News & Info

What should you do if you’re involved in a road traffic accident?

Being involved in a road traffic accident, can be a traumatic experience, regardless of how serious the incident was. The shock of being involved in a crash can make it difficult to think clearly about what you need to do.

Solicitor Maria Lakes, who specialises in road traffic accident claims, says there are several steps you should take following any kind of road accident.

“Most people are unaware of what they should do after something as traumatic and unexpected as a car crash. But there are certain immediate actions you should take, if you’re able to. These can help protect you if you’re going to make a claim for compensation at a later date,” explains Maria.

1. Seek medical attention

Your health and the safety of others should be your first priority. Take a moment to assess if you or other passengers have any injuries or need medical attention, and call an ambulance if necessary.
Maria explains, “Even if you feel relatively OK after the accident or have minor injuries, it’s still important to seek medical attention from your GP or A&E as soon as possible after the accident. If you’re feeling any symptoms, don’t ‘wait and see’; go to your doctor or hospital to be assessed.”

Some minor injuries can progress to more serious injuries in the future, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry and get checked out,” she adds.

2. Gather as much information as you can at the scene

Once you’re safe and able to move around, it’s important to take note of the details of the accident. This includes:

  • Details of other drivers, people involved or witnesses to the accident. Take note of their name, address, contact information. Take photos of the insurance discs and registration plates of any vehicles involved.
  • Names and contact details of any emergency service workers at the scene. Ask for their station number and the Pulse ID number of any Gardai who attend the scene.
  • Take pictures of the scene and damage to all vehicles involved from different angles. Make sure you take as many as possible, showing the weather conditions or anything that could have contributed to the accident.
  • Record the time and date of the accident.</li

3. Report the incident to the Gardai

Regardless of how minor or serious the incident was, you must report the accident to the Gardai.

“If the Gardai don’t attend the scene, you should visit your nearest Garda station to provide a statement on the accident,” says Maria. “This should be done as soon as is reasonably possible but ideally within 48 hours. If you don’t report the accident, it can be more difficult to prove your case, even if the other driver was at fault. This is especially the case if the other driver has no insurance.”

4. Contact your insurance company

You must inform your own insurance company as soon as possible after the accident so they have a record of the accident.

5. Keep all receipts and reports

In the days and weeks after the incident, make sure you keep all receipts for anything you’ve been out of pocket for as a result of the accident. This includes all repairs made to your car, health expenses, travel expenses, including fuel receipts, if you’ve had to attend a hospital or clinic.

“If in doubt, hold on to the receipt just in case,” advises Maria. “And make sure you keep a copy of any medical or Garda reports as you will need them if you are making a claim.”

6. Speak to a road traffic accident solicitor

If the accident was a result of someone else’s negligence, consider legal advice to find out the best way to handle a compensation claim.

“When you’ve had time to get over the shock of the accident, call a personal injury solicitors’ office for a confidential discussion about the incident,” says Maria. “You will never regret getting professional advice to help you make an informed decision. There is generally no fee to tell a solicitor what happened, and they can assess whether you’ve got a case.”

If you’ve had a road traffic accident and would like to discuss making a claim, call us on 01 649 9900 or email us at