What To Do When You Get Into A Car Accident? – What Do I Need To Know?

By Mark Anderson. Last Updated 10th March 2021. In this guide, we will advise you on what to do when you get into a car accident. Whether you were the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian that was hit by a car, we will advise you on how to proceed safely after a car accident. We will also advise you about what to do if you have a car accident in the UK, about making an insurance claim for damages to your vehicle and claiming damages for your injuries if the accident was not your fault.

For further advice, call Accident Claims UK today on 0800 073 8801 about making a compensation claim for a car accident. If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, we could provide you with a solicitor to handle your personal injury claim for compensation. Our panel of solicitors has up to thirty years of experience in handling claims for car accidents and will push to secure you the greatest amount of damages you could be eligible to claim. To begin your car accident compensation claim, call us today to speak to an advisor or use our online claims form to get in contact with us.

Select A Section

A Guide To What To Do When You Get Into A Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. However, responding in the right way can help everyone stay calm until help arrives. There are also steps you can take at the scene of the accident to collect evidence to support you, should you need to make an insurance claim or personal injury claim. We will look at them in more detail in this guide on what to do if you have a car crash.

Remember, if you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be owed damages for your injuries. Call Accident Claims UK today, or fill out our online claims form. If we can see that you are eligible to claim compensation, we will assign a knowledgeable personal injury solicitor to start working on your claim right away.

What Are Car Accidents?

A car accident is when two cars collide together, a car collides with another type of vehicle, a car crashes into a static object such as a lamppost, or a car hits one or more pedestrians. How do car accidents happen? Car accidents can happen because a driver is distracted, for example, is using a mobile phone whilst driving. Another cause of car accidents is driving over the limit of alcohol or drug driving (which can include some prescription medication and illegal drugs). Some car crashes happen due to human error.

Unfortunately, car crashes are a major cause of injuries. These can be moderate injuries such as whiplash or a fractured bone, which are painful but will normally heal overtime. But car crashes can also cause life-changing injuries such as paralysis or traumatic head injuries. Sadly, some car accidents result in fatal injuries. Hence why it’s important to know what to do when you get into a car accident.

Drivers Should Stop After A Car Accident

Drivers involved in road traffic accidents are legally obliged to stop after the accident in the nearest safe place. Driving away from an accident is known as a hit and run and is illegal. If you are hit by a driver that flees the scene, you should report this to the police.

What Should I Do After Being In A Car Accident?

We will now look at what to do when you get into a car accident to protect yourself and others:

  1. Pull over and stop at the nearest safe place to do so. Driving away from an accident is an offence.
  2. Switch off your engine and turn on your hazard lights.
  3. Check to see if you or any other passengers in your vehicle are injured or if anyone else involved in the accident is injured. Safety is the number one priority, so if someone is seriously or critically injured, call an ambulance.
  4. Report the road traffic accident to the police.
  5. Exchange contact details and details of your insurance company with the other driver.
  6. Record the make, model, colour and registration number of the other vehicle.
  7. Please speak to any witnesses and take note of their contact details. They may be able to provide a statement that can be taken as evidence to support your claim.
  8. Take photographs of anything that could be considered evidence to support your claim. This can include photographs of any injuries you have (if you wish to take photographs of another person’s injuries, ask their permission first). You can also photograph any damage to your vehicle or a hazard in the road that caused or contributed to the accident. Include a date stamp if possible.
  9. Contact your insurer to report the accident as soon as it is safe to do so. Many insurance providers require you to report the accident within 24 hours of the accident taking place.

Details To Exchange With Another Driver

Clients often ask us, “What should I do if I get in a car accident?” One important step to do is to exchange information with the other driver. As a legal requirement, you must give them your name and address. What insurance details do you need in an accident? This is the information you need to get from the other driver: their insurance provider, policy number, the car make and model. It is also helpful to note the names and ages of any passengers travelling in the car.

How you communicate with the other driver after a car crash is very important. Car accidents are frightening and stressful experiences, even if no one is seriously injured. Therefore behaving calmly can help you communicate effectively and stop a stressful situation from escalating into an argument. You should also be careful not to do anything where you may unwittingly admit fault for the accident. Don’t say, “I’m sorry,” or “That was my fault”, even if you feel shaken up, as this could be taken as an admission of liability for the accident.

