What To Do If You Have A Car Accident – A Complete Guide On What To Do After A Car Accident
What Should You Do If You Have Been Involved In Or Injured By A Car Accident?
By John Bowes. Last Updated 1st March 2021. 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 a 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.
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:
Select A Section
- A Guide On What To Do If You Have A Car Accident
- What Is A Car Accident?
- Driver And Vehicle Safety Technology
- What To Do At The Scene Of The Accident
- Always Stop After An Accident
- Exchanging Vehicle And Insurance Details With Other Drivers
- Key Evidence And Information To Record After A Car Accident
- Who To Contact After A Car Accident
- Car Accident Compensation Calculator UK (Updated April 2021)
- Personal Injury Claim Special Damages
- No Win No Fee Claims For Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
- Start Your Claim
- Resources For Car Crash Victims
- What To Do If You Have A Car Accident FAQs
Our guide could help you make a successful personal injury claim against the party responsible after a car accident. We cover the following throughout the guide:
- The sort of car crash you may be involved in which could result in you suffering an injury. We provide statistics on car accidents in the UK, and the type of injury you could suffer
- We offer advice on road safety and how technology can help reduce the risk of being involved and injured in a car crash. Whether you were the driver, passenger, pedestrian, or another road user
- We provide essential advice on what you should and must do at the scene of a car crash
- We explain the importance of stopping if you are involved in a car crash and what the consequences would be if you failed to stop at the scene of an accident
- The guide moves on to offer advice on exchanging vehicle and insurance details with all other parties involved in a car crash. This helps when it comes to making a personal injury claim against the party responsible
- We offer advice on what key evidence would be required and what information should be recorded following a car crash you were involved in
- The guide goes on to explain who should be contacted following a car accident
- We then offer information on car accident compensation, and how this is calculated in the UK
- We explain what special damages you may be able to claim when making a personal injury claim against a third party who could be deemed responsible for injuries and damage you suffered
- Lastly, we explain the process of No Win No Fee claims for injuries suffered in a car crash, as well as what you would need to prove for a solicitor to take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis
For more information on what to do if you have a car accident, please read on. Alternatively, you can call our team today to get your claim started.
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:
- Head injuries
- Broken ribs
- 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.
Car Accident and Safety Statistics
National statistics of reported casualties of road traffic accidents on public roads for the year 2019 in Great Britain are detailed below:
- Incidents involving road casualties in Great Britain for 2019 showed there were 1,752 reported fatalities
- There was a decrease of 21% compared to the year 2009, and a 2% reduction from 2018, as indicated by the chart below.
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
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.
There are certain things you must do at the scene of a car accident, which are as follows:
- To stop as soon and as safely as possible, bearing in mind that should you not stop, you would be committing an offence
- You should turn your engine off
- You must turn on your hazard lights to warn approaching vehicles that you have stopped and that there is impending danger on the road
- You should check if you, or any passengers, have suffered any sort of injury in the incident
- If you were involved in a minor collision/bump, you should still make a note of the incident because you may find that another party tries to claim for being injured later on
- Make sure you call the police, and if anyone has been injured in the car crash, make sure an ambulance is called straight away
- You should try to stay as calm as you possibly can—even if the car crash has left you shaken. It is important not to lose your temper, and to make sure you are aware of all that is going on around you
- You should never admit fault or apologise to anyone at the scene of the car accident until you know exactly what occurred. This is to avoid being held responsible for a car crash that may not have been your fault
For more information on what to do if you have a car accident, particularly whether you need to stop at the scene or not, please read on to the next section.
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.
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
If you are involved and injured in a car crash, there are specific things you should do that could help prove liability. This includes the following:
- Takedown the registration numbers, makes and models of all vehicles involved in the incident
- Note down the date, time, and location of the car crash
- Write down how the road traffic accident happened, and make a note of all people involved
- Take photos of the incident, damage and where the car crash happened
- If there is any dashcam evidence, make sure you keep it
- Get witness statements and their contact details
The more evidence you can gather, the better. It can help prove liability and whether you contributed to the accident occurring.
