How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident?

How Much Time Do You Have To Report A Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident while driving, then there are certain organisations or individuals which you might have to report this too. You may have questions about how much time you have to report a car accident, and that’s understandable. There are different time limits in place for reporting to different groups, such as the police and your car insurance provider. There’s also a separate time limit for starting a personal injury claim for any injuries or damage sustained in the car accident.

report a car accident

In this guide, we explain the different time limits you have to consider when reporting a car accident. We also explain who you need to report to. Also, we cover other legal requirements that you may need to follow while reporting a car accident and making a compensation claim.

Get In Touch With Our Team

You can contact UK Law for free specialist advice on car accident claims. Our panel of lawyers can help with any queries you may have about reporting a car accident. And if you are considering a compensation claim following a road traffic accident, our panel of lawyers can also advise on your potential claim.

You can contact us online through our live chat service or by completing our claim online form. You can also phone us on 020 3870 4868

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About How Long You Have To Report A Car Accident
  2. What Is A Collision Report?
  3. How Do I Report A Road Traffic Incident?
  4. Who Do You Notify Of A Road Traffic Incident?
  5. How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To The Police?
  6. How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To An Insurer?
  7. Are There Time Limits For Reporting Hit And Run Accidents?
  8. Are There Time Limits For Reporting Car Accidents To The MIB?
  9. Car Accident Compensation Calculator
  10. What Happens If You Don’t Report A Minor Car Accident?
  11. Table Of Time Limits For Reporting A Car Accident
  12. I Suffered An Injury In A Car Accident, What Should I Do?
  13. Do You Handle Car Accident Injury Claims On A No Win No Fee Basis?
  14. Contact Us For More Help
  15. Other Information
  16. FAQs About Car Accident Claims

 

Everything You Need To Know About How Long You Have To Report A Car Accident

This guide tackles questions you may have regarding time limits for reporting a car accident. This information applies to any car accident involving at least one vehicle.

We’ll cover who you need to report your accident to. This guide also explains the time limit in place for each group you have to report to. We also explain how much time you have to start a compensation claim for a car accident and how that process works.

What Is A Collision Report?

If you submit a report to the police about a road traffic accident (RTA) you were involved in, that report is known as a collision report. If a police officer is present at the scene of an RTA, they may complete a collision report there. Alternatively, they may complete it later at the police station.

You may send the police a collision report yourself if there are possible offences which they need to investigate. If you’ve been in a non-injury collision and all the required details have been exchanged with those involved, there’s no legal requirement for you to report the collision to the police.

The graph above comes from the Department of Transport’s annual report on reported road casualties for 2019/20. It shows the level of road traffic casualties involving car occupants in the UK between 2009 and 2019. In 2019 alone, 736 car occupant fatalities were reported.

How Do I Report A Road Traffic Incident?

After being in a road traffic accident, you may be under a legal responsibility to report it to the police. If this is the case, you can only report the accident to them either at a police station or to a police officer in person. You cannot make this type of report by telephone. You may be able to report your accident to the police online. However, not all police forces can provide online reporting.

If you’re involved in a car accident, you should stop and exchange certain details if one or more of the following has happened:

  • A person (besides yourself) has been injured.
  • Damage has been caused to another vehicle or someone else’s property. This can include street signs, street lamps and bollards.
  • An animal (other than any in your own vehicle/trailer) has been injured or killed.

While stopped at the scene of the accident, you should share the following details with other road users involved in the accident:

  • Your name and address.
  • The vehicle owner’s name and address if you’re not in your own vehicle.
  • Your vehicle’s registration number if anyone has reasonable grounds to ask for those details.
  • Your certificate of insurance if anyone has reasonable grounds to see it.

If you don’t give your name and address at the accident scene, you must report your accident at a police station or to a police officer as soon as you can. You can contact UK Law for free if you need advice on how to report a road accident correctly.

Who Do You Notify Of A Road Traffic Incident?

The full list of groups and individuals you should report a road traffic accident (RTA) to depends on its circumstances. Following this kind of incident, you could be required to notify each one of the following:

The other vehicle’s owner (if they were not present)

If you damage a vehicle or property in an accident and the owner is not present, you will need to notify them of what has happened. You could leave a note where the owner can see it. The note should include your name, address and your vehicle registration number.

Your insurance provider

You should inform your insurance provider if you are involved in an accident with your vehicle. They may need to get involved in the claims process.

The police

If you failed to stop at the scene of the accident or swap driver details, you should report your road traffic accident to the police. Alternatively, you may need to inform the police if someone else involved in your RTA has breached the law in some way. Another driver may have left without giving their own details or could turn out to be uninsured.

Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)

If you are in a road traffic incident with a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured driver, you should contact the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to claim compensation. Again, this is something that we can help you with.