Similarly, if you are contacted by the other driver, their insurance provider or a solicitor representing them, do not sign documents you are given without first consulting your solicitor. Your solicitor will be able to make sure that you are not accepting responsibility for the accident and wavering your right to claim damages for your injuries or damages to the vehicle.

In some instances, a driver will admit fault of their own accord. If you are not at fault, you can claim compensation from the other driver’s insurance provider for your injuries and damages to your vehicle. If you are at fault, you will not be able to make a personal injury claim for any injuries you received in the crash. You will be able to make a claim for damage to your vehicle from your own insurance provider. This will affect your insurance premiums and your no claims bonus.

Who Should I Contact After Being Involved In A Car Accident?

Another important point about what to do when you get into a car accident in the UK is to contact relevant parties.

When Should You Contact The Emergency Services

If someone is seriously or critically injured, it is important to call an ambulance to be taken to hospital right away for urgent treatment. To get an ambulance, dial 999. If someone has injuries that are not serious enough to require an ambulance, they can be taken to a hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) department or GP surgery for treatment.

How To Report A Car Accident To The Police

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, you must report your road traffic accident to the police within 24 hours if you do not give your details at the time of the accident. You can do so using the non-emergency number 101.

When To Notify Your Insurance Company

Many of our clients ask us, “What should I do if I get in a car accident? When should I contact my insurer”. We recommend contacting your insurance company as soon as it is safe to do so. Many insurance plans require you to contact your motor insurance provider within 24 hours or 72 hours after the accident. Should you tell your insurance company about a minor accident? Yes. The accident may seem minor to you, but you may need to make a claim or have the assistance of an insurance provider as the case proceeds.

Information To Keep After Car Accidents

Further to what to do when you get into a car accident, it’s important to collect as much information as possible at the scene of a car accident, to help you if you need to claim from your insurance provider or a personal injury claim against the other driver.

What insurance details do you need in an accident?

  • The other driver’s name and address
  • The other driver’s car insurance provider and policy number
  • The make, model, colour and registration number of the other vehicle.

If the other driver refuses to give you information, this may mean that they are uninsured. You should report this action to the police. You can also collect information that may be used as evidence to determine which party was at fault or evidence of the damages or injuries caused. This can include:

  • Photographic evidence
  • Dashcam footage of the accident (dashcam footage can be used to determine which driver was at fault or if you were the victim of a car accident scam)
  • The names and contact details of eyewitnesses
  • An account you have written of the experience so that you can remember the details involved later on.

Car Accident And Road Safety Statistics

Unfortunately, many people are seriously injured or die due to car accidents every year. In the year 2020, there were 1,580 deaths on the road, a 14% decrease from 2019, albeit partly due to Coronavirus-related restrictions. Below are some road traffic accident statistics which illustrate the extent of the problem in the UK.

Casualty TypeNumber
Total Casualties131,220

Although most people killed on the roads are car occupants, this may be because they are the more frequently used form of transport. Accounting for deaths and casualties per billion miles, cars rank behind pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Find out more at this government resource.

Technology Which Can Reduce Car Accidents

As well as what to do when you get into a car accident, think about reducing them. Drivers must rely on themselves to drive in a manner that is safe and proactively avoids accidents. However, technology is also available to help prevent car accidents. This includes:

  • Autonomous emergency braking, which breaks when a sensor detects an accident.
  • Adaptive cruise control resets the speed according to the speed of the traffic ahead.
  • Dashboard cameras, which record footage from the road, help against fraudulent claims.
  • A lane departure warning system, which warns you if your car is swerving out of its lane.

Car Accident Compensation Settlement Calculator

If you make a successful personal injury claim for car accident injuries, you will be awarded two heads of claim. These are general damages and special damages. General damages compensate the claimant for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity they experienced due to being injured. You can estimate how much compensation you could receive for your injuries using our personal injury claims calculator. The amounts of compensation quoted are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. The calculator does not estimate how much compensation you could receive for special damages.

