We would all like to think it wouldn’t happen to us – after all, we drive carefully and always pay full attention to the road.

The truth is, no matter how perfect your own driving, roads become increasingly busy year-on-year and the chance of having a road traffic accident today is higher than it has ever been.

But what should you do if you have a car crash? Here are the steps to take after a car accident:

What should I do if I have a car accident?


Without any doubt, the first thing you should do is stop. Whether you think the situation was too minor to warrant any fuss, or it's not your fault and something you don’t have time to deal with, you have to stop.

Failing to stop and leaving the scene of a road accident in the UK is an offence under the Road Traffic Act (1988).

It carries a multitude of penalties, from a fine (up to £2500) and points added to your license, all the way to six months imprisonment in serious cases.

Unless you have an extremely valid reason not to, which you can prove beyond doubt, there is no reason to ever fail to stop.

Of course, make sure you stop in a safe manner. If possible, pull over and try to avoid blocking traffic and make sure it is completely safe for you and your passengers before leaving the car. Switch off the engine and turn the hazard lights on to make other drivers aware of the hazard.

Contact the relevant services

You may be unsure what to do if the car accident was minor. There may be no need to call any additional services, but if you are in doubt then it is better to contact them than not.

It may seem obvious, but in the shock of the moment it is often possible to forget to call the appropriate services. If the incident was severe, make sure you dial 999 and inform people in the right order.

Begin with any ambulance service if you believe that someone is hurt, then call the police and, if necessary, the fire brigade. Follow any instructions they give regarding helping anyone in need and ensuring your safety and the safety of others.

In the case of a minor incident that does not require immediate emergency assistance, you can call 101 and report the accident at a later time – make sure you do this within 24 hours of the incident.

Once the incident has been reported it is best to next check on the other parties involved.

Exchange information

You should always exchange personal and insurance information with any other party involved in the car collision. This includes:

  • Your full name
  • Your address
  • Your insurance company if known
  • Your car registration

Be careful when talking to anyone that you do not accept blame for the accident (even if you do believe it was your fault) as this can have a significant impact down the line for both your insurance and any compensation claims for injury. Avoid using words like ‘sorry’ as these can be seen as an admission of guilt.

Make sure that you obtain the name, address and insurance details of anyone else involved in the traffic accident.

If they are not the owner of the car involved, also obtain the information for the person who is. Check if the car is insured, and if not, make sure you pass all the details of the driver and car to the police and your insurance company.

If no one else was involved (you collided into a parked car, for example) then you must still leave your contact information. Write your details down, as well as the time of the accident, and leave a note on the windscreen of any affected vehicle or other appropriate place.

If you are worried about talking to the other people involved (they show themselves to be angry and aggressive, for example) then call the police, explain the situation to them and allow them to take over collecting the details as part of their traffic accident report.

Collect evidence

Take photos of the scene. Take care to only take photographs from safe locations and make sure you include the following:

  • Car registration plates
  • Images of the damage to all vehicles
  • A wider shot of the overall scene
  • Pictures of the road condition and weather
  • Pictures of tyres

Try to add notes of any relevant information not clearly seen in your pictures, such as:

  • Time and date of the crash
  • A list of injuries sustained by anyone at the scene
  • Witness contact details if they are willing
  • A list of all vehicles involved - their make, model, colour and registration

When should I report the accident?

If you didn’t call the police as part of the incident itself, make sure to call 101 to report the accident within 24 hours (a legal requirement). This is important no matter how minor, such as a collision into a tree, or a signpost on a bend. A police report is important if you find yourself later claiming for car accident compensation.

You should also call your car insurance company at the first convenient time (and certainly within 24 hours) even if you are not at fault.

How long do you have to go to the doctor after a car accident?

If you have been injured in any way from the car accident, you should seek medical help immediately.

If the injury is minor, you should make an appointment to see your GP at the earliest possible time – any delays could impact any claim for compensation you may want to make.

If symptoms only show themselves a few days down the line, then be sure to contact your doctor as soon as they do and make an immediate appointment.

Is there a time limit to claim for a car accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, then you may be entitled to compensation.

All personal injury compensation claims must be filed no more than three years from the date of the accident, so make sure you contact Cute Injury as soon as possible and, if you had an accident within the last three years, give us a call today.

For accidents that occurred more than three years ago, we may still be able to help - so don't hesitate to get in touch.

We are specialists in car accident claims and can help you if you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault. We work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay us a penny for our legal expertise until the case is found in your favour.

For more information, or to start a claim through Cute Injury today, give us a call or fill out our contact form to have an advisor call you back at a time convenient to you.

CALL US FREE ON 08000 10 60 66 or use our CLAIM CALCULATOR

Cute Injury can help you begin your potential claim, get in touch with us today

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