention is necessary to ensure proper care and treatment for serious injuries.

Even if you believe your injuries are minor or you are experiencing any discomfort or pain following the accident, it is advisable to visit your General Practitioner (GP) for an evaluation.

Sometimes, seemingly minor injuries can have underlying complications or develop into more serious conditions. Your GP can assess your condition and provide necessary guidance or referrals for further medical examinations or treatments.

It’s important to note that certain car accident injuries, such as whiplash, may not manifest immediate symptoms and could take hours or even days to become apparent. Therefore, even if you initially feel fine, it’s essential to monitor your condition and seek medical attention if any symptoms arise.

If you plan to file an insurance claim related to the accident, obtaining medical reports from your healthcare provider is crucial. These reports can serve as documentation of your injuries and their impact on your well-being. Submitting these reports to your insurance provider can support your claim and ensure a thorough assessment of your damages and compensation.

Remember, the well-being of yourself and your passengers should always be the top priority after a car accident. Seeking appropriate medical care and advice is vital to ensure your health and safety in the aftermath of the incident.

Crash for cash scams involves fraudulent activities where a driver purposely causes a car accident to make a fraudulent insurance claim. These scams can take various forms, such as the scammer abruptly braking to force a rear-end collision or intentionally colliding with your vehicle after signalling you to proceed at a junction.

If you suspect that you have become a victim of a crash for cash scam, it is important to take appropriate action. First, you should contact the police and request their presence at the scene of the incident. They can investigate the situation and gather evidence.

It is also advisable to document the scene yourself by taking photographs and detailed notes to support your case. These records can help refute any false claims made by the scammer, as they often exaggerate the circumstances to increase their potential payout.

To reduce the likelihood of being targeted by a crash for cash scam, there are preventive measures you can take:

  • Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, allowing ample time to react and avoid sudden braking situations.
  • Remain cautious of erratic driving behaviour, such as unnecessary braking, and give these vehicles a wide berth to ensure your safety.
  • Exercise extra caution when encountering vehicles without functioning brake lights, as their sudden stops may be intentional.
  • Be vigilant when merging at junctions and roundabouts, ensuring that other drivers are following the rules of the road.
  • Consider installing a dash cam in your vehicle. Dash cams can record incidents and provide valuable evidence in case of a crash for cash scam or any other type of accident.

By adopting these precautions, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to crash for cash scams and ensure a safer driving experience.

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