9 steps to take if you are involved in a car accident


 9 steps to take if you are involved in a car accident

Below are some simple but often essential steps to take when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Please note that this information is published for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

1. Do not leave the scene
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, Irish law requires you to stop. Do not leave the scene of the accident. If you do not stop, you may be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, even if the accident was not your fault.

2. Take safety precautions
You should put on your hazard lights and/or use a warning triangle (if you have one) in order to warn other motorists and prevent another accident. If the accident is on a corner instruct somebody to warn oncoming traffic of the danger.

3. Call the Gardai and get documentation
Attend to your injuries and your passengers’ injuries, and make sure that any responding parties such as the Gardai or ambulance personnel know about all injuries. It is important to contact the Gardai and have an independent accident report created to document the facts. The Garda report should include all relevant information, including but not limited to the names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance companies of all parties involved in the accident. If you are physically able to do so, ask the reporting officer if they obtained the insurance information of the other driver(s). In any event, you should always obtain the following information:

(a) the other driver’s name, address, date of birth, telephone number, driver’s license number and expiration date, and insurance company and policy number;

(b) the other car’s make, year, model, license plate number and expiration date, and vehicle identification number (VIN);

(c) if the driver does not own the car, the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and insurance companies of the other car’s legal and registered owners; and

(d) the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any passengers in the car.

4. Take a picture or draw a diagram
If possible, you should personally look at and write down the license plate information of all the other vehicles involved in the accident. If you have a camera with you and you are physically able, it is extremely important to take PHOTOGRAPHS of the vehicles at the accident scene, preferably in the position that they came to rest after impact (if it is safe to do so). If you do not have a camera, draw a simple diagram of the accident; to the best of your ability, draw the positions of the cars involved, before, during and after the accident.

5. Identify witnesses
If you are physically able, try to obtain and write down the name, address and phone number of anybody who witnessed the accident, before they leave the accident scene. Often, people involved in an accident see or even talk to witnesses but fail to get their names. If witnesses leave before the police arrive at the accident scene, you may never be able to locate them. Independent witnesses are often crucial to determining fault for an accident.

6. Watch what you say
Avoid discussing the accident with anyone other than the Gardai or your insurance company. What you say can and probably will be used against you in a court of law. Do not discuss who was to blame with the other involved parties,  it is up to either the courts or the insurance companies to decide  who was at fault. Be courteous, but be extremely mindful of your choice of words.

7. Get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible
Sometimes the severity of injuries is not immediately known, and what may appear to be a minor or moderate injury can eventually become much more serious. This is especially true with head injuries or possible internal bleeding that may not be evident to you immediately following the accident. Sometimes pain may also be hidden by the fact that the patient is suffering from shock and the extent of an injury may not emerge until sometime after the accident, therefore you should always get checked by a medical professional.

8. Call your insurance company
Contact your insurance broker or insurance company and give them whatever information they need regarding the accident. This is especially important if the other driver does not have insurance, or if you are hit by a hit-and-run driver, who flees the accident scene. You are required to notify the Gardai as soon as possible after the accident occurs.  

9. Take good photographs
It can be helpful if you do not have a camera in the car at the time of the accident, you take PHOTOGRAPHS of the property damage to your vehicle and any injuries you suffered in the accident. Try to take the photographs outside in good light from as many different angles as possible. If you do not have good lighting or you are taking photographs indoors, make sure that you use a flash when taking the photographs.



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