Steps to Follow if You Are Involved in a Car Accident

Posted on 09 May 2019 by CarTakeBack

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Unfortunately accidents happen, but lots of Brits aren't sure of what to do if they drive into a parked car, or are involved in a collision. So having an accident in your car, no matter how minor, can be distressing and leave you in a panic.

Here's a guide to what you need to do if you have a crash, bump, scuff or scrape, to make sure that you are safe, any insurance claims are dealt with properly, and that you are acting in accordance to the law.

Hitting a parked car or damaging someone's property

Under the Road Traffic Act (1988): "If you’re driving a motorised vehicle and are involved in an accident which causes damage or injury to another person, vehicle, property or animal, you must stop and give your vehicle registration along with your name and address."

This means that you must leave your details if you dent or scratch a parked car, even if the damage is minimal.

Step 1: Record incident details

Write down the registration of the car you hit, and the time, date and place of the incident.

If there were any witnesses present, take down their details.

If you can, take photographs of your car and what you hit, to show any damage that has been done.

Taking photo of car accident with mobile phone

Step 2: Share your details

Write down your contact details, including your name, phone number and address, and your car's registration, onto a piece of paper. If you are not driving your car, you need to write down the owner's details, too.

Put the details somewhere that is easy for the owner of the other car to spot and not likely to blow away.

Step 3: Inform your insurance company

No matter how minor, even if a claim isn't going to be made, most insurance companies have it written in the policy small print that you must tell them about any incident you have. It is usually stipulated that this needs to be done within 24 hours.

Give them the time, date and location of the incident, and the vehicle registration of any other vehicle involved, and any witness details.

Having a car accident that involves another person

Step 1: Make sure you are safe

If you or anyone else has been injured, you are blocking the road, or you or the car are in a dangerous position that may cause further incident, call 999.

Keep clear of the road and any moving traffic.

If you can move your cars to a point of safety without putting yourself at risk, do so.

Put on your hazard lights, and your warning triangle if you are safe to do so.

Warning triangle on the road

Step 2: Exchange personal details

Give the driver your name, contact details, address, vehicle registration, and insurance company name, if you know it. If you were driving someone else's car, share their details too.

Ask the driver for the same details, and note them down.

Step 3: Record incident details

If there were any witnesses or passengers, take down their name and contact information.

If you can, take photographs of the cars involved, including any damage, and their final positions in the road. Make sure you are safe, out of the way of any moving traffic, whilst doing this.

Step 4: Inform the Police

It's a legal requirement to let the police know of any incident involving another person within 24 hours. Even if the damage is minor, you must report it.

If the police aren't attending the scene, you can report the incident by calling their non-emergency phone number, 101, visiting your local police station, or tell them online via your local police force.

woman on the phone after car crash

Was your car damaged in an accident?

If you have a vehicle that has been deemed unfit for the roads, or is going to cost a fortune to repair after an accident, CarTakeBack will gladly take the vehicle off your hands. See how much you could get to scrap your car instantly, with our free online scrap car quotation. We can collect your damaged car from your home, or from the garage. Just enter your registration and postcode into our online quote form to get started.


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If you still have questions, you can find all of the answers in the following categories:

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