Type Of InjurySeriousnessSettlementComments
Neck injuryModerate (1)£23,460 to £36,120Including injuries to the neck such as a dislocation or a fracture which caused immediate symptoms. Chronic conditions may also be included in this category. The claimant may be more vulnerable to further injury in the future.
Neck injuryModerate (2)£12,900 to £23,460Including cases in which a wrenching type injury has happened to the soft tissues of the neck or disc lesions. There may be permanent pain, discomfort or stiffness.
Neck injuryModerate (3)£7,410 to £12,900Including injuries to the neck which exacerbate or accelerate existing conditions in the neck. May also include moderate soft tissue injuries where the recovery may be over a longer period of time.
Back injuryModerate (1)£26,050 to £36,390Instances where residual disabilities to the claimant are less severe than higher categories. There may be a wide range of injuries included within the category such as crush injuries, fractures and compression of the spine.
Back injuryModerate (2)£11,730 to £26,050Frequently seen back injuries such as those disturbing the ligaments or muscles and which could either accelerate, exacerbate or prolong existing injuries.
Fracture of Claviclen/a£4,830 to £11,490How much you could claim depends on how serious the fracture is and how serious the disability is.
Pelvis and hip injuriesModerate£11,820 to £36,770Those classed as moderate, at this level there may still be significant injuries to the hips and pelvis.
Elbow injuriesLess Severe Injuries£14,690 to £30,050Elbow injuries which might impair the elbows function but which does not need major surgery.
Leg injuriesModerate£26,050 to £36,790Including either multiple or complicated fractures or crushing injuries to (generally) a single limb.
Foot injuriesModerate£12,900 to £23,460Fractures to the metatarsal bones which may be displaced. May lead to continuing deformity and symptoms.

Of course, these are approximations. Call Accident Claims UK today, and we can accurately estimate how much compensation you could be owed.

Special Damages For Personal Injury Claimants

Successful claimants are also awarded special damages. This is compensation to reimburse them for any expenses incurred as a result of being injured. For example, if the claimant became disabled due to a serious car accident, they could claim medical expenses such as physiotherapy, claim for any home adaptations, mobility equipment or at home care they may need. They could also pay for travel expenses or loss of income. Claiming special damages is a key part of what to do when you get into a car accident.

No Win No Fee Car Crash Injury Claims

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you could be owed damages for your injuries, financial losses and damage to your vehicle. If you feel weary of paying an upfront solicitors fee, we can give you the option to make a no win fee compensation claim. This means that instead of paying your solicitor’s fee up front, you will pay a success fee instead, which you will only be charged for on the condition that you win your compensation claim. This means that there is less financial risk involved for you. Because your fee will be deducted from your compensation package, making a no win no fee claim may be the more affordable option for you.

Call Accident Claims UK today to see if you are eligible to make a no win no fee claim for road traffic accident compensation.

Talk To Our Car Accident Claims Specialists

If you have legitimate grounds to make a compensation claim for injuries you sustained due to a car accident that was not your fault, Accident Claims UK can provide you with a knowledgeable lawyer to handle your claim. Our panel of solicitors has up to thirty years of experience in handling compensation claims and will push to win you the greatest amount of damages that you can claim for your injuries. So, what to do when you get into a car accident? You should speak to us.

For free advice and to begin your claim, call us today on 0800 073 8801 to speak to an informed advisor. Alternatively, use our online claims form to reach us. If we can see that you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation, a solicitor will be assigned to work on your claim as soon as possible. Call today; we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Car Accident Victim Resources

Road Traffic Accident 1988

UK Government Road Safety Data

Road Traffic Accident Statistics

More Guides From Accident Claims UK

A Guide To Car Accident Claims – How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Car Accident?

Pedestrian Accidents – How Much Could I Claim?

Accident At Work Claims Guide

What To Do When You Get Into A Car Accident FAQs

What should I do if I get into a car accident?

The immediate priority is to ensure that you and any victims are safe. If they require medical treatment, calling for an ambulance ASAP is very important. You must also get the names, address, telephone numbers and licence numbers of all involved. And make sure to get the licence plates for each vehicle too.

Will my insurance provider pay if I’m at fault?

The insurance company is going to help cover the expenses regardless of responsibility. There may be deductions depending on where liability lies, but insurance covers the scenario of a crash nonetheless.

How long could a car accident stay on record?

There is a minimum of three years where a car accident is likely to stay on your record. This is for your insurers to have enough time to recognise that your accident may hopefully be a one-off. Should accidents become more regular, insurance companies will notice this, and this could impact future rates.

Does my insurance go up if someone hits me?

In most situations, hit-and-run collisions don’t increase your car insurance rates. It’s only if incidents become too frequent that insurance rates might rise. Bear in mind that your insurance is there to assist you financially in the event that a crash does happen.

Article by HC

Edited by MM.

Thank you for reading our guide about what to do when you get into a car accident.