If you have been involved in an accident, having a copy of the accident report can help you to understand what happened and why. It can also be useful as evidence in case of a dispute or an insurance or personal injury claim. The question of whether you are entitled to a copy of an accident report is something we’ll look at in this guide. We’ll also explain how important an accident report could be if you decide to claim compensation for your injuries.
If that is something you’d like to do, our team can help. We’ll review how you were injured and who was to blame during a free initial consultation. Any questions you might have will be answered by a specially trained advisor who’ll also offer free legal advice. Even if you don’t have a copy of the accident report, one of our personal injury solicitors may believe you still have strong enough grounds to proceed with a claim and could offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
To find out more, please continue reading or feel free to call us on 0800 6524 881 if any questions crop up.
Table of contents
- What Is An Accident Report?
- Who Is Responsible For Investigating Accidents In The UK?
- What Information Is Included In An Accident Report?
- Am I Entitled To A Copy Of An Accident Report?
- How Do I Get A Copy Of An Accident Report?
- Can I Make A Personal Injury Claim Without An Accident Report?
- What To Do Before Making An Accident Claim
- How Much Compensation For An Accident Claim?
- Accident Claim Time Limits
- Speak With Us About Obtaining A Copy Of An Accident Report
An accident report is basically a document that provides a detailed account of an accident, including its causes, contributing factors, and any resulting injuries or damage. The purpose of an accident report is to help identify the root cause of the accident and to provide information or recommendations that can be used to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
The responsibility for investigating accidents generally depends on the type of accident and the circumstances surrounding it. However, in many cases, the responsibility will fall on:
For workplace accidents, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation and has the authority to investigate serious accidents and incidents, particularly those that involve fatalities, major injuries and illnesses, or dangerous occurrences.
Importantly, employers also have a legal obligation to report certain types of accidents, injuries, and incidents to the HSE under RIDDOR, and are also responsible for conducting their own investigations into accidents in the workplace.
The police are usually the first point of contact for road traffic accidents. They are responsible for conducting the initial investigation and compiling a report that includes details such as the location of the accident, the time and date it happened, the weather conditions, and the names and details of the parties involved.
The accident report should help to establish the cause of the accident and determine whether any criminal or traffic offences have been committed.
Other authorities, such as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, are responsible for investigating accidents that happen in their respective industries. They compile detailed reports that include information about the cause of the accident, any safety concerns, and recommendations for improvements.
Overall, the decision to investigate an accident will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident, including its severity and potential impact on health and safety, as well as the legal requirements and responsibilities of the organisations involved.
It’s of course important to know which authority is responsible for investigating the type of accident you’ve been involved in if you’re to obtain a copy of the relevant report.
An accident report typically contains a range of information about the incident and its aftermath. The specific details included in the report may vary depending on the nature of the accident and the authority responsible for compiling the report. However, here are some common types of details that can be found in an accident report:
- Basic details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, the weather conditions at the time, and the names and contact information of the parties involved.
- A detailed account of how the accident happened, the factors that may have contributed to it, and any injuries or damages that resulted from it.
- Statements from witnesses who saw the accident happen or its aftermath may be included in the report.
- Photographs or diagrams of the accident scene may be included, as well as any relevant physical evidence.
- The results of any investigations conducted by the relevant authorities. This might include information about any breaches of health and safety regulations or criminal offences that were identified.
- Recommendations for preventing similar accidents from occurring in the future may be included. These recommendations may be directed towards individuals, organisations, or government agencies.
Having access to this information can be invaluable, as it can help you understand the circumstances surrounding the accident and any contributing factors. It can also help you make informed decisions about what actions to take next, such as making a personal injury claim.
The law on accident reports is that companies must have a system in place to record accidents that lead to injuries on their premises. However, there is no specific law that says the report must be shared with the injured party.
That said, under the Data Protection Act 2018, individuals do have the right to request access to any personal data that is held about them by an organisation. Therefore, whether you’ve been hurt in a car accident, an accident at work, or an accident in a public place, if an accident report was created, you’re entitled to request a copy of it.
If you want to get a copy of an accident report to support an insurance or personal injury claim, here are some methods for doing so:
- Contact the police. If the accident happened on a public road or motorway and was investigated by the police, you can request a copy of the accident (collision) report by contacting the police force that responded to the accident. The process for requesting a copy of the report may vary depending on the police force involved, but it typically involves filling out a request form and paying a fee.
- Submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. If a public authority (the HSE, a local authority, the NHS etc) investigated and created an accident report of an incident involving yourself, you can request a copy by making an FOI request to the relevant authority.
