What To Do If You Have A Car Accident – Advice & Compensation Claim Guidance

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What To Do If You Have A Car Accident

By Jo Greenwood. Last updated 6th July 2023. In this guide, we look at what to do if you have a car accident.

If you have been involved or injured in a car accident, there are specific things you must do as soon as feasibly possible. Whether you were the driver, passenger or pedestrian injured in a car accident, you might be able to seek compensation providing you can show you were not responsible or you were only partly liable.

what to do if you have a car accident

What to do if you have a car accident

To find out more about what to do if you’re injured in an accident, what evidence should be gathered to strengthen a personal injury claim, and how we can assist you in pursuing a claim, please contact us on 0800 073 8804.

For more information on what to do if injured in a car accident, whether you were at fault or because of the negligence of another party, please click on the sections below:

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What Is A Car Accident?

You could be injured in a car accident in a number of ways, whether in a collision with another vehicle or road user. You could be involved in an incident where the car behind crashes into you, or you may have a blowout and lose control of the vehicle you are driving. Whatever the cause or reason for a car crash, if you suffer any sort of injury, you may be entitled to seek compensation whether you were totally at fault or partially responsible for the accident.

When it comes to the sort of injuries commonly sustained in a car crash, this typically includes the following:

  • Whiplash
  • Head injuries
  • Broken ribs
  • Fractures
  • Trauma to the knee
  • Injuries to hands
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Internal bleeding

To learn more about what to do if you have a car accident, please read the rest of this guide.

Driver And Vehicle Safety Technology

Car accidents can happen when you least expect them. Whether you have a blow-out and as a consequence, you cause an accident, or because another vehicle is at fault. You may only have a minor bump, but this may still mean you experience shock. Today, there is a tremendous amount of car safety technology out there, all of which help reduce the risks of car crashes happening.

A lot of motor insurance providers offer lower premiums if vehicles are fitted with specific types of safety technology. Many vehicles now have visual and audible sensors to assist drivers when manoeuvring in tighter spaces. Some cars have automatic parallel parking features. It is always worth checking with an insurer as to whether having any safety technology would reduce a premium.

Vehicles may be fitted with the following:

  • AEB – autonomous emergency braking
  • Dashboard cameras
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • eCall

No matter how careful you are on the road, accidents happen whether it is your fault or not. If you suffer an injury in a car crash, you could seek compensation from the party responsible. If you contributed to the incident occurring, you should still speak to one of our advisers. The reason being that although you may be partially at fault, you could still seek compensation for the damage and injuries you suffered.

We would walk you through the process of making a personal injury claim once we have established your case is valid. We would determine this in a free, no-obligation consultation. During this consultation, we can also look at what to do if you have a car accident. 

Making Whiplash Injury Claims – What Is The Whiplash Reform Programme?

The process of making certain low-value injury claims in England and Wales has changed. This is because of the Whiplash Reform Programme.

If you wish to claim for a whiplash injury or other soft tissue injury valued at £5,000 or less as the driver or passenger of a vehicle who is over the age of 18, you may have to take a different route than before.

Cases that fit the criteria above will be valued in line with a fixed tariff, found in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. However, if you suffer additional injuries not covered in the tariff, these will be valued in the traditional way.

If you aren’t sure which path to take when making your claim, you can contact our advisors. They will be able to answer your questions and provide you with guidance.

Always Stop After An Accident

It is a legal requirement for all drivers involved in a car crash where parties are injured or damage has occurred, to stop at the scene. Failing to do so would be an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison. You can also receive 5-10 penalty points for failing to stop after an accident, depending on how severe the incident was. 

It is also a legal requirement to report an accident where people have suffered injuries/damage and to exchange details with all parties involved in a car crash.

Should you fail to stop following a car crash, or you do not exchange details, you are duty-bound to report the incident to the police as soon as it is feasibly possible. This should be within 24 hours of the car crash happening.

The law requires that you report the car accident at a police station, or you may report it to a police constable bearing in mind that just phoning the authorities would not typically be acceptable.

Failure to report a car crash ‘as soon as practicable’ within 24 hours could result in you being convicted of an offence. It ought to be noted that the court would determine what ‘as soon as practicable’ would apply.

