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What To Do In A Car Accident Essex

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Road Traffic Act 1988 s.170car-accident

As soon as your car is involved in an accident you need to take the following steps to ensure you do not break the law. Your duties are to stop, to give information, in some cases to produce your insurance certificate and in some cases to report the accident to the police


If, as a driver, you are involved in a road-traffic accident and one or more of the following occurs :
a) a person, other than yourself, is injured,
b) damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property,
c) an animal has been killed or injured, except in your own vehicle or trailer (an ‘animal’ is defined as ‘any horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog’)


You must:
a) stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period
b) give your vehicle registration number, your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner (if different), to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details
c) If you do not exchange those details at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours.

Further requirement in injury cases

Where injury is caused to another person, then in addition to the above you must also:
a) Produce your certificate of insurance, if anyone at the scene has reasonable grounds to see it. If you do not, you must report the accident at a police station or to a constable as soon as you can and in any case within 24 hours. You’ll need to produce your certificate of insurance. If you don’t have your certificate of insurance when reporting the accident to the police, you may take it to the police station you nominate when you report the incident. You must do this within seven days of the accident.


A failure to comply with these obligations can mean two offences are being committed: failing to stop and failing to report. It is possible to be guilty of either or both. The penalties for each offence include a maximum fine of £5,000, five to ten penalty points. The court also has the power to disqualify you from driving for either offence and is likely to do so when both offences are committed on the same occasion. Failing to stop or report an accident carries a maximum of six months’ imprisonment.
Even if there was no personal injury involved, if someone holds you responsible for the accident, they have the right to request your insurance details. This request can be made later; it does not necessarily have to be at the time of the accident. A failure to provide that information without a reasonable excuse is also an offence.

Practical advice

1. Provided you comply with the requirements to stop, exchange information and in injury cases to produce your insurance, there is no automatic obligation to report an accident to the police.

2. Accordingly it is wise to keep your insurance certificate in the vehicle.

3. Reporting the accident to the police by telephone is not sufficient and you cannot ask someone else to report for you.

4. You’re obliged to do these things not only when you are directly involved in an accident, but also if your vehicle’s ‘presence’ was a factor.

5. If you hit a cat or wild animal, there is no obligation to report it, but you must ensure that he animal is not injured or suffering. If so, it is good practice to contact the RSPCA.

6. If you have any doubts as to whether the preconditions apply, we advise you to complete he above steps as soon as the accident happens, regardless of who was at fault.

Further practical advice

7. Call 999 (112 from most mobiles) immediately if any of the people involved are in need of urgent medical attention; (ask for an ambulance) the road is blocked or damaged; (ask for the police) someone leaves the scene without exchanging details; (ask for the police) there is a hazard including risk of fire from leaking petrol any suspicion that the other driver may be intoxicated through drink or drugs

8. Make sure you have the full names and addresses of the other parties involved, their vehicle registration numbers (together with make, model and colour) and the the names, addresses and policy numbers of their insurance companies.

9. Make sure you have the full names and addresses of any eye-witnesses involved (including all passengers), and their vehicle registration numbers (together with make, model and colour)

11. Always keep an accident pack in the car. This should consist of a notebook, pen and camera, or your mobile phone if this takes pictures. In the event of an accident, make a sketch at the scene. Remember to note as many details as you can such as street names, vehicle locations and direction of travel, skid marks, collision points and vehicle damage. Use the camera to take photos showing the road layout, position of vehicles and their damage (take care near busy roads).

12. Record any other details you think may be important eg. use of mobile phone, if you think the driver of the other vehicle has been drinking, weather conditions etc.

13. Make a note of, and tell your insurers about any statement made at the scene by any of the parties or witnesses. Do not discuss whose fault it was. If you do, you could create problems for you and your insurers in the handling of your claim. Do not admit liability under any circumstances.

14. This rule applies not just at the scene of the accident but also if you receive a telephone call from the other driver or his insurer after the accident.In general terms you should avoid speaking with the insurer of the negligent driver after the accident and should seek assistance from your insurance company and/or a solicitor in responding to any correspondence you might receive.

15. It will also be a condition of your insurance policy that you report the accident to your insurance company within a reasonable time, even if you do not want to claim yourself. A failure to do so can give your insurance company the right to refuse to cover you. You should report all accidents to the insurance company, whether reportable or not.

Making a claim for compensation

16. Following an accident for which you were not to blame, you are entitled to be put back into the position t

hat you were at immediately before the accident occurred. This means that you have the right to replacement transport, the right to have your vehicle repaired to its pre-accident condition, the right to claim compensation for any loss in the value of your vehicle arising from the accident damage and the right to make a claim for personal injury to recompense you for pain and suffering arising from any personal injury sustained by you. We can advise and assist you with all of these losses.

17. You should bear in mind that, in bringing any claim for compensation, you are under a common law duty to mitigate which means that you are expected to keep resultant losses and expenses to a reasonable amount. That act of mitigation does not mean you have to suffer or make do.

18. Finally, wherever possible, you should retain receipts for items of expenditure that you incur and for which you might wish to reclaim from the negligent driver. If you wish to claim for incidental expenses – telephone calls made and letters sent, for example – then you need to keep a record of these events