How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident In The UK?

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 19th December 2023. How long do you have to report a car accident? If you are involved in a collision, you are legally required to report the incident to the police within 24 hours if you do not give your details to those who have a valid reason to ask for it. How long do you have to notify your insurance company? Most vehicle insurance companies require policyholders to notify them of incidents within 24 hours. But it is all different depending on the policy you have with your insurance company. So, in this guide, we will look at how to report collisions to the police, insurance companies and other parties. We will also look into claiming compensation for a road traffic accident.

Have You Recently Been In A Collision On The Roads?

If you have recently been involved in a collision that was not your fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation. If experience physical pain or emotional damage, if you can prove someone else is liable you could claim compensation. Trust today to provide you with the information you need. Our advisors can offer you free legal advice. They could also answer any questions you may have about claiming compensation for an incident on the roads. Therefore, if we can see that you owed compensation from the other driver, we could connect you to our panel of solicitors.

How long do you have to report a car accident in the UK guide

How long do you have to report a car accident in the UK guide

To begin your claim for a  vehicle collision call us on 0161 696 9685 for your free consultation. Or contact us by filling out our online accident claims form. Alternatively, keep on reading this guide to learn more about reporting car accident time limits in the UK.

Select A Section

  1. Road Traffic Accident Compensation
  2. Calculating Special Damages Awards
  3. Who Do You Report Car Accidents To?
  4. Do You Have To Report A Minor Car Accident To Police In The UK?
  5. Time Limits To Report A Car Accident
  6. Solicitors For Car Accidents – No Win No Fee Accident Claims
  7. More Information

Road Traffic Accident Compensation

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident, a compensation claim could be made. The pain and suffering that your injury has caused you could be compensated with general damages.

If you are claiming for a low-valued car accident injury, the way you make your claim has changed due to the introduction of the Whiplash Reform Programme. If you were the driver or passenger of a vehicle and over the age of 18 with injuries valued at £5,000 or less, you will now make your claim a different way. Your injuries will be valued in line with the tariff of injuries that is set out in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021.

However, if your pain and suffering are valued at higher than £5,000, you would make a regular personal injury claim. You could refer to the table we have created below to help you gain a clearer idea of how much you could receive in general damages for road collision claims. The figures listed have been taken from the most recent edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), published in April 2022. Many legal professionals will use the JCG to help them value claims, as it lists compensation brackets for various injuries. We’ve also included examples of the whiplash tariff from the Regulations and an example of how your compensation could be calculated if you suffer multiple serious injuries and also are claiming for your expenses.

However, you should only use this table as a guide. How much compensation you receive could differ from the amounts listed.

Injury Type Notes Amount
Multiple Severe Injuries and Special Damages Settlements may include compensation for multiple serious injuries and any incurred costs, such as lost wages and home help. Up to £1,000,000+
Very Severe Brain Damage The injured party will demonstrate very little, if any, environmental responses alongside other symptoms including double incontinence. They require full time nursing care. £282,010 to £403,990
Chest Injuries (b) Traumatic injury to chest, lungs and heart leading to permanent damage. £65,740 to £100,670
Total Loss Of One Eye Consideration given to age and cosmetic and psychiatric effect. £54,830 to £65,710
Less Severe Brain Damage (d) While there may not be a restoration of all normal functions, there is still a good recovery and the injured person will have a normal social life and a return to work. £15,320 to £43,060
Moderate Back Injuries (b) (i) Crush and compression injuries of the lumbar verterbrae causing substantial risk of osteoarthritis. £27,760 to £38,780
Moderate Neck Injuries (b) (i) Fractures and dislocations causing immediate symptoms, and possibly requiring spinal fusion. £24,990 to £38,490
Arm Injuries (d) Simple fractures of the forearm. £6,610 to £19,200
Moderate Shoulder Injuries (c) Frozen shoulder with limited movement lasting approximately two years. £7,890 to £12,770
Digestive System Injuries (a) (iii) Serious seat belt pressure cases or penetrating stab wounds. £6,610 to £12,590
Whiplash Tariff The claimant suffers with the symptoms of whiplash alongside a minor psychological injury for 18-24 months. £4,345
Whiplash Tariff Symptoms of whiplash last between 18-24 months. £4,215

Contact one of our advisors today to discuss your potential claim. If they believe that you may be eligible for compensation, they could connect you with a solicitor from our panel who could help you with your case.

Calculating Special Damages Awards

If your compensation claim is successful your compensation payout will include the following heads of claim: general damages and special damages. In addition, you will be able to claim compensation for any damages to your vehicle. Let’s look at what can be claimed for after a road collision in more detail.

General Damages

General damages are the primary part of a compensation payout. If a claimant is injured in a road accident that was not their fault, they can claim compensation for the pain, the suffering and the loss of amenity this has caused from the party responsible. This compensation payout is known as general damages.

Special Damages

In addition to claiming compensation for general damages, successful claimants can also claim special damages. This is a compensation payout that reimburses the claimant for any financial losses that they have endured because of their injuries. In the case of a  collision, claimants can also claim compensation for damages to their vehicle.

A successful road incident payout could include the following special damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Travel expenses (including the costs of a replacement vehicle whilst yours was being repaired)
  • Reimbursement for loss of earnings.
  • Care expenses
  • Funds to pay for any repairs needed to your vehicle.

