Road accidents and liability
Being involved in an accident that was not your fault can be both stressful and annoying, but it is important to stay calm. If it is clearly the fault of the other driver, all you can think about is the impending hassle you have just been lumbered with. Just remember that whatever the circumstances it will not help anyone if you lose your temper.
If the liability is not quite so clear cut, things can be rather more difficult and you will need to be careful not to say anything that may affect the outcome of any possible court proceedings, should it come to that.
Should I admit it was my fault?
Even if you think the accident was your fault, it may not necessarily be the case. Just tell the facts to the police investigating the incident, and let them establish what happened. There may be factors involved that you have not considered and although you think it might be the right thing to do, it's still better to let the accident investigators consider ALL the circumstances of the accident before even thinking about admitting liability.
Make notes of the positions of vehicles, speeds, directions, weather conditions etc. - in fact any information that may have affected the decisions you made when the accident happened. Do not be intimidated or bullied into admitting anything at the scene of the accident by others involved, remember that there may be things that you have not considered that could have contributed to the situation. You are not legally obliged to admit liability at the scene of an accident, so don't be pressured into doing so.
If you do admit anything at the scene, bear in mind that someone could quote you in any court case that may result, and it will be both difficult and more importantly, 'suspicious' if you suddenly change your story later. You may also have problems with any insurance or compensation claims you may wish to make, leaving you without a car and possibly facing some large repair bills.
How can I prove it was not my fault?
Probably one of the most important things you can do if you feel that the accident was not your fault, is to collect information from independent witnesses. There is nothing more valuable than a statement from someone who is not connected in any way to either the drivers involved, or the circumstances that caused the accident. An independent witness will have no vested interest in the welfare of either party and so their impartiality can prove crucial in establishing the facts of the case.
Most people have mobile phones with built-in cameras these days. If your phone has a camera then there are a number of things you could take pictures of that might help support your case.
- Positions of the vehicles at the scene
- Damage to the vehicles involved
- Damage to property, barriers or other roadside equipment
- Number plates of the vehicles involved
- Skid marks
The bottom line
If you are involved in an accident you could be injured, suffering from shock and experiencing a whole range of possible emotions. Under these conditions anyone can inadvertently say things that they might regret later. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm, and not admit to anything. Gather as much information as you can at the scene and contact your insurer or claims advisor as soon as you can.
Please give us a call us on 0845 6768898 or start your free claim enquiry using our online claim form.