With many drivers heading south, it is worth being prepared on what to do if you have a collision over the border. There are certain things you are required by law to do. There are some advisable steps to take for safety reasons and to help reduce any possible financial loss to yourself.
What should I do if I am involved in a motor accident?
If the accident is serious the cars should not be moved. If the accident is minor and the cars are blocking the road or are a danger to other road users, the road should be marked and the cars moved.
You should try to warn oncoming traffic of the accident. You can warn them by using your hazard lights. If you have a reflective advance-warning triangle, place it on the road far enough from the scene of the accident to give enough warning to approaching traffic.
If someone is injured the Gardaí should be contacted (telephone 999 or 112) and, if necessary, ambulance services.
What are my legal obligations?
Your legal obligations, if you are involved in a motor accident, are contained in Section 106 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended. You must stop your car and remain at the scene of the accident for a reasonable time.
If a Garda is present at the scene of the accident you must give, when requested:
- Your name and address
- The address where your car is kept
- The name and address of the car owner
- The car’s registration number
- Motor insurance details (including expiry date of the policy)
If there is no Garda present you must, when requested, give this information to the other parties involved in the collision.
If there is no Garda present, the accident must be reported as soon as possible to a Garda who is nearby or at a Garda station. This can be done by the persons, if any, to whom you gave the information. If they are not in a position to do so, you must report the accident. Top tip: keep your licence with you and copies of your tax book and insurance certificate on any trip.
What other steps should I take?
You should obtain the information listed above from the other parties involved in the accident.
Drivers in ROI display their insurance details on their windscreen. You can double check the insurance details and you should record these.
Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses as these may be required if there is a dispute as to who caused the accident.
Take photos of the accident scene if you have a camera. These should include photos of the cars before they are moved.
You should obtain the name or number of the Garda to whom the accident is reported. You may need to ensure that a Garda report has been filed for insurance purposes.
You should write down an account of the circumstances leading to the accident, of your experience of the accident itself and what happened after the accident to include what was said at the scene by the occupants of the other vehicle and any witnesses. You should sign and date it (including the time) when it is completed.
For assistance in dealing with an insurance claim in Ireland please contact JMK Solicitors.
Established in 2003, JMK Solicitors operates from offices in Belfast and Newry, servicing clients from across Northern Ireland. If you would like to contact JMK Solicitors, please call their Newry Office on 028 3025 7766 or Belfast office on 028 9032 0222.