What to do if you are involved in a road traffic accident during Covid 19 closures?

Written by
Jean O’Connor on
20 April 2020

There is never a good time to be involved in a road traffic accident but the Covid-19 crisis presents increased challenges to victims of road traffic accidents. Many services available to people in a stressful time, such as after a road traffic accident, have been disrupted and may not be readily available. 

Here at HOMS Assist our experienced and dedicated team remain available to help you in whatever what we can in the aftermath of a road traffic accident.   

Below is a helpful guide taking you through the steps you should take if you have been unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident. 

Initial Steps

  1. When a collision takes place between two vehicles you should stop your car in a safe manner without altering its position on the road. You should switch off the engine and put your hazard lights on. It is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident. 
  2. Take a moment to check if you and any passengers in your car are okay. It is normal to feel shock after an accident. If you feel you can get out of the car then do. If there is another vehicle involved check that they are okay. 
  3. If you or anyone involved in the accident are in significant pain or distress the emergency services should be called immediately. Any person with very significant injuries should not be moved until the ambulance arrives. 
  4. When talking to the person or people in the other vehicle you should maintain social distancing of 2 meters. You should be courteous and avoid being aggressive or argumentative. Take note of how many occupants were involved in the accident.  
  5. You should avoid discussing fault or responsibility at the accident scene.  
  6. Where injuries result from a car accident you are required to call Gardaí notifying them of the accident. They should give a timeframe as to when they will attend at the accident scene. While waiting you should take photos of the accident scene and the positioning of both vehicles on the road. The cars should not be moved unless Gardai direct you to do so, e.g. to ease traffic etc.   
  7. If the other driver leaves the scene of the accident, by driving off or on foot, you should not pursue them. Stay at the accident scene until Gardai arrive. You will be expected to give a description of the other vehicle (colour, make and model, registration plate) and if possible a description of the driver (male/female, age, height, hair colour, facial features, accent etc). 

Exchanging Details

  1. Exchange your full name and address with the other driver. It is not advisable to exchange anything by hand due to risks with COVID 19. Details can be exchanged via mobile phone.  
  2. Take a photo of the other vehicles registration plate and insurance disc. It’s important to ensure these photos are clear and any numbers are legible. You should allow the other driver to take your vehicle and insurance details also if they request them. 
  3. Photos should be taken of the damage to both vehicles, again check over the photos to ensure they are clear.  
  4. Ask the other driver if they are the registered owner of the vehicle. If they are not, ask for the name and address of the vehicle owner. If it is a rental or company car ensure to get details of who the owner is. 
  5. If any witnesses to the accident approaches you, remember to maintain social distance.  You should ask the witness for their name and contact number. You should ask if they can stay until Gardai arrive. If they cannot you should pass the witness details to the Garda. 
  6. Once Gardai arrive you should give a detailed and honest account of the accident circumstances as you remember them. Both parties will be required to give their details to the Garda. Both parties may also be requested to carry out a breathalyser test. This should be done as it is a criminal offense to refuse to undergo a breathalyser test. 

It is important that you note the following details: 

  •  The date and time of the incident 
  •  The location of the road (if any unfamiliar area check Google Maps) 
  • The weather conditions 
  •  The state of the road 
  •  The light conditions at the time 

Damage to your vehicle

If you are satisfied your car can be driven safely from the scene then you can do so once the above steps have been completed. If there is significant damage (e.g. damage to wheels, leaking radiator, red warning lights on the dashboard, loose body work etc.) then you may need to have the car towed. You should call a trusted garage or contact our offices on 1800 207 207 and we will seek to arrange for towing of the car to a convenient location. 

Injuries suffered in a road traffic accident 

Once you leave the accident scene, depending on how you feel, consideration should be given to receiving medical assessment from your usual General Practitioner or a doctor at the Walk-in Medical Clinic. In light of the Covid-19 outbreak you should ring ahead before attending to ensure you can be seen by a medical attendant in a safe manner.  

In respect of your vehicle, depending on the amount of damage, it may be necessary for an assessment of the car to be carried out to fully assess the damage and to estimate repairs. Some people may need to hire a replacement car. Unfortunately, some garages and repair shops are closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Many vehicle parts that would normally be imported from abroad may not be readily available due to the impact of the virus on other countries. 

During these uncertain times you can rely on our experienced team to assist you in getting these repairs arranged with a view to getting you back on the road as soon as possible.  

Please contact our offices on 1800 207 207 or at info@homsassist.ie.