Car Accident Advice

from the Accident Department of Gray Hooper Holt LLP

Archive for the category “Parked car accidents”

Tips for Lady Drivers

I was asked to write a blog on this subject for the excellent Birds On the Blog website,  so with some trepidation, I accepted the challenge.   Much of this article is based on that piece.

In my experience, women seem to have less accidents than men and certainly cause fewer, because they frequently drive slower and take less risks.

The drawback is that as a consequence of that lower involvement, women may have less experience as to what to do when an accident happens.


 Mobile as a must

Whilst you certainly shouldn’t be using a handheld whist driving, there’s no doubt that a mobile is an absolute essential in a crisis.

Whether you are stranded in a quiet country road and need urgent help or just need to talk to a friendly voice.  If it has a camera, it will enable you to take plenty of photos!

Exchanging information

Accidents can be very unnerving for anyone and whether you have just rear-ended a trucker the size of a sumo wrestler or he has just ploughed into you, you may want to keep conversation to a minimum!

As you are obliged to exchange some information in any event, a printed form with your name, address and insurance details (to keep in your glovebox) can be helpful to hand to him through a slightly open window.

Registration numbers

It’s always a good idea to take a careful note (or better still a photo) of the other driver’s registration number so that your legal or insurance representative can establish the identity of his insurers immediately through the MID.

The benefit of photos

As you will notice, throughout this article, I am suggesting taking photos (albeit discretely).  Nothing is ever clear cut, so photos of the damage on both /all vehicles, their registration numbers, the location, any nearby buildings, and the foliage (which changes rapidly) are of enormous assistance.

However, if you get out of your car, to take the photos make sure you don’t expose yourself to being run over by another motorist in the process!

Call the police?

Unless you feel there is risk they might prosecute you, you may want to call the police to be on the safe side (and if they arrive take a photo of their registration number.  It may help, when your legal adviser is asking for a copy of any police report).


Even in the most clear cut of accidents, witnesses are essential!  It is always wise to get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of anyone kind enough to stop.  Your representative may never need to involve them but it is far better to have them available in case.


Out of Pocket Expenses

If you have to spend money to sort out the aftermath of a road accident, a great idea is to keep all the receipts in one place and if possible, maintain a spreadsheet of all the costs on your PC which can be updated whenever needed.

Your legal adviser will thank you for it!



Lorries and buses need to be given a wide birth as they need more room.  If you don’t and have an accident as a result, you probably won’t win your claim in full.


Car parks

Normal rules don’t apply but if there’s an arrow on the lane, best not to go in the opposite direction.!

Be very wary of vehicles reversing out of a parking space into your path.

..and as my wife always advises me, don’t park next to 4x4s whose large door will dent your pride and joy of a car without leaving a note!



Car Hire

If your vehicle is undriveable after the accident or during the repair period, you should be entitled to another vehicle of the same size as yours, either provided through the other driver’s insurers or through a reputable credit hire company.  Your legal adviser should be able to arrange this.

So if you have five kids and a dog to take to school in the morning, you don’t need to shoehorn everyone into a mini!


The key to a complete recovery (where possible) is early medical treatment.  Your legal adviser should discuss this with you in any event and can probably advise how it can be funded at no cost to you – often paid for by the insurers of the other driver.


Dealing with the aftermath of an accident, can be a pain in the neck (all too often, literally).  Coping with insurers, repairers, medical advisers can be time frustrating, time consuming and in most non-fault cases, you can let an experienced professional do the job for you.

If you need assistance after a road accident in England or Wales, please complete our Make A Claim form

50/50 and Split Settlement cases

Many road traffic accidents are settled on the basis that both drivers are partially to blame and whilst there are no absolute rules, the starting point in such cases is often a 50/50 settlement, unless there is witness or other evidence available to alter the percentages.

A 50/50 settlement means that each driver will recover 50% of his financial loss (& compensation if injured) and his insurers will pay 50% of the opponent’s losses. However any percentage split is possible and 72/25 or 66.6/33.3 arrangements  in favour of one the drivers are quite common.

50/50 settlement are often misdescribed a Knock-For-Knock agreements.

Injured passengers are unaffected by such splits but will recover 100% of their losses from a combination of the two insurers but must be separately represented from any solicitors acting for the driver.

A split of this nature falls under the concept of  Contributory Negligence - which occurs in any accident, where the Claimant is partially to blame.

