Road traffic accidents are very common and for most people involved in a minor accident, they are an unpleasant and inconvenient occurrence. However, for some, they can be a great deal more serious, and this can be the case if there is a major accident, in which people are seriously injured or killed, or if there is any sort of accident in which the perpetrator does not stop.
It is a legal requirement that if a driver is involved in an accident, he or she must stop and report an incident by exchanging details and by reporting it to the Gardaì. Failing to do this is a very serious offence, which can carry a hefty penalty, including a term in jail.
AFTER A ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT, YOU SHOULD:
- Exchange details. It is vital to exchange details with the other parties involved in an accident, or report the accident to the
Gardaì as soon as possible, and certainly within 24 hours.
- Co-operate with the Gardaì: The Gardaì will usually attend even minor accidents if they are in a location that is likely to cause further accidents or obstructions or if there is disagreement about the cause of the accident. If the Gardaì ask you to provide a breath specimen you should do so. Refusal or failure to provide a specimen may, of itself, amount to a criminal offence.
- Carry a camera phone/disposable camera: It is a good idea to have a camera in your car and have the presence of mind (even though you may be in a state of shock) to photograph the post-accident position of the vehicles and the damage caused to them by the accident. This can make a very real difference to the outcome of a case, especially where liability for the accident is disputed. A basic phone camera or cheap disposable camera will usually suffice.
- Look after yourself. It can be extremely stressful and upsetting to be involved in a road traffic accident, especially if you are at fault and have the pressure of claims being made against you. Writing down everything that happened in detail can help, both to keep your records accurate and to enable you to work through the situation. You may wish to seek counselling or support to address your feelings if you are still thinking or worrying about the accident after time has passed.
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