Whether you've been involved in a minor collision or a significant accident it is important to follow basic steps in either case to ensure the incident is correctly dealt with. We have prepared the below information to give assistance to anyone unfortunate enough to be involved in a Road Traffic Accident.
STEP 1: Immediately after the accident:
Immediately after the collision/accident STOP your vehicle in a SAFE position if possible and turn off your engine. Assess yourself for any obvious injury and assess your surroundings for any signs of further danger.
Do not attempt to move your vehicle from its resting position provided it is SAFE to do so.
Gardai may need to investigate the circumstances of the accident and will use the resting position of both vehicle as a starting point.
You may feel under pressure from other road users to move the vehicle if obstructing traffic.
You may also feel under pressure to use your vehicle to transfer injured parties to hospital.
If you are unsure whether to move your vehicle or transport injured persons to hospital contact An Garda Siochana immediately, seek their advice, and follow their advices.
You are unlikely to be trained in dealing with specific injuries and moving persons who are injured may in turn cause further injury to them.
By moving your vehicle from the scene of the accident you may in fact be committing an offence.
If you or any other person are injured contact the emergency services immediately.
Persons who are not injured and who remain mobile should attempt to move to a SAFE location in the viscinity of the accident but at a safe distance away from any obvious dangers such as road traffic, particularly if the accident occurs on a busy motorway.
If there are serious injuries or if parties are trapped in their vehicles await assistance from An Garda Siochana, Fire and Ambulance services.
STEP 2: Gardai and Emergency Services arrive:
Following your call, Gardai will likely attend the scene and conduct an investigation. If parties are injured an ambulance may attend the scene along with the Fire Services if required.
Gardai will take details of each of the parties involved particularly their contact details, insurance details, vehicle details and generally take statements from witnesses.
It is important to remain calm following an accident. In most cases it is relatively easy to determine from the mechanics of the crash who was at fault. Do not attempt to attribute blame at this stage as the incident is stressful enough for all parties, including the party in the wrong. The main priority should be to ensure everyone is SAFE and the proper HELP is sought if necessary.
For particularly minor Road Traffic incidents An Garda Siochana may not be obliged to attend the scene. However, best practice would indicate that a call at the very least should be made and a record kept of the member of An Garda Siochana you spoke with.
STEP 3: Exchanging Information:
It will be helpful for each party to make a note of the following information following a Road Traffic Accident:
The registration number of vehicles involved.
The date and time of the collision.
The weather and road conditions at the time.
The name, address and contact number for the driver of the other vehicle. If more than one vehicle involved it is best to obtain this information from each driver, regardless of who you think may be at fault.
Take a note of anything which may have contributed to the accident; lack of sign posting, faulty traffic lights, mud/oil on the road, unattended livestock.
If you have a smartphone take a picture of the other drivers Insurance disk which should be placed on their windscreen.
Take a note of what the other drivers comments are on the accident. What they believed happened.
If anyone witnessed the incident take their name, address and contact number. Witnesses can at times be crucial to determine liability.
Again, if you have a smartphone take detailed pictures of any damage to either vehicle. In addition, if there was an obstruction, lack of signage, oil on the road take a photograph as these will again be crucial to determine liability.
Contact HUGHES WALSH Solicitors:
If you have been the victim of a Road Traffic Accident, regardless of the severity, you should arrange an appointment with one of our Expert Solicitors to discuss your options. Keep in mind that generally a Claimant will have 2 years to bring a claim for Injuries sustained in a Road Traffic Accident under The Statute of Limitations.
On the other hand, following a Road Traffic Accident you may be the cause of the collision. An Garda Siochana may seek to bring a prosecution and should this be the case you will be entitled to a Defence. We offer both Private and LEGAL AID assistance should you need to obtain our advices.
The information contained above is intended as a guide only and does not purport to be legal advice. Independent and specific legal advice should be sought.