Exchanging Vehicle And Insurance Details With Other Drivers

By law in the UK, you are legally obliged to exchange details if you are involved in a car crash in which someone suffers injuries and/or damage. Failure to do so would be an offence under the Road Traffic Act. However, you should never admit you may be responsible for a car crash; it is far wiser to limit what you say to any other parties involved in the incident.

What to do if you have a car accident is detailed below:

  • Give your details to other parties involved in the car accident. This means sharing your name and address if the car crash caused injury or damage to anyone
  • Get the details of the other parties involved in the car accident that caused anyone to be injured or damage was caused
  • Swap insurance details with all other parties involved (drivers)
  • Make sure you take note of the contact details of any witnesses to the car crash.
  • If possible, try to ascertain if the driver of the other vehicle is the ‘registered’ owner. If they are not, you should try to find out who is
  • Should the incident involve a foreign vehicle, you should note down the registration numbers of the lorry and trailer if a lorry is involved in the accident. If possible, get the name of the company that owns the lorry

What To Do If You Have A Car Accident

You might be curious about what to do if you have a car accident. There are steps you should take following a road accident that can improve your chances of being awarded personal injury compensation. For example, you should seek medical treatment first and foremost.

Additionally, we recommend collecting evidence that can prove that the defendant acted negligently. This includes proof of any injuries or harm you have sustained. The following could be helpful evidence for a road traffic accident claim:

  • Your medical records can confirm any diagnoses or treatment relating to your injuries.
  • CCTV footage or dashcam footage can prove who was at fault.
  • Photographs of any injuries you have suffered.
  • Contact details of any witnesses who can corroborate on your version of events.

Now that we’ve answered what to do when you have a car accident, you might be interested in knowing who you should notify about the incident. Continue reading to find out more. Alternatively, our advisors can answer your questions about the car accident claims process at any time.

Who To Contact After A Car Accident

Having been in a car accident, you must notify various parties if anyone was injured in the incident, which includes the ambulance service and the police. Below, we explain when to contact the various services and why this is essential.

When to Contact the Emergency Services

If you or another party involved in the car crash has sustained injuries, you must call the emergency services as soon as possible. Even if you think an injury may only be minor and this includes a slight knock to the head, it is essential that the injury is treated by a medical professional. This could be at the scene of the car crash, en-route to a hospital in an ambulance, or in the Accident and Emergency department. You should also contact the police if your car, or the other car involved, is blocking the road and you’re unable to move it. 

When to Report a Car Accident to the Police

You are legally required to report a car accident to the police if anyone involved is injured. Failure to report a car crash is an offence that is taken extremely seriously by the authorities. You must report the incident to the police within 24 hours. If you report it any later, you must show good reason for not having been able to do so within the required deadline.

It is also a legal requirement for all those involved in a car accident where people are injured to exchange details and again, failure to do so would be deemed an offence that carries financial penalties.

When to Contact Insurance Companies

Even if you are not intending to claim on your own insurance for any damage your vehicle sustained, you should report a car crash to your motor insurance provider within 24 hours of the incident occurring. However, it is always a good idea to check your policy to establish when an insurance provider needs to be told about a car crash.

When to Contact a Solicitor

If you feel that another party is not being honest about how the car accident happened because they are trying to lay the blame on you, the best course of action is to get in touch with a solicitor before doing anything else. This includes not admitting anything or hinting that you may have contributed to the car crash.

A solicitor would determine who could be held responsible and if it is felt that your case against the other party is strong, the solicitor would typically agree to represent you by offering No Win No Fee terms.

Now that we’ve established what to do if you have a car accident, our upcoming sections will look in closer detail at the compensation awards that could be applicable to your case. 

Car Accident Compensation Calculator (UK claims)

If you are wondering how much compensation you may be awarded, this would depend on several factors which include the severity of your injuries and damage sustained. We have provided a table using compensation amounts based on the Judicial College Guidelines which courts, solicitors and insurance providers use when establishing personal injury settlements.

