Details That You Should Exchange At The Scene Of A Motor Accident
In this article we discuss the legal requirement to exchange details at a motor accident scene involving personal injury or vehicle/other property damage; what to do if the other a party is not present at the time of the accident; reporting to the police if you wrongly leave the accident scene without providing details. We further discuss who is entitled to be provided with your details and how a personal injury claim can still proceed via the MIB if the driver who caused the accident is not insured or makes off in a hit and run without providing details.
What details should be exchanged at the accident scene involving a car or other motor vehicle?
In the UK motor vehicle drivers are required by law to provide certain details at an accident scene – where a person is injured or there is vehicle damage or property damage.
The full details of what should be exchanged are set out on the government website. In brief they include: your vehicle registration number, name and address of you as the driver, the name and address of the vehicle owner if different than yourself.
What if you cause damage to a vehicle, but the owner is not present?
In this instance – at the very least you should leave your contact details on the owner’s windscreen, so that he can contact you to get the full required details.
What should you do if you leave a motor accident scene without exchanging your details?
As explained earlier – you should leave your details at the accident scene, but sometimes you may panic or be met with extreme aggression by another driver, such that you wrongly flee.
It is in this instance essential that you contact the police within 24 hours and give the full details of the accident events and all your required details that you should have exchanged.
Who is entitled to be provided with your details?
The test is whether that person or body has “reasonable grounds for requiring them”.
Examples of who has reasonable grounds include:
- Someone injured in an accident. For example – a pedestrian hit by a car or another motor vehicle driver who is injured and suffers vehicle damage in a collision on the road.
- The police. When an accident on the road occurs and someone suffers personal injury – the police should produce a police accident report, which will give specific details about how the accident occurred, have statements from those involved and have technical details such as tyre skid marks, etc. In addition, when a road accident occurs there is not only the matter of a civil personal injury claim, but also a potential criminal matter that the police may wish to investigate under the Road Traffic Act. Such criminal acts include dangerous driving ; careless/inconsiderate driving and failure to stop / report an accident.
- The motor insurance company of the driver at fault and the third party. Both the motor insurer of the driver who caused the accident and the motor insurer of the person whose vehicle was damaged and suffered injury. The motor insurers would wish to investigate who is legally at fault and meet their liability under the respective motor vehicle insurance policies.
- Your solicitor. You may have been injured in a road accident and any solicitor you instruct would need the driver at fault details, so that a claim could be commenced for personal injury and financial loss.
- The council or land owner. In the motor accident council property, such as traffic lights or bollards, may have been damaged. Alternatively, you may have been a house owner when due a collision a vehicle enters onto your land causing significant property damage.
What happens if the driver is not insured?
If the driver who caused the accident is not insured and therefore unable to provide motor insurance details – there is a potential criminal issue and an implication as to how a claim for personal injury can proceed.
Driving without insurance is a potential criminal offence under the Road Traffic Act. There are some potential escapes to prosecution, such as:
The driver did not know nor have reason to believe that the vehicle was not insured.
So far as your personal injury claim is concerned – there would seem to be no motor insurer to meet the claim. Fortunately, in the case of no insurance the Motor Insurers Bureau (often known better by the abbreviation MIB) will meet the liability of the driver as though he were insured by the MIB (subject to some restrictions).
Can you still claim for personal injury if the driver makes off in a hit and run before you can get any details?
As explained earlier – leaving the accident scene without providing details is a potential criminal offence under the Road Traffic Act and as before the Motor Insurers Bureau meet the liability.
Sometimes you or a witness to the accident may have taken the offender’s registration number down and from this the identity of the driver and his/her motor insurer can often be established.
Be aware – for the MIB to consider meeting your personal injury claim, it is essential that the accident is reported to the police.
Exchange Of Details Following A Motor Accident Summary & Next Steps
We have set out in this article the legal requirement to exchanged details following a car or other motor vehicle accident, the implications of not doing so and how to proceed with a personal injury claim whether the driver is insured, makes off or is not insured.
We recommend you see our road traffic accident article, which sets out how to prove fault and make a claim for personal injury compensation following an accident on the road involving a moor vehicle.
Should you wish to discuss your accident in person or have some questions answered please use our specialist solicitor free online help service.