The owner of the vehicle (if it’s not you)

If the vehicle you had your RTA in is not your own, you should notify whoever the owner is about the incident. In situations where you’re driving a hire vehicle, then you should inform the hire company which has provided it. If you are driving a company vehicle, then report the accident to your employer.

Your lawyer (if you have one)

If you have a lawyer, then you should contact them as soon as reasonably possible if you intend to make a compensation claim. If you don’t have a lawyer but need legal advice, you can contact UK Law for free support from our panel of lawyers.

How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To The Police?

If you are in a car accident and need to report it to the police, you should do so within 24 hours of it taking place. You will need to report a car accident you’re involved in to the police if you don’t provide your details at the time of the accident.

How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To An Insurer?

After being involved in a car accident, you should report it to your car insurance provider as soon as you can. Many insurers specify that you need to inform them about an accident within 24 hours of the incident.

It’s worth checking the wording of your insurance details to confirm how long you have to report a car accident to them, however. Whatever it says, it’s always best to report your accident to your insurer as soon as you can. This applies whether or not you intend to claim compensation for the accident.

Are There Time Limits For Reporting Hit And Run Accidents?

If you are in a collision with a hit and run driver, you will need to report this incident to the police. You should do so within 24 hours of when the incident took place.

Someone is considered a hit and run driver if they damage someone else’s vehicle or property and leave the scene without giving their details or reporting the accident to the police. Hit and run drivers are in breach of the law, so it’s important to report them to the police as soon as you can.

Unfortunately, a hit and run driver may be untraceable even after reporting them to the police.

Are There Time Limits For Reporting Car Accidents To The MIB?

You can apply for compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau if you are hit by an untraced or uninsured driver. As standard, there is a three-year time limit for submitting a claim to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. The time limit starts from the day the accident took place.

Car Accident Compensation Calculator

When looking to claim compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident, there are other questions you may have besides how much time you have. You may also ask yourself something along the lines of ‘how much compensation will I receive?’

This can be tricky to answer because the compensation you could receive is based on many factors. The type of injuries you have, the severity of them and how they directly impacted your finances are all taken into account. Whether you are considered blameless or share liability with another party can also affect the compensation amount.

In the table below, you can calculate your potential compensation based on estimated payouts for certain injuries. The injuries listed are ones that could have possibly affected you in your car accident. The estimated figures are taken from the Judicial College guidelines. This is a frequently updated publication that solicitors may use to value injuries.

InjurySeverityCompensation
Brain InjuryVery Severe£264,650 to £379,100
Brain InjuryModerately Severe£205,580 to £264,650
Face Injury - ScarringVery Severe£27,940 to £91,350
Face Injury - ScarringLess Severe£16,860 to £45,440
Eye InjuryLoss Of Sight In One Eye£46,240 to £51,460
Eye InjuryMinor£3,710 to £8,200
Back InjurySevere£36,390 to £151,070
Back InjuryModerate£11,730 to £36,390
Neck InjuryModerate£7,410 to £36,120
Neck InjuryMinorFrom around £2,300 to £7,410

The injuries and estimated compensation figures in the table fall under ‘general damages’. It relates to the physical pain and psychological suffering caused by the injuries.

In addition to being compensated for general damages, you may also receive compensation for ‘special damages’. Special damages account for financial losses which were directly caused by your injury. You could potentially receive compensation for the following under special damages:

  • Earnings lost due to having to take unpaid time off work while recovering from your injuries.
  • Money spent on medical care for your injuries.
  • Travel costs that have accumulated in order to receive medical care for your injuries.

For a more specific assessment of your injuries or to learn more about what you can factor into a road traffic accident compensation claim, please get in touch with our team on the number at the top of this page.

What Happens If You Don’t Report A Minor Car Accident?

A car accident involving another road user or somebody else’s property always needs to be reported in time. This applies even if the accident you’re in can be considered a minor one. Failing to report a car accident can put you in breach of the law and lead to financial penalties.

If you don’t exchange details at the car accident scene or report it to the police, you could be charged for these offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Consequently, you could receive a fine, have points added to your driver’s licence or even face up to six months’ imprisonment.

Failing to report a minor car accident to your insurer (or taking too long to do so) can create issues too. Your insurer may cancel your policy. They may also refuse to insure you in the future.

If a minor car accident you’re involved in wasn’t entirely your fault, you could miss out on compensation if you don’t report it. Generally, the time limit for claiming compensation for a car accident is three years from the day it took place. Even if that sounds like a while, it’s always worth starting the process as soon as you can. Car accident cases can sometimes prove complex and take a while to start properly, even if the incident was minor.

You can contact UK Law for advice on who to report to if you’ve been in a car accident. An advisor can also advise on the time limit for making a compensation claim for injuries suffered in a car accident.

