As soon as I turned seventeen I applied for my provisional licence.
Granted, it took numerous lessons and two attempts to allow me to put “pedal to metal” but I was determined because in my heart I knew I was the next Schumacher. In 2006 doing my usual perfect lap of the Trasna roads, I lost control of my car and landed upside down, in a ditch in spectacular fashion.
Whilst some misguided people would argue with me – I believe that I am a good driver – however a moment of inattention could have changed my life or another’s forever.
Given the increase in car ownership over the last number of years it is very likely that we as drivers, cyclists or pedestrians we will be affected by a road traffic collision at some point during our lives.
Having represented plaintiffs and defendants in litigation for a number of years it has been my experience that clients find the mechanism and the aftermath of a car accident surreal and frightening.
An accident takes place so quickly that it can take weeks or even months to process. Many clients worry that they have said too much at a scene of an incident or have said too little.
If you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident, whether or not the Accident is your fault, you must stop particularly if anyone else involved or injured or if you have observed damage to a street sign or light.
After making sure that all parties are safe and well:
Find a safe place to stop if your vehicle or bicycle is drivable.
Ensure that any passengers and pets are taken to a safe place.
Remember to switch your engine off and make sure your hazard lights are on.
You must inform the PSNI and obtain medical assistance if needed.
Exchange details with the other parties involved in the incident including witnesses.
Take their names, addresses, contact numbers, car registration along with insurance details. It is useful if you take a note of the colour and make of the other car.
If it is safe to do so you should take a photograph of the damage along with a photograph of the location.
In order to comply with your insurance you need to advise your insurance company of the incident immediately. If you do not tell them about the incident they may refuse to indemnify you.
- Keep a note of all telephone calls made to the Insurance Company.
Jot down the names of each operator you speak to along with their extension number and email.
I also recommend clients contact the PSNI to give them the details of the incident regardless of whether injury or damage has been caused. A simple call to the non-emergency number which is currently 101 is a good contemporaneous note if the incident is queried by any of the other parties.
The PSNI will normally log the call but will not attend routine incidences. However if the other party becomes aggressive, someone is injured or one of the vehicles or individuals are causing a hazard please ask the PSNI to come immediately to the scene.
My advice is not to engage in a conversation as to liability as verbal statements could be used against you if proceedings issue instead advise the other party that you would prefer the insurance companies to deal with the matter.
PATRICK PARK SOLICITORS
17A MARKET STREET,LURGAN