Car accident’s and Motor vehicle collisions are on the decrease in Ireland. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) reported that there were 18% fewer collisions and 15% fewer fatalities on Irish roads in 2017, compared to the Garda data released for 2016, but sadly, they still happen every day.
If you are involved in a car accident with another vehicle, an object, or a pedestrian, there are certain procedures you must follow to comply with Irish law, even if the accident was not your fault. Failing to do so could lead to all kinds of trouble, and you could even invalidate your car insurance policy, and so we have prepared this useful checklist to guide you through the process of what to do in a car accident.
Steps to follows after a car accident:
Irish law requires you to stop at the scene of an accident, no matter how minor it may be. If you do not stop, you could be charged with leaving the scene of a road traffic accident – a serious crime that comes with a hefty fine, and in some cases, a prison sentence.
2. Assess Casualties
Next, assess yourself, your passengers, and third parties for injuries. If anyone is injured, call the Gardai and the emergency services immediately with as much information as possible as to your location, details of the car crash, and the injuries sustained.
3. Secure the Area
If someone is injured, it is essential that you take safety precautions to warn other motorists and prevent another collision. If it is safe to do so, put on your hazard lights, display your warning triangle, and if possible, enlist the help of witnesses to divert traffic.
4. Decide If You Should Move Your Car or Not
You need to assess the situation here. If the accident is minor, and your car is obstructing other motorists, then you can move it to the side of the road, but only if it is safe to do so. You should never move your car is the accident is serious and someone has been injured, and you should not move your car if it is leaking fuel.
5. Exchange Personal / Car Insurance Details
In Ireland, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging your private contact details and car insurance detail with the other driver. AA Ireland recommend that you share the following details:
- Name, home address and phone number
- Name of car insurance provider, policy number and contact phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle registration number
- Make, model and colour of car
- Name and number any Garda attending the scene of the accident
6. Take Photos and/or Draw a Diagram
It is recommended that you take photographs or at least draw a diagram to document any vehicle damage / road markings, particularly if blame is yet to be established.
7. Identify Witnesses
Independent witnesses often play a crucial role in establishing fault in road traffic accidents, and so it is essential that you collect the details of anyone who may have witnessed your accident. This is particularly important if the Guards are yet to arrive and potential witnesses want to leave the scene.
8. Avoid Discussing Liability
You should never discuss liability with the other driver involved in the car accident, even if you feel that you were responsible for the collision. Doing so could invalidate your car insurance. Likewise, you should not pressure the other driver to admit liability, leave this to the Gardai, any witnesses and your insurance company to decide.
9. Contact Your Car Insurance Provider
Even if the damage is minor, and you are not thinking of claiming on your insurance, it is important that you inform your car insurance company about your accident. Most car insurance policies stipulate that you must inform your insurers of any accident within a certain timeframe, so read the small print and act swiftly.
You are not obliged to make a claim, so if you’d rather keep your No Claims Bonus and pay for any repairs yourself, mention it to your insurer when reporting your accident.
10. Leaving the Scene
If the Gardai have advised that they will attend the scene of the accident, you must wait until they arrive. If your accident was minor, no one was injured, and the Guards have not been called, you are free to leave as soon as you have exchanged your personal contact and car insurance details with the other driver, providing your car is in a road worthy condition and safe to drive.