“But he admitted fault at the scene; how can he now say that I caused the accident?!”
“There were witnesses at the scene and they all saw what happened, I didn’t take down their details though”
“The Police were called but no report was compiled”
“How can there be claims for passengers when she was the only one in the car?!”
These are some of the regular comments that my clients have made over the years. They have been involved in seemingly simple road traffic accidents and then they have ended up on the receiving end of allegations of fault themselves. At the time of the accident, it might be blindingly clear who was at fault for a collision, however, all too often the responsible party can adapt the circumstances to try to avoid being held liable. It becomes a question of available evidence and witness credibility to determine who was to blame for a collision.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident, providing that your injuries are not too serious there are several practical tips you should follow:
Take full details from the other driver(s). You should try to obtain a full name and address of any other driver involved;
Take down the registration number of the other vehicle(s). In the unlikely event that the other party provides you with a false name and address, taking the registration down will enable your insurer or solicitor to carry out checks on the vehicle and increase your chances of identifying the responsible driver;
If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the position of all vehicles immediately after the accident;
Check the area of damage to the other vehicle(s) and take photographs if you are able to do so;
Try to see how many people are in the other vehicles, for instance is the driver alone or is he/she travelling with passengers. Look at the approximate age of the passengers;
Take down contact details for any witnesses, including their name, address, telephone number and vehicle registration;
Write down the exact location, taking a note of any landmarks;
Look around and see if you can see any CCTV;
If the other party refuses to provide their details, contact the Police;
Report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible so that the accident circumstances are fresh in your mind.
If you have been injured in a road traffic accident or you are facing a claim against you, it is extremely helpful to have the evidence listed above in order to bring or defend your claim. It is incredibly frustrating for clients when they know that they could have done nothing to avoid the collision but it is their word against the other driver. Evidence of the damage to each vehicle is important as quite often, the damage will show which version of events is most likely. After an accident you can go into shock, however, if you bear the advice above in mind, you may save yourself a lengthy legal battle at a later date.
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and you would like to make a personal injury claim or require advice, please contact our specialist Personal Injury Team on 0845 287 0939 or by email and we will be more than happy to help you.