Accidents - how to deal with them on the road & on your premises
Insurers would always advocate that prevention is better than cure, but what should you do if an accident happens? It could be a customer’s vehicle hit by a third party or it could be an employee or customer being injured whilst on your premises. Neither may be your fault, but how you react in the immediate aftermath could dictate whether or not it ends up costing you money.
Road Traffic Accidents
According to government statistics, there were 192,480 reported Road Traffic Accidents in 2018. The total number of accidents, when including those that did not get officially reported, is probably many multiples of this. In the context of the overall number of cars on the road, the chance of being involved in an accident is thankfully small. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved though, there are some things you can do to protect yourself, whether the accident is your fault or not.
- Take photos of the damage to all vehicles, as well as the location of the accident – if it is safe to do so.
- Take the names and addresses of all parties involved, including those of passengers in all vehicles.
- Make sure you have the registration number and details of all vehicles involved.
- Try and make a diagram or sketch of the scene, showing vehicle locations before and after the accident if possible.
- Get the names and addresses of any witnesses.
- Contact your insurers as soon as possible. The sooner they are aware, the quicker they can start helping you. If you receive any correspondence from the other parties, pass it to your insurer immediately and unanswered.
Most importantly, if anyone is injured you must contact the police. They will require sight of your insurance certificate in such cases.
This information helps insurers determine who is at fault and deal with any valid claims quickly. Where there is fault, dealing with a third party claim quickly can generally reduce the cost and help to keep premiums down.
Accidents at work
You need to ensure your place of work is safe for any employees and visitors. According to the Health & Safety Executive there were 2,450 reported injuries involving employees working in wholesale and retail trade (including motor vehicle repair) in 2017/18. These are injuries that result in more than 3 days absence from work. How many more minor slips, trips, falls, cuts and bruises occurred that resulted in up to 3 days absence is unknown. What we do know, is the cost to businesses that results from these.
As an employer, there are a number of things you should consider if an accident does occur on your premises.
- Get the person involved to provide details of the accident if possible.
- Take photos of any equipment, machinery or tools involved, or the locations where the accident happened.
- Record any information about background light and noise levels, if relevant.
- Ensure the accident is correctly recorded in the accident book and notified to the HSE if appropriate.
- Notify your Employer’s or Public Liability insurer as soon as possible. Their investigations will help establish liability for any injuries and in the case of more significant injuries could help get an employee back to work sooner with appropriate rehabilitation.
The HSE provides a useful guide to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. This can be downloaded for free at www.hse.gov.uk.
Do you have to notify all potential claims?
All insurance policies will contain a clause requiring you to notify the insurer without undue delay of any accident, injury, loss or damage that occurs. The exact terms will vary by insurer and by type of insurance. However, failure to notify your insurers can only result in negative consequences for you if that claim does materialise. Those could be far more serious than any increase in premium that may be charged at the next renewal.
To discuss you own requirements, contact the Road Runner insurance team on 0330 100 8720