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How To Report A Car Accident? – A Complete Guide

How And When To Report A Car Accident In The UK

By Cat Soong. Updated 26th April 2022. If you’re involved in a road traffic accident, you might not know when you need to report the incident or who you have to report it to. Do you need to contact the police? Do you need to tell the insurer? It can all be quite confusing. Therefore, in this guide, we’ll aim to clear up the confusion about when and how to report a car accident.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 includes a section on the duty of a driver to stop, report the accident and give information or documents, so we’ll review that later in the guide. We’ll also look at your right to claim compensation for injuries sustained in an accident if another road user was to blame (or you were only partially to blame). To make things clearer, we’ll also review the types of accidents you have to report, how to report a car accident, and when you need to contact the police.

How to report a car accident guide

How to report a car accident guide

Legal Expert can help you claim for injuries sustained in a road accident on a No Win No Fee basis. We begin by offering a no-strings-attached assessment of your claim. Our advisors can provide free legal advice and more information regarding when and how to report a car crash.

If you’d like to begin a claim right away, please contact our team on 0800 073 8804 today. Otherwise, please continue reading for advice on when you need to file a car accident report.

Select A Section

  1. A Guide On How To Report A Car Accident
  2. What Is A Car Accident?
  3. Are Drivers Legally Required To Stop After A Car Accident?
  4. When Do You Have To Report An Accident To The Police?
  5. How And When To Report A Non-Stop, Damage Only Collision
  6. Who Do I Report A Car Accident To?
  7. How And When To Report Car Accidents To The MIB
  8. What To Do After A Car Accident
  9. Car Accident Compensation Claims Calculator
  10. Special Damages Car Accident Victims Could Claim
  11. No Win No Fee Claims For Car Accidents
  12. Why Choose Our Team For A Personal Injury Claim
  13. Start A Car Accident Compensation Claim
  14. Essential References

A Guide On How To Report A Car Accident

In this guide, we’re going to explain how to report a car accident in different scenarios. We’ll look at whether there’s a legal obligation to stop after a road accident, when you need to contact the police and when you need to provide your details to other drivers involved in the accident.

As well as explaining how to report a car accident, we’ll explain your rights to seeking compensation for any damage or injuries sustained in the accident if it was caused by the negligence of another road user. Furthermore, we’ll look at claiming when the other driver doesn’t stop or is uninsured.

One important factor to consider is the personal injury claims time limit. This is a limitation period, set in law, that means if you fail to claim on time, you will lose the right to do so and could miss out on any compensation you’re entitled to. In most cases, for adults, the time limit for claiming is 3-years from the date of the accident. While that seems like a long period, your solicitor will need time to gather evidence, prepare reports and liaise with medical experts. Therefore, the sooner you start your claim the better.

If a child is injured in a car accident, then a parent or responsible adult can claim on their behalf at any point before they turn 18-years old. If they don’t, the victim has 3-years to make their own claim from the date of their 18th birthday.

If you would like to discuss how Legal Helpline could help you claim compensation following a car accident, please contact an advisor today. Our advice is free and you’re under no obligation to proceed.

What Is A Car Accident?

This guide is all about reporting car accidents. That could be:

  • A single-car accident, such as a collision with a tree.
  • Accidents involving two vehicles, such as a rear-end collision.
  • Accidents involving multiple vehicles.
  • Or accidents involving a vehicle and a pedestrian.

Essentially, when considering the reporting of an accident, we’re looking at any form of accident involving a motor vehicle whether injuries were sustained or not.

For accidents that lead to personal injury claims, the criteria are different. You’ll need to show that:

  • An accident occurred
  • It happened because of another road user’s negligence.
  • And that you suffered injuries as a result of the accident.

There are many different types of injuries which could be claimed for following an accident such as:

  • Broken bones.
  • Head injuries.
  • Back injuries.
  • Neck injuries such as whiplash.
  • Cuts and bruises.
  • Lacerations and soft tissue injuries.

To discuss claiming for an accident in which you suffered any type of injury, please contact a member of our team today. Our advisors can tell you more about how to report a car crash and can provide more information on how to proceed with your claim.

Statistics – Car Accidents And Safety

The table below shows the different types of injuries caused by road traffic accidents in 2018. The information comes from statistics provided by the Department for Transport.

Severity Of CasualtyRate Of Injuries Reported
Fatal injuries1,782
Serious injuries25,484
Total casualties160,378
Total number of vehicle miles255 billion

Are Drivers Legally Required To Stop After A Car Accident?

This is a fairly common question that many people ask following an accident and the answer is ‘yes’ in certain circumstances. According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 171, a driver must stop if:

  • An injury is sustained by anybody other than the driver.
  • Damage is caused to any vehicle other than their own.
  • Any animal (cattle, horse, dog, sheep, pig or goat) is injured.
  • Or damage to any property is caused by the accident.

The Act states that the driver must stop and provide their name and address and details of their vehicle to anybody who reasonably requires it.

When Do You Have To Report An Accident To The Police?

