What To Do If You’re in a Car Accident: a Step by Step Guide

No one plans to be involved in an accident on the road but can happen. Thankfully it’s compulsory by law to hold car insurance in Ireland – but what should you do in the event of an incident? Our guide takes you through the steps required when you’ve been involved in a car accident.

First important steps to take when you’ve been involved in a car accident 

1. Stop your car as safely as possible. Switch of the engine and switch your hazard lights on. It’s a criminal offence to leave the scene of an accident.

2. Check if you and your passengers are okay. Even the most minor car accidents can come as a shock. Try to remain calm and take a moment to compose yourself.

3. If there’s another vehicle involved check everyone is okay.

- If anyone is in pain or injured from either vehicle call an ambulance immediately. Avoid moving anyone who may be badly injured.

4. Take note of all the people involved in the accident. This is important in case queries or injuries are brought up at a later stage.

5. Do not apologise to the other driver, admit responsibility or even discuss the accident at the scene. This applies even if you think you may be at fault.

What details should I take and share after being involved in a vehicle collision?

1. By law you must give your name and address to everyone involved and they must share the same with you.

2. You should also exchange the name and address of your insurance company with the other party.

3. Ask the other driver if they are the registered owner of the vehicle. If they are not, ask who is. The car may have been borrowed or could be a company vehicle.

4. Take record of the make, model and registration of the other vehicle(s) involved.

5. Note the detail of any injuries sustained on either side. Also make note of anyone who says they are not hurt.

6. Approach any witnesses to the accident and take their names and addresses.

7. Take photos of:·

  • The damage caused to each vehicle – where the damage is, how sever it is etc.
  • The position of the cars on the road after the collision. This is especially important when determining who may have been responsible. 

8. The more information you can collect, the better. Try to note the following:

  •  The date and time of the incident
  •  The weather conditions
  •  The state of the road
  •  The light conditions

What if I’m in a single vehicle accident? 

If you have damaged another car or someone’s property do the following:

  •  Take photos of the damage so any later claims can’t be exaggerated
  • Leave your insurance and contact details somewhere that the other party can easily find them

How to report a car accident

Call the Gardaí – depending on the accident itself you may need to call the guards and/ or an ambulance. It’s helpful to have somebody independent and qualified on the scene.

The guards may also need to get involved if:

  • There appears to be drink or drugs involved
  • You suspect the other driver may have deliberately caused the accident
  • The other party refuses to share their vehicle and licence details
  • The other driver tries to leave the scene of the accident

There are injuries on either side – you are legally required to notify the Gardaí of any injuries within 24 hours of the accident.

Notify your Insurance Company – After you’ve completed the above steps and had time to catch your breath you need to notify your insurance company of the accident. This must be done even if you’re not planning to make a claim on your insurance policy or if you intend to pay for the damage to the other vehicle yourself as the other party might still claim later.

You must notify your insurance company of an accident within 7 days.

Your insurance company will look for:

  • Your policy number or your name, address and car registration number
  • The registrations of any other cars involved, the name and contact details of the other driver,passengers or witnesses.
  • The other driver’s insurance details
  • Photos you took at the scene of the accident

Making a claim on your car insurance should be a stress-free experience. Following our guide will help simplify your claims process so that it can progress swiftly.


At AIG we want to make things easy for our clients: make a car insurance claim by phone on 01 8599700 and you’ll be assigned a dedicated agent that will work with you from start to finish. You can instantly download our claim forms and mail them back to the agent to speed the process up further.


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