What to do if involved in a road traffic accident

At one stage or another throughout the course of your lifetime driving either you, a close family member of friend will be involved in a road traffic accident. Many accidents are minor in nature but some of course can be very serious. It is very important to know what to do immediately following a road traffic accident to ensure that your interests are fully protected should any issues arise with respect to the circumstances of the accident and the placing of liability with the party at fault.

It is always or immediate recommendation that you contact Martin A. Harvey & Co., Solicitors to take up the necessary advice following a road traffic accident, if possible. There are also a number of important considerations which should be undertaken at the scene of an accident to fully protect your interests going forward and the following should be considered:

1. Immediately check to see if you or your passengers have any injuries of any nature. If injuries are reported, it is imperative that you call the emergency services to seek assistance. Often, in road traffic accidents injuries do not arise for a number of days and it is always our recommendation, irrespective of the extent of the accident that you attend your medical physician for a check-up following a road traffic accident.

2. The positions of vehicles following a road traffic accident are often critical to the determination of liability. With this is mind, it is vital to take photographs of the positions of the vehicle following the accident. Photographs should be taken from as many angles as possible and it can also be very helpful for photographs to be taken of the immediate damage to the vehicle.

It is always our recommendation to contact An Garda Síochána and if possible, do not move the vehicles from the positions in which they were following the collision. This is often not possible and again, the photographs referred to above will be of assistance. Always make note of the identity of the Investigating Member and the relevant Garda Station.

Always take full details of the driver of the other vehicle. This should include name, address and full insurance details to include Insurance Company and policy number. In Ireland, you are obliged to display your original insurance disc in the window of your vehicle and a clear photograph should be taken setting out all the details.

Following the accident, it is important to assess the surrounding area to ascertain whether there is any CCTV footage on buildings or perhaps other vehicles may have caught the accident on dash cam footage.

If the driver of the vehicle at fault accepts liability then and there, it is always our recommendation you contact the Gardaí but it is also strongly advisable to have the other driver sign in writing a full admission of liability along the following lines:

I, fully accept that I am responsible for the accident which occurred at or about Patricks Street on the 1st of January 2019 in which my vehicle was involved with (your name).

Always ensure that the admission of liability is signed and dated.

Following a road traffic accident, even one of a minor nature, it is always important to uplift the necessary legal advice which you may not receive from an Insurance Company dealing with the matter on behalf of the party responsible. For example, the majority of vehicles involved in road traffic accidents will suffer some form of depreciation, car hire for the relevant period of repairs and any fees incurred concerning tow or storage to which you are fully entitled to. The amount of the depreciation will depend on the extent of the damage and the newness of your vehicle. We at Martin A. Harvey & Co., Solicitors will immediately appoint a Motor Assessor to inspect your vehicle and prepare an estimate of repairs.

It is also very important to note that you are fully entitled to have your vehicle repaired by your chosen panel beater/repairer. Insurance Companies will often seek to have the vehicle repaired by a nominated panel beater/repairer but you are entitled to have your vehicle repaired at a garage of your choice. If it is your vehicle then it is your choice where it is repaired.