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Failing to Stop After an Accident / Failing to Report an Accident

Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident is an offence. If you are involved in a road traffic accident which causes injury to another person, another person's property or an animal and do not give your details to anyone who has reasonable grounds for requiring it. If you are unable to give details at the scene, you are obliged to report it to the police as soon as possible and within 24 hours in any event.

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Advice on failing to stop or report an accident

What should I do following an accident?

Firstly, you have to know you have been involved in an accident. There may be genuine reasons why you were not aware of this which would be a Defence to any prosecution. However, you only have to be the cause of an accident, so the fact you did not hit anything does not mean there is no duty to report.

Secondly, there must be damage to a person, property or animal. Drive into a ditch damaging your own car, nothing else, is not reportable. Should you injure your passenger in the same accident it is reportable.

Thirdly, the obligation is to give your details at the scene or, if this is not possible or practicable, to the police as soon as possible and in any event within 24 hours. If the police attend the scene and take your details the requirement is satisfied.

You only have to give your name and address, details of the owner of the vehicle you were driving and the registration number of that vehicle. You can give a work address rather than your home address. If you do not have your insurance details on you then it is acceptable to provide these within 14 days. You do not have to give a telephone number and do not have to give a statement about the accident to anyone other than the police.

The most common reason we come across for leaving the scene is the driver being scared of an altercation. As long as this is genuine and based on reasonable grounds then the obligation remains to report the matter to the police.

Recently we have found the police bringing prosecutions because the report was within 24 hours but could have been made sooner. While this sounds harsh, it is a correct interpretation of the law and ignorance of the law is generally no defence.

What am I looking at?

5 to 10 penalty points, a possible ban, a fine of up to £5,000 or (in extreme cases) prison for up to 6 months.

What effect does this have on liability?

It does not look good, but everything depends on the reason why the legal obligation was not complied with. Each case will turn on its own specific facts.

How can Routh Clarke help you?

If you are facing a prosecution or dealing with a claim, you need strong, honest legal advice, preferably before you are convicted, as by then it may be too late to do anything. Call us now and speak to Nick Routh, an experienced lawyer who has dealt with many contentious car accident injury claims and so understands all the complexities of driving offences and how they affect liability.