Fortunately, most drivers have never collided with another road user and are therefore unaware of the correct procedures to follow or what the consequences may be if they are found to be at fault. Nevertheless, the fact that you might one day be involved in a motoring accident is reason enough to learn what you should do immediately afterward and how to deal with the legal ramifications of an error of judgement on UK roads.
Peoples reactions to traffic collisions vary widely but many are shocked and some are prone to panic. It is important to stay as calm as possible immediately after an accident, so that you can respond appropriately and ensure that your actions comply with the law. Although the information in this article is only meant to serve as a guide and should not be considered as legal advice, if you follow the steps below you should be reasonably confident that you have discharged your responsibilities as required by law.
Stop! This is the first and most important thing to do. If your vehicle does not come to a halt as a result of the collision, you must stop as soon as it is safe to do so. Failure to do so is an offence according to the Road Traffic Act. Even if you only have a minor bump, you should at least stop to swap details with the other driver. In the event of a more serious accident, such as colliding with a cyclist who is injured as a result of the collision, you should of course contact the emergency services immediately.
As mentioned above, you need to give your name and address to the other party or parties involved in the accident. This is a legal requirement so make sure that you follow it. If you discuss what happened with other people at the scene, be careful what you say. Do not admit liability, even if you think that you might be to blame for what has happened. In the event that you are not to blame but you told everybody at the scene of the accident that it was your fault, you could have serious problems proving your innocence in court.
Take the details of other parties involved, as well as any witnesses to the accident. Independent witnesses can be invaluable, especially if the guilty party tries to blame you for the collision. If any of the other drivers involved try to leave the scene without giving you their name and address, call the police immediately.
Make notes of the details of the collision. Write down the registration number of all vehicles that were involved in the accident and draw a rough diagram to show their positions immediately leading up to and after the collision. There are a number of legal firms that have a great deal of experience in defending motorists, such as Cunninghams Draycott Browne Solicitors Ltd, who can provide advice and assistance that can make a real difference to the outcome of any case that is taken to court. However, if you are unable to provide them with detailed information as to what happened and who was involved, it will be much harder for a solicitor to do their job properly.
Dealing with the aftermath
If you follow the steps above, you will have a good chance of proving your innocence if required and you should not be in any trouble with the law as far as following procedure is concerned. Assuming that you were not seriously injured, you should be free to carry on with the rest of your life.