Steps to follow
As soon as the accident has taken place, obtain and exchange information with all other drivers involved including full names, registration numbers, insurance company names and policy numbers.
Take photographs of any injuries you may have suffered plus the damage to all vehicles – from a variety of angles – and of the scene of the accident in general.
If the police were called in, get a copy of the accident report from the responding officers and an incident number if there is one.
Collar any witnesses before they leave the scene and make a note of their full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. Write to them – either personally or through your solicitor – soon after the accident (while the incident is still fresh in their minds) asking for a written statement about what they saw and heard at the time of the accident.
Seek medical attention straight after the accident.
Make a note of any medical treatment you received including all visits to your GP, hospital or specialists such as physical therapists. Also document any prescriptions you receive, plus any over-the-counter medications, laboratory services or x-rays you require. Take a copy of any relevant documents and list the names of any medical professional you encounter including dates of visits, amount charged and reasons for seeing the medical providers.
Follow through with all medical treatments recommended.
If you have to take time off work because of the accident, keep a log of all the days you have missed, including time off for medical treatments and/or the inability to carry out your duties properly at work because of your injuries. Get your employer to confirm pay and lost time in writing.
Carry on taking photographs of your injuries at different periods after the accident. Note the date on the rear of the photo.
Keep a daily note of any pain, mood swings, discomfort, emotional anxiety, tiredness, inconvenience etc that you may be suffering as a result of the accident, listing all the ways your injuries have interfered with the way you go about your every day life and interact with people.
Get car repair estimates but don’t get your car fixed without the say so of your insurance company. When you do get your car fixed, keep all of the bills and repair paper work connected with the repair.
Hang on to records/receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses associated with the accidents or your injuries.
If you have an injury as a result of the accident and think you might be entitled to compensation, seek legal advice from a solicitor specialising in motor accidents as soon as possible, even if you think your claim is pretty clear cut.
Go to the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) website which will be able to direct you towards a solicitor specialising in motor accidents.
What to watch out for
Keep copies of absolutely everything (documents, bills, medical records, etc.).
Beware of unqualified claims handling companies – they may not offer you the best advice and may not be totally open about the costs involved.
If you think you have a good case for claiming compensation, don’t respond to any questions from the other side’s insurance company or lawyer or sign any forms without the go ahead from your solicitor.
If your were injured in the accident and the driver responsible is uninsured or untraceable, you may still be able to get compensation from the Motor Insurers Bureau – your solicitor will eb able to fill you in on this.
Solicitor’s top tip
Do not apologise or admit liability or offer to pay for any damage either at the scene of the accident or later on without legal advice. If the other driver does, tell your solicitor or insurer.
Motor Accident Solicitors Society
Motor Insurers' Bureau
Overview of motor accidents
I want to make an insurance claim
Choosing a personal injury lawyer
Overview of accidents at work
Drink driving and defences to drink driving
Do I need a lawyer? (personal)
What to consider when selecting a lawyer
Choices if you cannot afford a lawyer