There are many scenarios where you must report a car accident to the police. These include:

  • Where somebody else has been injured.
  • If you’re blocking the road.
  • When you believe you’ve been the victim of a crash for cash scam.
  • If you believe the other driver is affected by drink or drugs.
  • If you’ve damaged somebody else’s property i.e. a parked vehicle or a wall.

How To Report An Accident To The Police

Following a crash, you may wonder how to report an accident to the police. In emergencies, you’ll need to contact the police on 999. But in others where nobody has been injured, you could make contact using the 101 non-emergency services.

In cases involving injuries or damage to a vehicle, you must report your car crash to the police within 24-hours if no details have been exchanged at the time of the accident.

How And When To Report A Non-Stop, Damage Only Collision

According to one police force, you only have to report non-stop collisions where damage was caused but nobody was injured if:

  • You know the registration number of the vehicle that failed to stop.
  • There may be CCTV footage covering the collision scene.
  • There are independent witnesses who can provide the vehicle registration of the vehicle involved.

There’s no requirement to report the collision if no damage was caused, you’ve swapped insurance details with the other driver or if the collision happened on private property. For more information on when and how to report an accident to the police, contact our advisors today. They can offer more guidance on how to strengthen your claim.

Who Do I Report A Car Accident To?

It can be difficult to know who to report a car crash to, but reporting your car crash to the correct authorities can have a big impact on your claim.  Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that you must report a car accident that has caused damage or injury to a police constable within 24-hours if details are not exchanged. This can be in person at a police station or via the 101 non-emergency services.

As well as informing the police, you are obliged to provide any details to anybody who has reasonable grounds for requesting them. This could include another driver or somebody whose property has been damaged by the accident.

Finally, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend to make a claim. That’s because the other driver might claim against you so your insurance company must be made aware of the collision.

How And When To Repot Car Accidents To The MIB

You might think that if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident or if the other driver is uninsured, then you’d have to claim through your own insurer. However, there is another method of claiming in these scenarios – the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).

Claims through the MIB could mean that you won’t lose your no-claims bonus by claiming against your own policy which could have a big impact on future insurance prices.

The MIB is a scheme run by the insurance industry. According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, all insurers have to be a member of the MIB and help fund it. This ultimately means that law-abiding drivers have an amount added to their premium to fund the scheme.

Our solicitors can help you provide the evidence required by the MIB to claim against their scheme. We can help you claim against uninsured drivers, untraced drivers and even drivers from abroad.

You should try to gather as much evidence about the other vehicle involved where possible. Try to write down the vehicle make, model and colour, and its registration number where possible. Also, record the date and time the accident occurred. The MIB will also require a police reference number so please remember to report the accident to the police as soon as possible.

What To Do After A Car Accident

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, here are the steps you should take:

  • Stop the car and turn off your engine. Failure to do so is an offense.
  • Assess whether you or anybody in your vehicle is injured.
  • Assess whether anybody else involved in the accident is injured.
  • Move to a safe place if you can’t move your car safely.
  • Call 999 and arrange an ambulance for anybody who needs one.
  • If anybody has been injured or if a vehicle is obstructing the highway, call the police.
  • Exchange personal and insurance details of anybody else involved. It’s advisable not to admit liability for the accident or to apologise. Your legal position may be affected if you do.

If you’re able to, and it’s safe to do so, we’d advise you try to collect evidence such as:

  • Photographs of the accident scene (before vehicles are moved if possible).
  • Details of any witnesses.
  • Dashcam footage if any is obtainable.
  • Details of any police officer who attended the scene.

Later on, you could also ask for copies of any medical records from A&E or your GP to help prove what injuries were sustained and the treatment you received.

Car Accident Compensation Claims Calculator

The first part of a car accident claim is known as general damages. That’s the compensation that is designed to cover any pain, suffering or loss of amenity. Rather than using a personal injury claims calculator, we’ve used the table below to show how much compensation might be paid for some common injuries sustained in a car accident. The figures in this table are based on guidelines issued by the Judicial College, a legal body that reviews compensation awards made by the courts. 

NeckSevere£42,680 to £52,540Chronic conditions caused by fractures, dislocations or ruptured tendons and lead to a permanent significant disability.
Neck Minor£4,080 to £7,410Injuries to the soft tissue in the neck, such as whiplash injuries, which recover fully within one to two years and where no surgery is required.
BackModerate£26,050 to £36,390This compensation bracket covers injuries including crush fractures of the lumbar vertebrae or damage to an intervertebral disc with nerve irritation leading to decreased mobility.
ShoulderModerate£7,410 to £11,980Injuries which cause limited movement in the shoulder and discomfort, such as frozen shoulder, where symptoms last for around 2-years.
ArmsSerious£36,770 to £56,180Serious fractures to either one or both of the forearms leading to some form of permanent significant disability.
WristMinor£3,310 to £4,450Minimally displaced or very minor displaced fractures of the wrist which require a plaster cast or bandaging for some weeks but where full recovery takes place in around 12-months.
LegFracture£8,550 to £13,210This compensation bracket covers simple fractures of the femur bone with no damage to the articular surfaces.
AnkleModerate£12,900 to £24,950Ligament tears or fractures which cause less serious disabilities such as struggling to cope with stairs, difficulty walking for long periods or difficulty walking on uneven ground.

