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.