Accident reports


In certain circumstances and settings, such as at work, an accident report is a legal requirement. Failure to make an accident report can be an offence. An accident report may also be an important step in claiming compensation for damage to property or personal injury.

On the road

A road accident report must be made by the driver to the police if:

  • Someone has been injured
  • One of the drivers is unable to produce an insurance certificate at the scene of the accident
  • If you are unable to swap details with the other driver at the scene of the accident

This may be done by calling a police officer to the scene, or by attending a police station in person. A road accident report must be made as soon as practicable and in any case within 24 hours.

If an accident was caused by a defect or hazard on the road, you may wish to report the incident to the authority responsible so that they can make necessary repairs to prevent further injuries to the public.

Accident reports may also be used by the driver’s insurance companies to decide whether the drivers are covered by their insurance. If you intend to sue a driver for compensation because you believe they were at fault, you may be able to obtain and use accident reports in your case.

At work

Employers, self-employed persons, and persons in control of work premises have legal reporting duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

Reportable incidents include:

  • Death
  • Major injury
  • Injury that results in a person being away from work, or unable to do the full range of duties, for more than three consecutive days
  • Disease
  • Gas incidents

An accident report may be made by phone to the HSE Incident Contact Centre (Tel: 0845 300 9923), online or by post.

In public

If you are injured in public, you should report the accident immediately to the relevant authority, such as the local council, in addition to the police, both for the sake of making a record of it, and to ensure that the hazard is remedied to avoid injury to others.

On private property

If you are injured on private property, whether a shopping centre, amusement park or business property, you should report the incident both to the private owner and to the police.

Accident forms

Accident forms are legal documents that may have to be completed under a particular law. For example, if an injury or accident occurs to an employee in the workplace, an employer must in certain situations make a formal record of the incident.

If you are involved with a claim for compensation because of an injury at work, the accident forms will be used as part of the evidence to support your claim. For this reason, you should always try to be as thorough and accurate as possible in completing accident forms.

Reporting any incidents can be highly advantageous to you if you decide to make a claim for compensation, or if an insurance company is questioning your claim.

Your solicitor will be able to advise you about what types of accident forms are useful as evidence in court and whether an accident form that you or another party have completed is favourable to your case.

For information on where to report accidents, see our page on using an accident helpline.

Do you need to report an accident so you can bring a claim for compensation? Contact Law can recommend specialist personal injury lawyers to meet the needs of your case, after an initial discussion. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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