Car Accident – should I report it?

Car accident. Should I report it? The answer is “it depends”.

A mechanically propelled vehicle is defined as a car, motorcycle, bus, lorry etc. If you’re the driver and involved in an accident on a road or public place and another person is injured, then this is a reportable accident. If damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property, then this is also a reportable accident. Property includes street lamps, signs, bollards etc. It also includes an animal that has been killed or injured. Animal means any horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog, (but not a cat). Then you must stop and provide your details to the other party.

In some cases you must produce your insurance certificate. If you don’t provide your details to the other party then the car accident must be reported to the police. It is against the law not to. Reports of a car accident cannot be made by phone, post or e-mail. A car accident report must be made in person. Car parks can be classed as public places e.g. supermarket and some multi-storey car parks. However, car parks belonging to private organisations where members of the public would not ordinarily be permitted are not classed as public places and a car accident occurring there should be reported directly to your insurance company.

If in doubt it is better to report the car accident to the police and be guided by their advice. You should report every car accident to your insurance company even if you were not at fault. The insurance company bases your quote and policy on information provided to them and if that changes it could invalidate your insurance policy. Reportable road traffic accidents have to be reported as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any case, within twenty-four hours. If the police suspect you are at fault then they may conduct an interview under caution with you. If this happens then you should seek legal advice.