The law defines a reportable road traffic collision as: an accident involving a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public area which causes:
- Injury or damage to anybody - other than the driver of that vehicle.
- Injury or damage to an animal - other than one being carried on that vehicle (an animal is classed as a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog).
- Damage to a vehicle - other than the vehicle which caused the accident.
- Damage to property constructed on, affixed to, growing in, or otherwise forming part of the land where the road is.
If they take place in a public place the police can investigate off-road accidents, for example, accidents in car parks, which, because they are open to the public, are deemed public places.
When to contact the police
You need to remain at the scene and contact the police via 999 following a road collision if:
- Someone has been seriously injured.
- The road or flow of traffic is blocked.
- Property has been damaged and the owner is not aware and it may cause danger to other road users.
- You suspect that the other party has acted unlawfully.
You will need to contact the police via 101 or report the accident in person, at a police station or to a police officer following a road collision if:
- Someone has sustained slight injuries
When not to contact the police
You do not need to contact the police if:
- When no-one has been injured.
- The road or flow of traffic is clear.
- No property has been damaged.
- There is no suspicion that the other party has acted unlawfully.
- All parties concerned have exchanged details including vehicle registration number, driver's name and address, vehicle owner's name and address, and insurance details if an injury has been caused to someone other than yourself.
Involved in a collision?
If you are the driver of a vehicle and are involved in a road traffic collision that meets the criteria listed above your legal requirements are:
- Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable time.
- Give your name and address, vehicle registration number, and details of the owner (if different) to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for these details.
- If you do not exchange details at the scene you must either report the accident online through the website, call 101 or report the accident in person, at a police station or to a police officer as soon as possible and within 24 hours in any case.
Notifying Insurance Companies
Generally-speaking, most insurance companies state that the insured driver must notify them if involved in an accident irrespective of whether a claim is to be made or not, or whose fault it was. They will normally send you a form for completion.
What if the other driver is not insured?
If, due to a road accident you suffer injury, loss or damage to your property, then this is normally covered by insurance arrangements.
Where the offender is not traced or not insured then compensation may be available from the Motor Insurers Bureau.
They can consider claims for:-
- Personal injury, loss or damage caused by an identified driver who is uninsured.
- Personal injury caused by an untraced driver (this doesn’t include damage or loss to property).
Requesting an Accident report
To request a copy of the accident report or other information please visit