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What To Do After a Car Accident
No matter how safe of a driver you are, statistically you’re likely to be involved in at least one car accident in your lifetime. It’s a scary thought, but a reminder of how important it is to be prepared. You can never predict when an accident is going to happen, but it’s crucial to know what to do in the aftermath of one.
That’s exactly what we’ll be looking at here. Read on for an easy-to-digest guide on what to do after a car accident.
Always stop when it’s safe to do so
If you’ve had a bump, whatever you do, don’t drive away. Not only is this illegal if property is damaged, someone is hurt or an animal is killed or injured, it’s morally wrong – owning up and being honest is always the better option. If you try to leave the scene, you may well be caught out later on anyway, thanks to the abundance of CCTV cameras on Britain’s roads.
As soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over, and switch your hazard lights on and engine off. If visibility is low, you may also want to deploy a warning triangle if you have one – it’ll help to keep you safer by making it easier for passing vehicles to spot you.
Check that everyone’s OK
Once you’ve brought the car to a halt, check that everyone onboard is alright. If anyone is complaining of back and neck pain, it’s best for them to stay put and avoid potentially making the injury worse. At this point, if you or one of your passengers has sustained an injury, depending on its severity you may want to call for an ambulance.
If your accident is more serious and your car (or another car involved in the accident) is stranded in the middle of the road, you should call the police too and let them know as soon as possible. Equally, if the other driver fled the scene, has no insurance or you suspect they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs or deliberately crashed into you, call the police immediately.
Assuming everybody is OK and your car is parked at the side of the road, if you’re on a busy route (like a dual carriageway or motorway), it’s best to get out of the car and stand away from the road.
Once you’re safe and the relevant authorities have been called if necessary, it’s time to speak to your insurance company. If another car is involved, don’t admit liability at the scene – sometimes things aren’t as clear cut as they might seem, and it’s down to the police and your insurance company to determine who is to blame. Admitting liability at this stage can, therefore, be a bit of an own goal – and some insurance companies will specifically tell you not to do this in your policy documents.
It’s a good idea to note down as many details as possible about the scene and the way the accident occurred while it’s still fresh in your mind. Details like the weather and road conditions and any damage done to property (whether it’s public or private) can be crucial later on, and will make the process of making an insurance claim much more straightforward.
If any property has been damaged or any people, dogs, sheep, cows, goats, pigs, horses, mules or donkeys have been hurt, you must also notify the police within 24 hours.
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