Our section below will provide further details on what to do if you have a car accident, including who to get in touch with and when. Read on for more information.
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.
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.||£264,650 to £379,100|
|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.||£205,580 to £264,650|
|Neck - severe||Potential paralysis with a long recovery, taking years in some cases. Little or no movement with possible headaches.||In the region of £139,210|
|Neck - moderate||Soft tissue injuries or disc lesions, leading to impaired mobility, recurring pain, stiffness with a possible need for surgery.||£12,900 to £23,460|
|Neck - minor||Modest soft tissue injuries with a fully recovery in 3 months||Up to £2,300|
|Knee - severe||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.||£65,440 to £90,290|
|Knee- moderate||Injuries involving dislocation, torn cartilage or meniscus which results in minor instability.||£13,920 to £24,580|
|Shoulder- severe||Often associated with neck injuries and involving damage to the brachial plexus resulting in significant disability.||£18,020 to £45,070|
|Shoulder - minor||A soft tissue injury that heals within 3 months.||Up to £2,300|
|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.||£78,800 to £102,890|
|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.||£78,800 to £102,890|
|Foot- serious||Injuries of this bracket may include continuing pain from traumatic arthritis or the risk of future arthritis, prolonged treatment and the risk of fusion surgery.||£23,460 to £36,790|
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you would like more in-depth information on reported car accidents and road casualties in the UK, please follow the link below:
If you were involved and injured in a car accident and would like further details about contributory negligence, please click on the link below:
For more information on proving a car accident was not your fault, please click on the link below:
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:
Have you been injured in a car park accident? The guide below looks at when and how you could claim compensation.
Has a loved one been killed in a fatal car accident? If so, learn more about who could claim compensation in this guide.
What do you do in a minor car accident?
If your car accident is nothing more than a scrape or a bump in a car park you may not need to report the accident. Minor scrapes and bumps can often be sorted out between the vehicle owners.
There are circumstances in which you will need to report the accident.
- Where there is damage to one of the vehicles.
- When the driver did not stop and did not provide their details.
- Where a person has been injured.
A good rule to remember is that if you can not drive away from the accident after exchanging details, you should report the accident to the police.
What other information can I collect from an accident?
Above we have outlined what evidence you can collect to support your claim. As well as this information you can also record,
- The make and model of the car involved in the accident.
- A sketch of the scene of the accident. This should show the position of both vehicles. You can also note details such as the speed at the time of the accident.
- The weather conditions on the location, time and date of the accident.
- Lighting conditions. Was there anything unusual about the road lighting which could have contributed to the accident?
- Any notes on the road quality.
How long do I have to make a claim following a car accident?
The personal injury claims time limit in the UK is three years. This time limit runs from the date that the accident took place.
Are there any exceptions to the personal injury claims time limit?
Yes. If someone lacks the mental capacity to make a claim, they can be claimed for by a litigation friend or, if this doesn’t happen, then the three-year time limit will run from when they recover and are able to claim themselves. Similarly, children under the age of 18 can be claimed for by a litigation friend and then have 3 years to make a claim once they turn 18.
Can I make a claim for a car accident where I was at fault?
Sometimes, if you’re deemed to be partly to blame for an accident, this can be classed as contributory negligence. In this case, you will be able to claim but your compensation will be reduced to allow for the role you played in the accident taking place.
Can I claim for the inconvenience of an accident if I haven’t been injured?
No. In order to make a personal injury claim following an accident, then you need to have suffered some kind of injury.
How can I get the maximum compensation I’m owed in a claim?
The best way to ensure you’re receiving the full amount of compensation that you’re owed is to collect as much evidence as possible following the accident. This will include collecting witness details and seeking medical attention for your injuries.
Can I claim following an accident where the other driver wasn’t insured?
Yes. Claims for personal injury can be made through MIB if you’ve been involved in an accident where the other driver is uninsured.
Thank you for reading our guide looking at what to do if you have a car accident.
Written by Wood
Edited by Billing