1. First steps
- If the accident is serious , the cars should not be moved. If the accident is minor and the cars are blocking the road or are a danger to other road users, the cars should be moved and marked. Take care when moving damaged cars. Make sure the car engines are turned off and that there is no dangerous debris left on the road.
- Try to warn oncoming traffic of the accident , so as not to cause another accident. The minimum step is to warn others is to turn on your hazard lights. If the accident happens near a bend in the road, make sure you give warning to traffic on both sides of the bend. If you need to ask for another road users help to warn traffic, do so right away.
- If someone is injured you must contact the Gardai as well as the ambulance services.
2. Wait for the emergency services to arrive
You must stop your car and remain at the scene of the accident for a reasonable time. If a Garda is present at the scene of the accident you must give, when requested, personal, vehicle and insurance details.
If there is no Garda present you must, when requested, give this information to:
- The injured person where a person has been injured
- To the owner where property has been damaged
- If none of these are present the information should be given to some independent person who was present when the accident occurred.
Photograph the Car Accident. It’s a good idea to photograph, using your mobile phone the scene of the car crash the damage to, and position of the vehicles concerned.
3. Stay at the scene of the accident
It is critical that you do not leave the scene of the accident for any reason. “Hit and run” Section 106 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, (as amended) covers everything from leaving the scene of a minor scrape in a car park up to driving away from the scene of a fatal accident. Note that section 106 requires reporting “where injury is caused to a person or property”. The law looks upon a person leaving the scene of an accident with severity and in general the penalty for not being at the scene of an accident is the same as the most severe penalty that the hit-and-run driver is trying to avoid.
4. Get medical assistance
Get medical assistance if you are injured. If an ambulance arrives at the scene you will be taken to the nearest A & E unit for treatment . If you have an injury but not taken to hospital it is important to attend your GP as soon as possible to allow them to take note of the injury
5. Know about the MIBI
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) protects all drivers where the other driver is uninsured, leaves the scene or is a foreign driver. Any driver suffering injury or property damage can make a claim to the MIBI, even if the make, colour or registration number of the other car is unclear . Even if you have a collision with an uninsured and disqualified driver you will still be covered by the MIBI as if the other party were fully insured. The MIBI will generally interview all claimants to establish the veracity of their claim .
6. Talk to your insurer
You should report the accident to your own insurance company while at the scene of the accident . Your insurer will explain all the steps that may be required to take, and, importantly, you have put them on notice of the incident and ensure that you will be fully covered whatever the circumstances. Note that many insurance policies require that you do not admit liability for the accident.
Disclaimer: this article is intended for general information only and is not intended to be exhaustive or a legal interpretation of Road Traffic Law.