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What you should do if you’re in a road traffic accident

Nobody likes the thought of it, but unfortunately, road traffic accidents do happen.

With more and more vehicles on the roads, it’s important that you know what to do should you be a part of one.

Thankfully there are a few tips that can help you stop a very bad situation from getting worse in the aftermath of an accident.

Before we discuss what to do after you’ve had an accident, let’s take a look at some of the common causes of accidents and some of the potential claims that can be brought.

Common causes


Road traffic accidents that happen as a result of negligence can occur for a variety of reasons that include but are not exclusive to eating or drinking whilst operating a vehicle, changing the music in a car, using a mobile phone, to alcohol or drug consumption whilst driving.


Driving with little or no concern for other vehicles on the road is another common cause of road accidents. Speeding is possibly the most common act of reckless driving seen on the roads and can cause a variety of issues and injuries including catastrophic injuries.

Poor road maintenance

Potholes, cracks in the road, construction work, faulty traffic lights and generally poor quality roads can all be causes of accidents, and therefore be claimed for.

Car malfunction

Whilst it may not be one of the most common causes of road traffic accidents, incidents of car or vehicle malfunction do still occur. These can be as a result of poor maintenance, incorrect procedures from mechanics, amongst other reasons.

Common malfunctions include brake failure, burst tyres, or steering wheel malfunction.

What to do if you’re in a road traffic accident

Now that some of the more common causes of accidents have been highlighted, it’s important that you know how to deal with an accident should one occur, and how you can help your case should you be eligible to make a claim.

Even though accidents are often shrouded in confusion, there are still basic principles that you can follow.


This may sound obvious, but no matter how minor you think a collision may be, it’s important that you stop. Failing to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act.

Also, once you have stopped, switch off your engine and switch on your hazard lights to alert other road users that you are stationary.

Call the emergency services

If the accident you are involved in causes serious damage or injury then you must call 999 immediately and ask for the police (and ambulance if necessary).

You should also call the police in the event that your vehicle is obstructing the road for other drivers, or if you suspect the accident was as a result of another road user’s negligence.

Using a dash cam can help your case, as it will show video evidence of any wrongdoing, and can also record the registration of any vehicle that may not stop after an accident.

Always give/get the details

Once you’ve brought your vehicle to a standstill, it’s important that you exchange details with the person that has collided with you.

You should also leave your details if you crash into something stationary even if it doesn’t involve any other people, for example, if you crash into a parked car, you should leave your details on the windscreen.

You also have an obligation to report the accident to the police within 24 hours, or you could risk receiving a fine, penalty points, or even be disqualified from driving.

Key info you need

Following a road traffic accident, there are a few key details you should make a note of.

These include:

  • The registration number of all vehicles involved plus the vehicle’s make, model and colour.
    The time and date of the accident.
  • A description of the weather conditions.
  • Anything irregular about the road quality or lighting.
  • A list of any damage caused to vehicles or property, as well as any injuries to anyone that may have been involved.
  • Contact of any witnesses that agree to support your claim.

You may also find it useful to take photos of the accident aftermath in case you need to use them as evidence.

What to do after an accident

Contact your insurer

Once the dust has settled after your accident, it’s pivotal that you contact your insurer as soon as you can.

This is vital as some policies may be invalidated should you fail to report the accident within the specified time period set out in your insurance policy.

Share information

When you contact your insurer, the notes you took at the scene of the accident will be needed.

If the accident involved another vehicle you should do your best to provide the insurer with the details of the other driver.

If possible you should provide them with the other driver’s name, address and contact details, their vehicle registration number and their vehicle insurance company details.

This should help the claims process run much smoother.

You should also share as much information about the accident itself with your insurer.

If you took any photos at the scene then these should be included in your initial contact with your insurance company.

You should also share any contact details of any witnesses who were at the scene of the accident who agree to support your claim.

Being involved in a road accident is traumatic enough without having the added stress and uncertainty about the cost of pursuing a road traffic accident compensation claim for your injuries.

Our team of personal injury solicitors are committed to you and your road accident claim.

Our specialist no win – no fee solicitors have a great deal of experience in dealing with road accident injury claims and will guide you every step of the way.

We offer a free initial interview in order to review your specific circumstances and assess the viability of your personal injury claim.

To speak to one of our specialist team call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1979 345, or complete our simple enquiry form and we can call you back at a time to suit you.