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How To Report A Car Accident – A Complete Guide

By Cat Way. Last Updated 27th September 2023. 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.

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.

How to report a car accident

How to report a car accident guide

Select A Section

  1. When Could I Claim For A Car Accident?
  2. Reporting A Car Accident To The Police
  3. Who Do I Report A Car Accident To?
  4. How And When To Report Car Accidents To The MIB
  5. Car Accident Compensation Claims Calculator
  6. Special Damages Car Accident Victims Could Claim
  7. Car Accident Injury Claims With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  8. Essential References

When Could I Claim For A Car Accident?

In order to make any kind of personal injury claim, including a road traffic accident claim, you have to be able to prove that:

  • Another party, such as a road user owed you a duty of care
  • They breached this duty
  • You were harmed as a result

All road users owe each other a duty of care to navigate the roads in a way that prevents themselves or others to experience harm or damage. To uphold this duty of care, road users must adhere to the  If another road user breaches the duty of care they owe you, and this causes an accident that injures you, you may be able to make a claim.

If you are involved in an accident that causes damage or harm, you are legally required to report the crash to the police within twenty-four hours, if you haven’t given your details at the time of the accident. You must also report the crash to your insurance company.

Later on in this article, we’ll discuss how to report a hit and run and make a claim against an untraceable or uninsured driver. If you’d like to learn more about claiming, contact our team of advisors. They can evaluate your claim for free, and may be able to connect you with a solicitor.

Reporting A Car Accident To The Police

If you’re wondering whether you need to complete a road traffic accident report to the police, it depends on the circumstances of the incident. If you’re involved in an accident that results in personal injury or damage to property, then you need to exchange insurance details with the other driver. If you can’t do this, for example, because they flee the scene, then this should be reported to the police within 24 hours.

Reporting a car accident to the police might also be necessary in other circumstances. For example, you may want to report it if:

  • The road is blocked because of the accident
  • You suspect that the other driver is drunk or on drugs
  • If you suspect that the other driver caused the crash on purpose

We can provide further guidance on how you should complete local accident reports for car accidents. Contact us to find out more.

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.

Reporting A Hit And Run – Can I Claim?

As we have said, you could still be able to claim compensation for injuries caused in a hit and run by claiming through the MIB.

A claim through the MIB works in a similar manner to a regular claim. You will be required to present evidence to the MIB that shows that you were injured due to negligence.

Reporting a hit and run can help you claim this way. A police report of the hit and run can act as supporting evidence in your claim.

There are certain situations where reporting a car accident will be a legal responsibility, such as if the accident causes a blockage in the road or you believe the collision was purposeful.

Please get in touch with our advisers for any more questions you may have about claiming for a hit and run, or whether you will be required to report the crash to the police.

Car Accident Compensation Claims Calculator

This section includes a table that should give you an idea of how much your general damages payment could be worth. This is the part of your settlement that is awarded to reflect how much pain and suffering your injuries have caused you.

The figures in the table below have been taken from the latest edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The amounts, whilst only guidelines, can vary depending on the extent of your injuries. Factors such as how long it takes you to recover, for example, are taken into account. Legal professionals use the JCG, amongst other resources, to aid them in their calculations regarding how much you should receive in general damages.

ArmsInjuries Resulting In Permanent And Substantial Disablement£39,170 to £59,860Serious fractures to either one or both of the forearms leading to some form of permanent significant disability.
NeckSevere (iii)£45,470 to £55,990Chronic conditions caused by fractures, dislocations or ruptured tendons and lead to a permanent significant disability.
Neck Minor (i)£4,350 to £7,890Injuries 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 (i)£27,760 to £38,780This compensation bracket covers injuries including crush fractures of the lumbar vertebrae or damage to an intervertebral disc with nerve irritation leading to decreased mobility.
AnkleModerate£13,740 to £26,590Ligament 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.
LegLess Serious (ii)£9,110 to £14,080This compensation bracket covers simple fractures of the femur bone with no damage to the articular surfaces.
ShoulderModerate£7,890 to £12,770Injuries which cause limited movement in the shoulder and discomfort, such as frozen shoulder, where symptoms last for around 2-years.
WristVery Minor (f)£3,530 to £4,740Minimally 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.

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.

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.

Car Accident Injury Claims With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

If you have a valid personal injury claim to make after reporting a crash in a car that harmed you, then you could seek help from a solicitor. If you speak to our advisors, they may connect you with our No Win No Fee solicitors that have experience with car accident claims.

Furthermore, they may offer to represent your claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement. Under this agreement, you won’t be required to pay any upfront or ongoing fees for their services. You also won’t need to pay your solicitor for their services if your claim is unsuccessful.

If your claim is successful, then the solicitor who supported your claim can take a legally capped percentage from the compensation awarded to you. This is referred to as a success fee.

To learn more about making a personal injury claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor after you report a car accident, contact our advisors. They can provide free advice about your potential claim. You can reach them by:

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.

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.

We also have some other guides on car accident claims that you may find useful:

Guide by Hambridge

Edited by Billing

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.