What do you do if you have an accident on the road and the driver of the vehicle is not insured or leaves the accident scene?
Whether you are a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorist obviously this leaves you in a very worrying situation, particularly where the other party is at fault.
Here are ten steps to take if the other party in an accident drives off;
1. Never chase after the other vehicle
Clearly this is tempting, but you cannot put yourself in more danger and your own car or vehicle could be damaged. You need to stay where you are and keep yourself safe and off the road if possible. Erect a warning triangle if you have one in the car to warn oncoming vehicles.
2. Make sure you and your other passengers are safe
This may seem obvious but in a stressful situation this can be overlooked particularly if you are distracted by the fact that the offending party is attempting to leave the scene. Your own medical well-being and that of your passengers is the first priority.
3. Phone the Gardaí
Even if you do not have all the information it is important the accident occurrence is recorded. The Garda report is essential when filing a claim involving an untraced driver as a record that the accident occurred. In an era of rising insurance costs, the insurers’ radars are heightened to the possibility of fraudulent claims.
Unfortunately people have tried to commit insurance fraud by saying they were injured in a hit and run. The Garda report is official and will be treated as such by an insurer.
4. Locate any potential witnesses nearby
Speak with them and obtain their contact details including telephone number and address.
5. Record evidence
Use your smartphone to take photographs or video to record the aftermath of the accident from as many vantage points as possible.
6. Take notes
You would be surprised how when suffering shock in the aftermath of an accident your recollection can quickly disappear or change. Take a note of the time and place and the weather or any other unusual conditions. Write down make and the model and the colour of the vehicle if you can recall same. If you have the number plate vehicle registration, your solicitor will be able to carry out an owner search against the vehicle.
7. Look after your own safety
You must prioritise your own safety and if there are any vehicles that will put others in danger move them out of the way if possible. There may be road markings or other evidence that the Gardaí can take stock of in compiling the report but you cannot put yourself or others in danger. Above all now is the time to look after yourself and your own personal safety and of those with you.
8. Report the matter to your own insurer
You need to do this in circumstances even when you are not responsible for the accident occurring so as to comply with the obligations under your own policy of insurance.
9. Seek medical attention if required
This may require an immediate emergency ambulance response albeit some injury symptoms may not manifest themselves until some time afterwards. In any case evidence from medical practitioners is usually required if pursuing a claim for injury compensation*.
10. Seek legal advice
Prompt legal advice to comply with the notification requirements of the MIBI (The Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland, who handle claims involving uninsured and untraced drivers) is recommended or otherwise you may find yourself out of time to make a claim.
A portion of every car insurance premium in the Republic of Ireland is made by the insurer to the MIBI which covers the compensation costs of victims of accidents of uninsured drivers. This is unfortunately one of the reasons in Ireland why our car insurance premiums are high.
It is a technical system with specific rules to be followed in order to obtain relief, the MIBI does however provide justice to victims who otherwise would be deprived of compensation.
If you wish to talk to a solicitor please feel free to contact our expert injury law team at Carmody Moran Solicitors.