Thursday 2nd April 2015
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An accident can happen anytime anywhere and to the best of drivers. But being prepared can save you some heartache and money too.  You need to be really careful about what you say and what you do as it can heavily influence the outcome.  Here is the Breakeryard list of what to do after a car accident and what not to do.

DO:

  • Remain calm, don’t panic.
  • Stop your car and stay at the scene, even if you didn’t cause the accident. This applies to accidents where a person or animal is injured or killed or property, vehicles or bollards, street lights etc are damaged. It is a criminal offence to do so even if you don’t take your car with you.  Failing to stop could land you with a fine up to £5,000, five to ten penalty points, disqualification from driving and even six months in prison.
  • Put on your hazard lights and if you have a triangular hazard warning sign do use it so that vehicles can see there is a problem.
  • Obtain the other driver’s name, contact information, licence plate number and car insurance details.
  • Check your passengers are OK and if another vehicle is involved check that the occupants are OK too.
  • Perform first aid (if you are qualified) if there are any injuries and call 999 immediately to request an ambulance and ask for the police to attend as well.
  • Keep injured people warm with a coat or blankets if you have them.
  • Ask any witnesses to remain to speak to the police who can take their statements and make sure you take their names and contact information to pass on later to your insurance company if necessary.
  • Collect your own evidence by using your mobile to take photos of the immediate aftermath of the accident and ensure that these photos go to the police for their investigation. Take photos of injuries, damage to vehicles and other street items such as bollards. Make notes of what happened, date, time, location, road markings and weather and traffic conditions.  Note down the full details of the other vehicle, its speed, direction and what signals or manoeuvres the other driver was making. Do it quickly before you forget anything.
  • Get the names and telephone numbers of attending police officers so you can follow up later.  Also ask them for the incident number and to see the report.
  • Contact your insurance provider and tell them honestly what has happened. Some insurance providers make it a condition within the policy that you must report an accident even if you are not making a claim yourself.
  • Contact a solicitor –if you were injured you may be able to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance.  Make sure you use a qualified and experienced lawyer.
  • Produce your certificate of insurance if someone is injured and you are requested to do so by relevant parties, notably the police, either at the scene or later.
  • You must provide the following information:

-  Name and address of driver (and owner if the vehicle doesn’t belong to you)
-  Name of insurance company
-  Make, model and colour of vehicle
-  Vehicle registration number
-  Driver’s licence number
-  Name and address of driver

  • If you don’t exchange your details at the scene you must report to a police station within 24 hours of the accident.
  • Record all expenses related to the accident, particularly if you have suffered an injury.  For instance, medication costs, time spent off work, loss of income (which your employer will need to confirm in writing).  This will all support your compensation claim.

Road accidents can hurt in more than one way

DON’T:

  • Move injured people unless they are near to a hazard, such as spilt fuel.  Check that it is safe for you to enter the area first as you don’t want to put yourself in danger as well.
  • Say anything about the accident and do not admit to any blame or fault, even if you feel it might have been your fault. You may think at the time that the accident was your fault but further investigation may prove you were not to blame.  Also, if you are blameless the other party may try to implicate you to get themselves off the hook.  Even if you did contribute to causing the accident it is better to be quiet as you could make it worse for yourself.  Remember that third parties such as the police and insurers will investigate so you should avoid muddying the waters.

In the future technology is likely to offer a helping hand at road accidents.  Students of Computer Engineering and Information Technology from Sandip Institute of Technology and Research Centre in India are creating an app that will assist  in accidents.  A pre-installed GPS system in the vehicle will send the location of the accident to the nearest available ambulance to speed assistance to injured people. Road accident deaths in India account for 16% of the world’s total of deaths through accidents.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that 1.2 million people die in car accidents every year.  Knowing what to do to protect yourself and others is really important.

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