Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
There are a number of documents that you can use to show who was at fault in a car accident.
It is a good idea to write down what happened in the accident while it is still fresh in your mind. You can keep a note or write a diary entry.
You should keep a record of the following information about the accident:
You can use this information:
If there were witnesses to the accident, you should get their contact details. If you were not able to get these at the scene of the accident, but the police were there, you may be able to get this information from the police.
For more information, see Identifying the other party.
After the accident you can contact any witnesses who saw or heard something that supports your claim and ask them to prepare and sign a statement about the accident. You should contact witnesses as soon as possible after the accident so they don't forget any details. If the matter goes to Court, the hearing date could be months or even years after the accident happened. The statements should not include opinions or beliefs or arguments about the law. They should include facts about what the person saw, heard, did or said.
You can't force a witness to give you a statement. If the case goes to Court, you may be able to serve the witness with a subpoena which orders them to give evidence.
Instructions: Instructions for preparing witness statements - car accidents
Sample: Witness statement - car accidents
You could take photos of the place where the accident happened, the surroundings (for example, the intersection, street signs, traffic lights) and the position of your car and the other driver's car. These photos could be used to explain the circumstances of the accident, and who was at fault.
You could take photos with your mobile phone or camera.
If you had a dash cam installed in your car that recorded the accident or you were cycling and you were wearing a body cam, the footage could be used to explain the circumstances of the accident, and who was at fault.
You should make a sketch of how the accident happened. A sketch can be helpful when making a claim or if you end up going to Court. You should include as much information about the accident as possible, such as:
You could neatly label the sketch or you could use a key to show what your picture refers to.
If the police came to the accident, or the accident was reported to the police, you can get a Police Incident Report.
The police report might include statements about fault, whether anyone was charged with an offence, a summary of the accident, and sometimes it can include drawings of the scene.
For more information about how to get the police report, see Identifying the other party.