Guide: What To Do If You’re in a Car Accident

No one plans to be involved in an accident on the road but it can happen. Thankfully it’s compulsory by law to hold car insurance in Ireland – but what should you do in the event of an incident? Our guide takes you through the steps required when you’ve been involved in a car accident.

Try to remain calm and compose yourself with a few deep breaths.

What To Do After a Car Accident

Stop your car as safely and as soon as possible. Switch off the engine and switch your hazard lights on. It’s a criminal offence to leave the scene of an accident. Even the most minor car accidents can come as a shock, so try to remain calm and take a moment to compose yourself, a few deep breaths should help with this.

Check On the Others at The Scene

Check if you and your passengers are okay. Take a minute to assess the situation as you might be in a shocked state. If there’s another vehicle involved check everyone is okay. If anyone is in pain or injured from either vehicle call an ambulance immediately. Avoid moving anyone who may be badly injured.

Information You Should Get After an Accident

Take note of all the people involved in the accident. This is important in case queries or injuries are brought up at a later stage. By law you must give your name and address to everyone involved and they must share the same with you. You should also exchange the name and address of your insurance company with the other party.

Ask the other driver if they are the registered owner of the vehicle. If they are not, ask who is. The car may have been borrowed or could be a company vehicle. Take a note of the make, model and registration of the other vehicle(s) involved.

Note the detail of any injuries sustained on either side. Also make note of anyone who says they are not hurt. If there are any witnesses to the accident, take their names and addresses. If possible, it is helpful to take photos of:·

  • The damage caused to each vehicle – where the damage is, how severe it is etc.
  • The position of the cars on the road after the collision. This is especially important when determining who may have been responsible.

Basically, the more information you can collect, the better, as this will be helpful when the authorities are reviewing the incident. If possible, also try to note the following: the date, time, weather conditions, light conditions and state of the road at the incident.

Also be very careful what you say after an accident. Do not apologise to the other driver, admit responsibility or even discuss the accident at the scene. This applies even if you think you may be at fault.

Make sure to get the contact details of the other person involved.

What To Do in A Single Vehicle Accident

If you have damaged another car or someone’s property, you should take photos of the damage so that any later claims can’t be exaggerated. You should leave a note with your insurance and contact details somewhere that the other party can easily find them, under the windscreen wiper is a pretty handy spot. You should never assume that everything will just be alright and drive off without doing the above.

How To Report A Car Accident

Call the Gardaí, depending on the accident itself you may need to call the guards and/or an ambulance, this can be done by dialling either 999 or 112. It’s helpful to have somebody independent and qualified on the scene.

The guards will need to get involved if there appears to be drink or drugs involved or you suspect the other driver may have deliberately caused the accident. They will also need to be contacted if the other party refuses to share their vehicle and licence details, they try to leave the scene of the accident or if there are any injuries on either side.

You are legally required to notify the Gardaí of any injuries within 24 hours of the accident. The Garda website has FAQs that deal with reporting of a crime.

How To Make An Insurance Claim After An Accident

Notify your Insurance Company – After you’ve completed the above steps and had time to catch your breath you need to notify your insurance company of the accident. This must be done even if you’re not planning to make a claim on your insurance policy or if you intend to pay for the damage to the other vehicle yourself as the other party might still claim later. You must notify your insurance company of an accident within 7 days.

Your insurance company will look for your policy number or your name, address and car registration number as well as the registrations of any other cars involved, the name and contact details of the other driver, passengers or witnesses. The insurance company will also need the other driver’s insurance details, and any photos you took at the scene of the accident.

Make sure to take photos of the damage.

Beware of Fraudsters

There are some people who arrange accidents in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim. They may cause these accidents by braking unexpectedly, causing you to go into the back of their car. They may also intentionally disable their brake light bulbs, giving you no warning when they hit the brakes in front of you, and making it more likely you will crash into them.

After an encounter with one of these fraudsters, you might receive a letter from your insurance company highlighting the damage from the accident – the claims they make may be exaggerated to maximise the money they try to win back.

To help avoid these incidents, be especially careful in stop to start traffic, at merging junctions and roundabouts, always allow plenty of space between you and the car in front. Be wary of erratic driving behaviour such as slowing for no reason. If you notice faulty brake lights, increase your distance. Some drivers install dash-cams to prove their innocence against fraudulent claims.

How to contact AIG if you are in a car accident

Making a claim on your car insurance should be a stress-free experience. Following our guide will help simplify your claims process so that it can progress swiftly. At AIG we want to make things easy for our clients: make a car insurance claim by phone on 01 8599700 and you’ll be assigned a dedicated agent that will work with you from start to finish. You can instantly download our claim forms and mail them back to the agent to speed the process up further.

Obtain an online car insurance quote with AIG in just minutes and choose the level of cover that suits you best. Compare car insurance costs, benefits and more at AIG and make sure that you, your car and your passengers are fully protected.  

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