It may seem clear cut at the time, but even the most seemingly straight forward accident circumstances are sometimes disputed. Whether it is a driver emerging from a minor road, or slamming into the back of a stationary vehicle, there are often conflicting versions of events. Many think liability for a collision of this nature is 'black and white' but much will depend on the evidence available, therefore it is essential that you obtain as much information as possible at the scene of a collision.
Take down the registration of the other vehicle, the make/model, colour, and exchange full details with the driver including their name, address and insurance details. This may seem like common sense but many drivers do not obtain all of this information; perhaps due to shock, or politeness, trusting that the responsible driver will “do the right thing”. Countless times my clients have informed me that the other driver admitted liability at the scene (and apologised profusely), only to later find out they are disputing liability altogether!
If you have a camera with you, take some photos, not just of the damage but also the position of both vehicles - this could be crucial when proving liability. If there are any witnesses be sure to take down their full contact details, and if there are CCTV cameras nearby, speak to the relevant person and ask that they preserve the footage. Many companies hold footage for as little as 10 days so you must act quickly.
Of course not every accident claim leads to a lengthy dispute over who was at fault, but for the ones that do, make sure you are well prepared!
By Katie Plappert