Compensation is determined by the severity of each injury. Therefore, as part of the claims process, our solicitors will arrange for you to attend a local medical assessment. The specialist who assesses you will review your injuries and ask several questions. Following the appointment, they’ll produce a report that shows what injuries were sustained, how you were affected and if you’ll suffer any long-term symptoms.

Extra Payouts For Road Accident Claims

Alongside your general damages, you may also be able to claim special damages. These cover the expenses you may face as a result of your injuries– For example, you may be unable to work following your accident. In this case, you may be able to claim back any future earnings you may have lost as a result of your injuries. We’ll provide more information on special damages in the following section.

The JCG can only provide guideline compensation brackets. For a free estimation of what your claim could be worth, and more information on extra payouts for road accident claims, contact our team of advisors today.

Special Damages Car Accident Victims Could Claim

On top of the general damages element of your claim, you can also seek to claim any expenses or costs linked to your injuries. This is known as a special damages claim. There are many different parts to a special damages claim including:

  • Care Costs.
    If your injuries mean you need a carer while you recover (or longer-term), then their fees could be claimed back. If a member of your family looks after you then an hourly rate for their time could be calculated and claimed back too.
  • Medical Expenses.
    While the NHS will usually treat any injuries for free, you might incur costs for prescriptions, medication such as paracetamol or other treatments not provided by the NHS. If that’s the case, you could claim for these costs too.
  • Travel-related Costs.
    If you’re unable to drive while recovering from your injuries, you could claim for the cost of alternative travel arrangements. You could also claim for fuel and parking costs linked to visits to A&E, your GP or the pharmacy.
  • Property Damage.
    You could also ask for any item of damaged personal property to be replaced.
  • Lost Income.
    When you need to take time away from work for medical appointments or to recover, you might be out of pocket if your employer doesn’t pay full sick pay. Therefore, you could ask for these losses back.
  • Future Lost Earnings.
    For longer-term injuries which affect your ability to work, you could ask for future lost earnings to be paid. The amount you’ll receive will be based on how you’ve been affected, your age, salary and job prospects.

You’ll need to prove your expenditures when it comes to recovering special damages. Therefore, we’d recommend that any receipts, wage slips or bank statements are retained to help substantiate your claim.

No Win No Fee Claims For Car Accidents

We understand how stressful compensation claims can be, especially in relation to the costs involved. Therefore, to reduce the amount of financial risk and stress involved with claiming, our solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service for any claim they take on.

Some of the most important benefits of No Win No Fee agreements include:

  • No upfront fees are payable which allows your claim to start straight away.
  • There are no solicitor’s fees payable while your claim progresses.
  • If the claim is lost, you don’t have to cover the solicitor’s fees at all.

Our solicitors can offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA will explain that if your solicitor wins your case, they’ll keep a small percentage of your compensation known as a success fee. This is used to cover their costs and is legally capped so you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Also, for peace of mind, the percentage you’ll pay will be listed in your CFA from the start.

To find out if we could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, please speak with an advisor today.

Why Choose Our Team For A Personal Injury Claim

We hope that you’re now considering using Legal Expert to help you make your personal injury claim. Here is a bit more information about how we could support your claim:

  • We provide free legal advice about your options as well as a no strings attached assessment of your claim.
  • Our team of solicitors has over 30-years’ experience handling personal injury claims.
  • During your claim, you’ll receive regular updates as things progress.
  • Your solicitor will be on hand throughout the claim to answer any queries you raise and to explain any complex legal jargon that crops up.
  • They’ll also work tirelessly for you to try and make sure you receive the correct amount of compensation for your injuries.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about how to report a car accident or how we could help you, please call an advisor today.

Start A Car Accident Compensation Claim

You’ve now come to the end of this guide about how to report a car accident. We hope the information has been useful and you now know what to do following a car accident. If you’d like to make a claim using Legal Expert, here are the best methods of contacting us:

You can begin your claim 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. The process will begin with a no-obligation assessment of your claim. An advisor will listen to what’s happened and review any evidence. If there’s a chance of success, they’ll refer you to one of our specialist personal injury lawyers. As mentioned earlier, any claim they take on will be conducted on a No Win No Fee basis.

Essential References

Thanks for reading this guide about how to report a car accident. We’ve provided some further information for you in the form of more guides and links to external resources below. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please contact a member of our team.

No Insurance Accident Claims – Advice on claiming following a road traffic accident when one of the parties involved doesn’t have insurance.

Drink Driving Injury Claims – Guidance on how to report a car accident to the police and to make a claim if the other driver was drink driving.

Passenger Accident Claims – Information on when passengers could claim compensation following an accident on the road.

Whiplash Information – A detailed look at the causes, symptoms and the treatment of whiplash injuries.

The Highway Code – The safety rules which govern the use of roads for all.

Broken Bones – Advice from the NHS on how to tell if you’ve broken a bone which is a common injury following a road traffic accident.

Further Related Articles

Guide by Hambridge

Edited by Billing

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