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26 February 2024|News

What to do after a car accident? Step-by-step guide

In everyday circumstances you’d probably feel you’d know exactly what to do in the event of a car accident. But when it happens, you may be quite shaken up and tempers may be frayed even if you are, hopefully, uninjured. However minor, car accidents can be both frightening and costly, whoever is to blame. Shock can make you forget things ordinarily well-remembered, so here’s a handy bulleted list worth keeping in your car, should you ever need it.

What to do immediately following an accident:

  1. Stop the car as soon as it is safe. Leaving the scene is an offence.
  2. Make sure the engine is switched off.
  3. Turn your hazard lights on.
  4. Check yourself and anyone travelling with you for injuries.
  5. Even if the accident is minor and no one has sustained an injury, it’s worth making a note of the details just in case anyone should make a claim.
  6. If anyone is injured, and/or the road is blocked, make sure to call an ambulance and the police as soon as possible.
  7. It may sound ridiculous, given the circumstances, but try to remain as calm as possible. This will help you to remember the details of the accident more clearly and act accordingly. 
  8. While it’s best to avoid losing your temper, you also shouldn’t admit fault or apologise unless you are sure you’re the one at fault. This can help to protect you later on.

Advising the authorities

If anyone involved in the accident should flee the scene without providing their details or appears to have no insurance, it’s always a good idea to call the police. Or, if you believe someone to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you should also inform the authorities. And this is especially true if you believe the other driver may have caused the accident on purpose. By reporting such an incident you could be helping others avoid a similar situation in the future. If anything about the accident gives you a bad feeling, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, even more so if you have loved ones or children in the car with you. Accidents should be reported within 24 hours of taking place if they cannot be reported at the scene.

Next steps

  1. Unless no damage or injury has been caused, you are lawfully obliged to exchange details with the other parties involved in the accident. It’s a good idea to swap insurance information too. If anyone else is a party to the accident, either as a passenger or a witness, their details could also be useful. You can never have too much information where a car accident, even a minor one, is involved. When you are able, it’s a good idea to take note of the following:
  2. Any injury to any of the persons involved.
  3. The damage to the vehicle(s).
  4. The weather conditions at the time.
  5. The date of the accident, as well as the time of day. If it was dark, include this.
  6. The distinguishing features of the car(s) involved – the make, model and colour, as well as the registration plate(s).
  7. If you have a camera with you, perhaps on your phone, it could be very helpful to take pictures at the time.
  8. Even if no one else is involved in the accident, for example, if you’ve hit a parked car, it’s always worth leaving your details and being honest about what’s happened. It’s what insurance is for and will ensure protection for you and any affected parties.

Choosing the right repairer for you

After making sure everyone is safe after an accident and you have had a chance to take details from the other party, then comes the decision about who best to repair your car. It is your legal right to choose who undertakes the repairs on your vehicle. Often insurance companies will suggest you use a local 'insurance-approved' garage, looking for a more cost-effective repair for themselves. This can lead to lower-quality work taking place on your vehicle, using non-genuine parts or methods of repair that are not factory-approved. As the UK's largest independent manufacturer-approved bodyshop, we care about the quality of your vehicle. We only use genuine manufacturer-approved parts and paints to repair your car. Our technicians are trained by the factories to ensure only the highest quality work takes place. We are proud to be approved by over 15 of the UK's most prestigious automotive brands.

If you have had an accident and are in need of repairs, you can contact our team of experts using our online estimate form.

What to do after a car accident? Step-by-step guide