Table Of Time Limits For Reporting A Car Accident

It could be difficult for some to keep track of who they have to report a car accident to. Remembering the time limits for each group you need to report to could prove confusing too. That’s why we’ve created the table below to make it easier to keep track of what time limits you need to follow to report a car accident in time.

As you can see in the table, there are three main time limits to consider when reporting a car accident. If you did not exchange details at the scene of the accident, you will have to report the incident to the police. You also need to report the accident to your vehicle’s insurance provider. Finally, if you have grounds to claim compensation for your car accident, you should be aware of the time limit for starting your claim.

Type Of Time LimitRelevant Time Limit
Time limit for reporting a car accident to the policeWithin 24 hours of the accident taking place
Time limit to report to insurance companyWithin 24 hours of the accident taking place
Time limit to start a claimUsually three years from the date of the accident. Certain circumstances could change the time limit. You can speak to a solicitor for advice on the time limit to start a claim on your accident.

You can speak to the advisors at UK Law for free if you need advice on who to report a car accident to and the time limits to follow.

I Suffered An Injury In A Car Accident, What Should I Do?

If you are injured in a car accident then you may be entitled to compensation if the incident wasn’t your fault. It may even be possible to receive some compensation if you were partially to blame for the accident that injured you. But you may be unsure of what to do immediately after being in a car accident.

Your first actions after being injured in a car accident should be to seek medical care. It’s vital to get whatever treatment you require for your injuries. You should get any medical evidence you can obtain when you’re treated for injuries caused by a car accident, such as a letter from the hospital or doctor. This evidence could potentially support your future personal injury claim.

After receiving the medical care you need, the next step is to collect other evidence which can support your compensation claim. This can include photos, dashcam footage, CCTV footage and witness contact details.

When you’ve gathered the evidence you can acquire, you should then get in touch with a qualified solicitor who can support your claim. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a solicitor who specialises in road traffic accident cases. The solicitor you contact can review your potential case based on the information and evidence you provide them. If they are confident that your case can succeed, you can then sign a No Win No Fee agreement with your chosen solicitor. They’ll then guide you through the formal proceedings in your case.

If you have questions about a potential car accident claim you want to make, you can contact UK Law for free advice. We can put you in touch with our panel of lawyers who can help you with starting a car accident claim.

Do You Handle Car Accident Injury Claims On A No Win No Fee Basis?

Our panel of personal injury lawyers are able to handle your car accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis. They can answer any questions you may have on making a claim or other types of personal injury claim.

Signing an agreement with a solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis offers several advantages to you. The main ones provide a degree of financial security. These benefits include the following:

  • You won’t be required to pay any solicitor fees upfront while your claim is being set up or processed.
  • If your case is unsuccessful, you will not need to pay your solicitor’s legal fees.
  • Your solicitor should work hard on your case since they face more risk.
  • You will only need to pay your solicitor’s legal fees if you win your compensation case.

Under a No Win No Fee agreement, your solicitor will take a small percentage (capped by law) from your compensation if you win your case. You can review the details of your contract with your solicitor (which should explain how payment works) before signing it.

Contact Us For More Help

Looking for more advice on reporting a car accident? Want to know more about making a claim for a road traffic accident? You can contact UK Law for free specialist support. Our panel of lawyers can advise you on any queries you may have about what to do after a car accident. You can reach us through the following methods:

Other Information

You can check out the resources below for more useful information on road traffic accident claims:

Road Traffic Accident Solicitors Guide

You can read our guide explaining how road traffic accident solicitors can support your compensation claim after being in a car accident.

Pedestrian Hit By A Car At A Junction – Claims Guide

In this guide, we explain what to do if you’re involved in an accident involving a pedestrian being hit by a car at a junction.

MIB – Claiming against an untraced driver

You can use this section of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to start your claim for compensation if you’re in a car accident caused by an untraced driver.

FAQs About Car Accident Claims

Could I claim if my child was injured?

If your child is injured in a car accident, then you could potentially claim compensation on their behalf as a litigation friend. A child cannot claim compensation on their own behalf until they turn 18.

Can I claim against a family member?

If you are injured in an accident caused by a family member, then you are fully entitled to make a compensation claim against them. Being related to the person responsible should not affect how your claim is processed.

Can I claim if I didn’t wear a seatbelt?

You can still make a personal injury claim for a road accident even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. In such cases, however, it may be more difficult to prove that someone else’s negligence contributed to your injuries. 

Can I claim if I was partially at fault?

You can still make a claim on a road traffic accident even if you consider yourself partially at fault for it. In cases where liability is split between two or more parties, a reduced amount of compensation is paid out. For example, your compensation will be reduced by half if you are considered 50% responsible for an accident.

Thanks for reading our guide on how to report a car accident and what time limits to follow.

 

Guide by SZ

Edited by REG