Injury and severity Notes Value
Brain damage- very severe These will involve little, if any, evidence of meaningful response to environment, little or no language function, double incontinence and the need for full-time nursing care. £282,010 to £403,990
Brain damage – moderately severe The injuries will leave the victim seriously disabled, with a significant dependence on other people and may even require round the clock care. There may be limb paralysis, cognitive impairments, or even blindness. £219,070 to £282,010
Neck – severe (i) Potential paralysis with a long recovery, taking years in some cases. Little or no movement with possible headaches. In the region of
Neck – moderate (ii) Soft tissue injuries or disc lesions, leading to impaired mobility, recurring pain, stiffness with a possible need for surgery. £13,740 to
Knee – severe (i) erious knee injury where there has been disruption of the joint, the development of osteoarthritis, gross ligamentous damage, lengthy treatment, considerable pain and loss of function. £69,730 to £96,210
Knee- moderate (i) Injuries involving dislocation, torn cartilage or meniscus which results in minor instability. £14,840 to £26,190
Foot- very severe This bracket might include the traumatic amputation of the forefoot where there was a significant risk of the need for a full amputation and serious exacerbation of an existing back problem, or cases of the loss of a substantial portion of the heel so that mobility was grossly restricted. £83,960 to £109,650

Foot – severe include the traumatic amputation of the forefoot where there was a significant risk of the need for a full amputation and serious exacerbation of an existing back problem. £41,970 to £70,030
Whiplash Lasting longer than 18 months but nor more than 2 years. With associated minor psychological injuries. £4,345
Whiplash Lasting longer than 18 months but nor more than 2 years. Without associated minor psychological injuries. £4,215

Please note the amounts of compensation indicated in the table above are provided as a guideline only. For a more accurate idea of how much you may be awarded, please speak to a member of our team on 0800 073 8804.

Personal Injury Claim Special Damages

When you make a personal injury claim for compensation, the amount you may be awarded is divided into two parts. You would be awarded general damages for the injuries you suffered and special damages for all out of pocket expenses you paid out as a direct result of your injuries and damage incurred.

Special damages you may be able to claim would include the following:

  • Any medical costs which are not covered by the NHS. This includes the cost of prescriptions, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and any other treatment provided by a private medical professional
  • The cost of travelling to and from a hospital for treatment. This could include the cost of parking, whether you go there by car, train, bus or taxi
  • Care costs should you need help around the home for everyday chores
  • Any loss of income and future earnings
  • All other costs you can link to your injuries

For more information on what you may be able to claim back in special damages if you suffered an injury in a car crash, or for more general information on what to do if you have a car accident, please speak to a member of our team on 0800 073 8804.

No Win No Fee Claims For Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

Our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis when they take on claims for clients. This would involve assessing whether your case is valid, which would be determined in an initial consultation that is free of charge. You would be under no obligation to pursue a claim should you choose not to. We’re registered in England with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, so you know your claim is in safe hands. 

Once we have established there is enough evidence to prove that your claim for injuries sustained in a car crash was through the negligence of another party, you would be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement, also called a No Win No Fee Agreement.

A No Win No Fee contract establishes that the only time you pay for the services a solicitor provided is when you are compensated for the damage and injuries you suffered in a car accident. This is known as a ‘success fee’. There would be no upfront fee or ongoing fees to pay when you sign a No Win No Fee agreement. Should your case be unsuccessful, there would be no fee to pay the solicitor, taking away all the stress and worry of finding the money to pay for legal representation when you need it the most.

Start Your Claim

We hope this guide has shown you what to do if you have a car accident. If you feel ready to make a claim for injuries and damage sustained in a car accident, you can contact us on 0800 073 8804. An adviser is ready to take your call and assist you.

You can also contact us by email at the following address – info@legalexpert.co.uk. Or, you can use our online claim form.

Resources For Car Crash Victims

If you would like more in-depth information on reported car accidents and road casualties in the UK, please follow the link below:

More data of car crash casualties in Great Britain

If you were involved and injured in a car accident and would like further details about contributory negligence, please click on the link below:

Contributory negligence

For more information on proving a car accident was not your fault, please click on the link below:

How to prove a car accident was not your fault

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident and you would like more information on the statutory time limit associated with this type of claim, please click on the link below:

Time limit to make a car accident claim

Have you been injured in a car park accident? The guide below looks at when and how you could claim compensation.

Carpark accident claims

Has a loved one been killed in a fatal car accident? If so, learn more about who could claim compensation in this guide.

Fatal car accident claims

Thank you for reading our guide looking at what to do if you have a car accident.

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

Written by Wood

Edited by Billing

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