According to the Department for Transport, at the end of 2012 there were?34.5 million vehicles licensed for use on the roads in Great Britain. With over one vehicle for every two people in the country, it is clear to see we are a population wholly dependent on our cars for the daily commute, shopping or other social purposes.
However, an inevitable consequence of so many road users is a rise in accidents. The most recent report from the UK government showed that in the year ending September 2012, there were a total of 197,730 casualties from 146,980 accidents. While this number was lower than the previous year, it is still a worrying statistic.
If you are involved in a road accident, it is necessary to take certain steps immediately afterwards or as soon as possible. This will protect you against false claims and damaging consequences.
Contact the authorities
Some accidents may be just a minor bump or scrape, so therefore contacting the police may not be necessary. However, if it is a serious incident, it is essential you phone the emergency services.
Time is a crucial factor if somebody is injured in an accident and just a few minutes could mean the difference between life and death. Traffic police, paramedics and the fire service will have witnessed many such accidents and will know exactly what to do.
If another party is involved, it is vital to exchange name and contact details. Try and collect as many details as possible including a mobile phone number and even an email address.
Nearly all drivers will have appropriate insurance and it is important to gather these details as well. However some drivers disobey the law and forgo this legal requirement. In this situation, you may still be able to claim some sort of compensation, but it is crucial to have the correct contact details.
Report what happened
Based purely on fact, write a statement of what happened. Being involved in an accident can be a shock to the system, but you must still record an accurate report immediately afterwards.
Photographs and possible witness statements can back up the written word. It is also beneficial to get the names and contact details of witnesses because they may be needed at a later date.
Under no circumstances should you apologise or accept responsibility, as this may not be the correct statement to make and could damage any insurance claim.
Contact your insurance company
With all the details about the accident, get in touch with your insurance company to discover what happens next. They deal with all manner of cases on a daily basis.
You may even want to contact your legal representative in more serious circumstances. A qualified medical lawyer or an injury solicitor will increase your chances of receiving compensation.