Accidents: The importance of reporting and recording 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 either formally in an accident book, to the relevant insurers or at all.

In such circumstances, the party you are claiming against may deny liability on the grounds that there is no evidence or record of the incident actually occurring, which can make it more difficult to succeed with your claim.

If you are involved in an accident it is very important that you make sure all the information regarding your accident has been recorded as soon as possible after it happens, especially if you have suffered injury and you 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 detailed and correct.

Of course, this may not always be practical immediately after an accident for many different treasons – for example, because you need to go to hospital or a doctor or perhaps through simple embarrassment.

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. This undoubtedly will happen but 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 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. 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 call the Gardai to attend the scene. If this is not possible you need report the matter to the Gardai as soon as possible.

As with other accidents, photos, film and/or CCTV are very helpful, so please obtain or request those. If the Gardai attend or are notified of the accident, your solicitors will need the name, number and home station of the officer(s) concerned as well as any reference number you have been given by the Gardai. 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, along with the insurance discs of each vehicle.

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 you provide them with 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.

Finding out if you are entitled to make a claim for an injury you suffered due to a road traffic accident is simple and fast. It all starts with a conversation. So call us for a confidential chat on 1890 252467 or tell us what happened so that we can best advise and guide you.

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