If you are involved in a road traffic collision and either property has been damaged or injuries have been sustained, you have a duty to report the collision to the police. However, the police are only required to prepare a Road Collision Report if at least one of the parties involved in the incident has been injured.
The term "injured" covers everything from minor bruising right up to a serious injury such as head injury or fractures to limbs. Clearly, if serious injury has been sustained, the Police will be called to the scene of the road collision and will take details from paramedics in attendance. The Police will often attend hospital and speak to injured parties or alternatively make contact sometime later to ask for an update.
Where cases are less severe and following the collision you can get up and move around, drivers who may have caused the collision will ask, “Are you alright?” The answer is frequently “Yes" from the cyclist at which point the car driver will occasionally drive off.
Even although you may think everything is fine, a collision is a shocking event and it’s difficult to think straight. Some "impact" injuries may not be immediately apparent. There will be financial implications following a non-fault accident such as the cost of replacing or repairing your bike, your kit and extra costs if your bike is off the road and you have to rely on public transport.
The best course of action to take is to ask the Police to attend but if parties agree and the injury seems trivial you should take a photo of the car registration number and get contact details for the driver. At the very least, note the registration number and keep it safe. This is why we would advise anyone who has been involved in a road collision, through no fault of their own, to report matters to the police as soon as possible. Even if the Police didn't attend the collision, you should still report the incident to them. The most important piece of information to give is the details of the driver who you deem to be at fault and the registration number of their vehicle.
Sometimes, drivers are not insured and sometimes drivers will leave the scene (hit and run). If that should happen, a claim can be made to the Motor Insurance Bureau but the MIB will not investigate a claim unless it has been reported to the police within 14 days.
Last year, one of our clients was involved in a cycling accident in Glasgow. At first the car driver appeared quite helpful and drove our client to a bike shop with his damaged bike. The only information that he was willing to give was his name. He dropped our client at the bike shop and disappeared. Our client was able to use social media to locate the driver and reported the incident to the police. The police were able to trace the driver and earlier this month we settled the claim for injury and loss with the drivers' insurers despite the drivers best attempts to avoid liability. This client was lucky in that he managed to trace the driver through Facebook but had he noted the registration number, it would have made matters a lot easier for the Police. Without driver details or a registration number, it’s extremely difficult for the Police to assist.
A police report is important because it formally records the accident. A reporting officer will be assigned and statements will usually be obtained from all parties involved and any witnesses. If there is later a dispute in liability, we are entitled to obtain a statement from the reporting officer and we have a right to be read all statements provided.
The main message to give is to persevere with the police. No matter how minor you believe your injuries to be, if the collision has been reported ,it can assist us with our investigations into liability because the police will require to take statements from all parties involved.
The best way to log a road traffic accident with the Police is to go down to your local police station or call Police Scotland on 101.