In the very difficult circumstances that you become disabled as a result of the incident you can claim compensation to pay for any mobility equipment, adaptations to your home or car that you may need. If you are interested to know what expenses you could claim, you can call for free legal advice.

Who Do You Report Car Accidents To?

If you do not give your contact details at the scene of the collision where damage has been caused, then you must notify the police. What happens if you report an incident after 24 hours? As we have mentioned you could be prosecuted if you wait longer than 24 hours to report a collision.

Generally, most insurance providers ask that you tell them if you are involved in a collision. Check your policy with the insurance company. It should tell you when and how to notify them of an incident. How long do you have to declare accidents for car insurance? Most car insurance providers require you to inform them of a collision within 24 hours or 48 hours of it taking place.

Insurance Details

You may have to exchange insurance details with the other party.

Do You Have To Report A Minor Car Accident To Police In The UK?

There are certain collisions that must be reported to the police, even if the road accident itself was minor. These include if you were unable to exchange details at the scene, if you or another party was injured, or if you suspect a driving offence has been committed.

Rule 286 of the Highway Code states that if you are involved in a collision and damage has occurred to another person, vehicle, animal or property, you must:

  • Stop.
  • Provide your details and that of the vehicle owner, including your name and the vehicle owner’s name and address, as well as the vehicle registration number to anyone with reasonable grounds for needing them.
  • If you do not give your details at the scene of the collision, you must notify the police within 24 hours.

Additionally, Rule 287 states that if another person sustains an injury and you do not produce your insurance certificate at the time of the collision to anyone with reasonable grounds to request it, you must produce your insurance certificate to the police within seven days.

Direct any questions you have about what to do following a road accident to our advisory team. Even if you only suffered minor injuries, you may still be able to claim compensation if you satisfy the eligibility criteria.


For certain incidents, you will need to exchange details with the other road user involved, including your address and the vehicle’s registration.

Time Limits To Report A Car Accident

We will now look at how long you have to alert different parties to an incident.

Type Of Time Limit Relevant Time Limit
Time limit for reporting car accident to police when not exchanged details at the scene. 24 hours
Time limit to report to insurance company Usually 24 hours or 48 hours – check your policy
Time limit for a personal injury Three years (may vary)

If you have physical pain or emotional damage from a collision that was not your fault you may wish to seek compensation against the other driver’s insurance company. Generally, the claim will be paid out by their insurance company, however, you must start the process within the time limit. There is a personal injury claims time limit of three years. This means that you must begin your claim within three years of the date of the incident.

Also for children, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf. If they get to 18 and no claim is made then they have three years to start their own proceedings. The time limit is also different for those who suffer from reduced mental capacity.

If you wish to seek compensation, we recommend you contact as soon as possible for your free telephone assessment, to avoid falling outside of the time limit. Our advisors can offer you free advice about your eligibility for compensation.

What Evidence Can Support A Car Accident Claim?

To seek compensation, your potential case will need evidence that confirms who was liable for the incident and the injuries you suffered. You’ll also need to prove that negligence by another driver who owed you a duty of care contributed to the collision that hurt you.

What evidence may be available for you to gather will depend on certain circumstances. Potential options for evidence may include the following:

  • Your medical records confirming your injuries and the treatment for them.
  • Any video footage that shows the collision. Footage from dashcams or CCTV cameras may be available.
  • Photos of the collision scene.
  • A copy of an incident report from the police.
  • If any witnesses saw the road accident, then you could look at acquiring their contact details. They may be able to provide a witness statement.
Other Road Users

To claim against the other road user’s insurance company, you will need evidence.

How Quickly Should You Notify The MIB And Other Parties?

If you have been injured because of an untraced driver or in a hit and run inform police of the incident. This is a requirement to make a claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau. In order to seek compensation through the MIB for a hit and run, you may need to provide proof you were not at fault.

If you have pain and suffering because of an uninsured, untraced or hit and run driver, can help you. Our panel of solicitors can negotiate with the Motor Insurance Bureau to settle your case and ensure you are awarded the optimum amount of compensation you could be entitled to.

Solicitors For Car Accidents – No Win No Fee Accident Claims

You may be concerned about the costs of hiring solicitors for car accidents claims. However, motor accident solicitors could potentially offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a type of No Win No Fee. Under this arrangement, you won’t have to pay any fees upfront to your solicitor and any ongoing legal costs are covered.

If you receive compensation in a successful case, a success fee will be deducted from your payout. This is legally capped to ensure you keep the majority of your compensation.

If your claim fails and you receive no compensation, you don’t need to worry about paying your solicitor.

If you want to know more about making car accident injury claims on a No Win No Fee basis, you can get in touch with us at any time. The solicitors on our panel can all offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis.


No Win No Fee solicitors can support claims for injuries suffered in cars and other vehicles.

Talk To Our Team

If an incident on the roads resulted in pain and suffering and it was caused by another road user driving negligently, you may be owed compensation. can help you. Get in touch today using the details below for your free assessment.

To speak to us today using any of these methods:

More Information

We hope that you have found this guide to seeking compensation after a car accident helpful.  How long do you have to report a collision? For more advice, you may want to read these guides to seeking compensation for an accident.

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