- Submit a “Subject Access Request” (SAR). In certain cases you may need to submit a “Subject Access Request” (SAR). The organisation the request is made to has to respond to your request within one month. Importantly, more complex requests may take an additional two months. However, you should still be informed of the reason for the delay within one month of your request.
It’s worth noting that there may be some situations where access to the accident report could be restricted or denied, such as if it contains sensitive information about other individuals or if it could prejudice an ongoing investigation or legal proceedings.
If you have encountered any obstacles in getting hold of a copy of an accident report for a personal injury claim, you may want to speak with a solicitor on our team.
Our personal injury solicitors try to help as many people as possible but, realistically, can only offer their services where a claim has a fair chance of success. To assess this, they’ll review whether:
- You were owed a duty of care by the defendant; and
- Because of the defendant’s negligence, you were involved in an accident/incident; and
- You were made ill or suffered an injury as a result.
As you can see, there is a lot to prove if you’re to be compensated so having the right evidence to support your claim helps. However, even if you don’t have an accident report form available, you could still claim compensation for:
- An accident at work.
- Public place accidents including supermarket and shop accidents.
- Playground and school accidents.
- Public transport accidents (buses, trains, trams etc)
- Council accidents (caused by damaged footpaths, roads, potholes etc).
Realistically, any type of injury could be claimed for if the accident was caused by negligence including bruising, broken bones, soft tissue damage, cuts, lacerations and head, neck, knee and back injuries.
As described above, you will need to prove how your accident happened, who caused it and how you’ve been affected by your injuries. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident, it is a good idea to:
- Report the accident in writing. Even if the defendant does not fill out an accident report, it’s still a good idea to email or write to them to tell them about the accident as soon as possible. By doing so, you’ll create an audit trail (including any responses) that could be used to support your claim. Please see our guide on how to report an accident at work.
- Visit a hospital. To make contesting the severity of your injuries more difficult, you should visit A&E, your GP or a minor injuries unit. If you go on to make a compensation claim, medical records could be used to support your claim.
- Provide contact details for witnesses. If you don’t have an accident report form to confirm how your accident happened, witness statements can be a good alternative. Therefore, ask anybody else who was present for their contact details.
- Ask for CCTV or dashcam footage. Another good way to prove how your accident occurred was to provide video footage. Therefore, try to secure any relevant footage as soon as you can.
- Take photographs after the accident. If you can safely do so, you should take pictures at the accident scene. Ideally, this should be done before the scene is cleared or the cause of your accident is disposed of or repaired.
Finally, if you would like to claim compensation without an accident report form, it may be a good idea to speak to a specialist solicitor. If you call our team, one of our advisors will review your claim with you and review its chances of success for free.
An accident claim should be based on any psychological or physical injuries as well as any costs incurred as a result of your accident. Therefore, if you do want to claim for an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should think about any:
- Physical pain, suffering or discomfort.
- Psychological injuries (stress, depression, anxiety after a car accident etc).
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal activities.
- Medical expenses including physiotherapy costs.
- Replacement costs for property damaged during the accident.
- Reduction in earnings now and in the future.
- Care costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Home adaptations that would make it easier for you to deal with an ongoing disability caused by the accident.
Our team of personal injury solicitors have represented clients for many decades. If your claim is taken on, your solicitor will try to secure the maximum level of compensation possible to help you recover from your injuries.
We can’t predict how much you might be compensated for your accident but your solicitor may give you some indication once your claim has been assessed fully. For now, you could use our compensation calculator to get an indication of potential settlement figures:
Please bear in mind that the amount you receive, if your claim is successful, is based on the severity of your injuries and any applicable factors listed in the previous section.
Any accident claim for a personal injury in the UK has a 3-year time limit and will usually begin from the date of your accident or from the date your injury was diagnosed. If your claim is being made on behalf of a child, the time limit starts from their 18th birthday but as a litigation friend you can claim at any time before that.
Claims without a copy of the accident report as evidence could still be settled in as little as 6 to 9 months if alternative evidence can be produced to prove what happened. To find out how long your claim might take, please speak to us today.
If you can’t get a copy of an accident report, our advisors are happy to provide free advice. Simply call us today on 0800 6524 881 and a specialist will explain your options and provide no-obligation legal advice.
Remember, our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. Therefore, if you have an accident claim and they take it on, you’ll be able to relax knowing that you will only pay legal fees if you are awarded compensation for your injuries.
If you would like to discuss your entitlement to a copy of an accident report in more detail, please use our free live chat service.