The Personal Injury Blog

Accidents: The importance of reporting them

When we receive a new enquiry to pursue a personal injury claim it is common to find that the accident which caused the injury has not been reported to the Defendant either formally in an accident book or at all.

In these circumstances, the organisation you are claiming against may deny liability on the grounds that there is no evidence that the incident occurred, which makes it more difficult than it might have been to succeed with your claim.

It is very important for an accident victim to make sure that all the information regarding an accident has been recorded as soon as possible after it happens if they are considering making a claim arising from it. Whether you’ve had an accident in a supermarket, in the street, at a restaurant, or even an accident at work, you need to ensure that a detailed report of your accident is made at the time or as soon as possible afterwards and that the information included is correct.

We all know that following an accident, the first thing you think about is not to report it, but to worry about your injuries, whether you need to go to hospital or a doctor and getting over the initial embarrassment you may feel.

It is also a commonly-held belief that once you have taken the initial steps to make a claim your solicitor will report the accident for you. It is a lot easier to establish that an accident has occurred, when the injured person has reported the accident as soon as possible after the accident. This means that the Defendant or their insurers already have a record to refer to. It might even mean that liability investigations have already begun.

Below is a brief guide to reporting your accident:

Accident in a supermarket, store or on other premises

Find a member of staff, as they will be able to assist you with reporting the accident. A member of staff will normally record the accident in the accident book, and you may be required to sign a copy (make sure you agree with the description first). If they do not record the accident at the time, take a note of the staff member’s name, in order to identify them at a later date. It would also be desirable to take pictures of the area using your phone and to request a copy of the CCTV. If there is no one around at the time of your accident, follow this up with a phone call and/or a letter or email to the company.

Accident in the street – measure and photograph first before reporting!

Most council websites have a dedicated section for reporting defects and accidents online. They will often have an email address to contact them. However, it is always most effective to ring the council and report it directly to them, this way you know your accident has been recorded. Remember to take detailed photographs and measurements of the defect showing its width, height and location as soon as possible after it happens and before you report the accident to the Council as they may repair it before you are able to return to the scene. Remember to ask the Council to keep a copy of relevant CCTV for your solicitors. If you are not sure how to measure the defect, please contact your solicitors or us for information.

Accident at work

Report this to your manager as soon as possible, and ensure that it is recorded in the accident book. It is also sensible to ask whether there is any CCTV available, and if any of your colleagues witnessed the accident, take their contact details as they may be able to provide a statement.

Road Traffic Accidents

You will normally exchange details with the other driver involved. If someone is seriously injured, the other driver does not stop or you strongly suspect that a driver involved is intoxicated or is not insured, you should report the matter to the Police as soon as possible.

As with other accidents, photos, film and/or CCTV are very helpful, so please obtain or request those. If the Police attend or are notified of the accident, your solicitors will need the name, collar number and home station of the officer(s) concerned as well as any reference number you have been given by the police. If you have your mobile phone with you, always make sure that you photograph the damage to and number plates of all vehicles involved in the accident.

Names and contact numbers of witnesses may be of great importance to your claim.

Reporting to a medical practitioner

It is also important that when you seek medical attention, whether this is to your GP, a walk-in centre or at a hospital, that you ensure that you provide them a clear description of how, where and when you sustained your injuries.

If you are unlucky enough to sustain serious injuries and have to be taken to hospital straight away, please make sure that you or someone on your behalf reports the accident quickly as stated above.

If you have any queries or questions about how to report your accident, please contact us. Email or call us on 0114 218 4000.

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