Drivers often feel bullied into accepting this type of arrangement – sometimes they should be resisting the pressure but frequently they may have to accept the inevitable.

Typical split settlements


As both vehicles are travelling in the same direction and inevitably will be changing lanes, a 50/50 split is very common without independent witness evidence, some which is quite as one cannot stop on a roundabout to exchange names and addresses and generally there are no pedestrians.

Lane changing accidents

One motorways and dual carriageways, it is often hard to prove which driver has changed lanes into the path of the other.

Head On Collisions

Whilst almost certainly one of the drivers is not at fault, it can be very hard to prove without witnesses of photos of any skid marks or the position of the vehicles after the impact.

Traffic light accidents

If there is no local authority evidence or CCTV footage to assist, it can be hard to prove which driver went through the red light.  If the matter goes to court, a split settlement is not really possible as the judge would have to find wholly in favour of our driver or worse still make no order on the basis that neither driver has proved that the other one was to blame.

Car parks

Normal driving rules do not apply in car parks.  First most accidents occur when one or both of the vehicles are reversing and courts will expect that drivers who proceeding in a parking lane should be expecting other vehicles to reverse out of a parking space.

Each case should be considered on its merits

Whilst there may be a 50/50 presumption, all too often insurers and legal expenses insurance claims handlers will not look further than that presumption – it means the claim can be disposed of quickly and particularly where one company insures both parties, there seems to be a recommendation of a split settlement where otherwise there might not be.

How can the odds be changed in your favour?

Photographs - of the location, skid marks, vehicle damage etc. are all useful even if there are no photos taken at the time.

Witnesses - even if they are passengers all add weight

CCTV footage – particularly helpful in car parks

Police prosecution – against the other driver(!)

It should always be remembered that if the matter gets to a court hearing, it is up to each driver to prove his claim on the balance of probabilities, thus often very hard for the Judge to prefer the evidence of one driver over the other.

If you need assistance after a road accident in England or Wales, please complete our Make A Claim form

Accidents involving parked vehicles

These can be very difficult to prove unless there is a signed note from the person who caused the accident or good independent evidence such as witness who actually saw the impact or CCTV footage.

Without such evidence, those who vehicles have been damaged often speculate on the identity of the driver at fault but their claims are generally doomed to fail.

If you need assistance after a road accident in England or Wales, please complete our Make A Claim form

Reversing accidents

These generally fall into two categories – those where one of the drivers has moved from a parked position and less frequently where a driver has allegedly selected reverse in an otherwise rear end shunt scenario.

Parking incidents

All too frequently accidents involving reversing manoeuvres occur in car parks.  On the one hand, there is little choice but to reverse and secondly the driver proceeding down the parking lane should be on notice that a vehicle may reverse unexpectedly at any time.

Often both vehicles may be reversing at the same time.

Establishing who is to blame can be very difficult and in the absence in independent witness evidence,  photographs or better CCTV footage, liability is likely to be split.

Allegations in rear end shunt claims

In practice, motorists rarely take it into their heads suddenly to reverse, however this can happen (for example) where :-

a. At the mouth or a roundabout or junction, a motorist has edged out too far and reverses to avoid obstructing traffic

b. On a slope, a vehicle rolls backwards through problems with brakes or snow

It is sometimes used as a (desparate) defence to the allegation of a rear end shunt and again without clear witness evidence, the claim is unlikely to succeed.

If you need assistance after a road accident in England or Wales, please complete our Make A Claim form

Lack of salt and gritting

As winter approaches, it’s time to revisit a few of the problems which usually occur.

Whilst main roads seem to be fine, those where most people live remain untreated with the result that motorists are have trouble reaching the main roads.

A lot of minor accidents are taking place close to drivers’ homes for that reason.

So, if you need to drive,  take precautions such as :-

Warm clothing, gloves, suitable headwear and footwear

A fully charged mobile phone

A spade

A few biscuits for if you get stuck

…and if you are involved in an accident, take photos of everything you can to assist recovery of your losses.

If you need assistance after a road accident in England or Wales, please complete our Make A Claim form


Injuries caused by parked cars

Whilst these are rare, there can sometimes be a liability for injury depending on the circumstances.

The most likely occurrence is where an occupant of a parked car opens a door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist or motorcyclist.

However, there have been instances where cars parked illegally without lights on an unlit road have contributed to injuries suffered by occupants in the a vehicle that collided with the parked one.

If you need assistance after a road accident in England or Wales, please complete our Make A Claim form

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