What to do if you are in a traffic accident

RTA crash.
RTA crash.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident, taking the following steps will help deal with the situation.

What to do:

If, as a driver, you are involved in an accident and one or more of the following 

n A person, other than yourself, is injured;

n Damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property;

n An animal has been killed or injured, except in your own vehicle or trailer;

n Damage to roadside fixtures such as lampposts, fences and walls; you must stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period.

If anyone needs urgent medical attention, contact the emergency services and ask for an ambulance. If the road is blocked or damaged, ask for the police or, if someone leaves the scene of an accident without leaving their details, you should proceed to contact the police.

You must give your vehicle registration number, your name and address and that of the vehicle owner (if different), your telephone number and insurance company details and policy number - to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details. This will help with any claims process.

If you do not exchange those details at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police officer as soon as possible and, in any event, within 24 hours.

At the scene, you should ensure that you take down the names, addresses and vehicle registration of any witnesses who saw the incident. You should also proceed to draw or photograph the scene and to include as much detail as possible. Where injury is caused to another person, you must produce your Certificate of Insurance, if anyone at the scene has reasonable grounds to see it.

If you do not have your Certificate of Insurance when reporting the accident to the police, you may take it to the police station when you report the incident. You must do this within 7 days of the accident. It is important to note that reporting the accident to the police by telephone is not sufficient, and you cannot ask someone else to report for you.

You are obliged to undertake the above steps - not only when you are directly involved in an accident, but also if your vehicle’s presence was a factor.

If you have any doubts, it is advised that you complete the above steps as soon as the accident happens, regardless of who was at fault. It is important to note that 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 for 
the accident.

This is intended as a guide of what to do at the scene of an accident. For additional advice, you should contact your insurance company or solicitor.