Okay so this is a little random but I think hardcore Spikers know that this blog is a little bit scattergun. And you all hated the slip dress thing so much I’m not writing about clothes again for a bit…
I was in a very mild prang with another car about three years ago and realised that I was entirely unprepared for this event and it’s taken me three years to get an old friend of mine who is a barrister who specialised in road accidents – (but has to remain anonymous in order to be frank) – to write this guide to what to do if you are in one.
This made me laugh and laugh, I hope you enjoy it too.
- Stay calm. Which is obviously impossible, but it’s worth a try. People understandably get v. angry or upset after road traffic accidents and are always saying “I meant to take photos, I meant to look for witnesses” but they didn’t because they’re boiling with rage or weeping. Of course, some people are suffering from shock or other psychological responses and there’s not much they can do.
- Don’t panic if you’ve said “sorry”. Everyone says ‘sorry’ by mistake. It’s basically just what English people of a certain class do … it’s the same when people bang into you on the street “oh sorry – I was in your way” as a passive aggressive way of telling them off. “Oh sorry – you’ve accidentally burgled my house” etc. In truth, if you have said sorry, don’t worry – many judges take a common sense view on this (even if on nothing else) – they tend to think that what you say at the scene is because you’re shocked anyway. Maybe get a video of the post accident chat (though frankly that might make you look like a bit of a psycho in court).
- Photos – take all of them. Take barrels of them right there and then, there’s no excuse if you have an iPhone with any kind of memory. Take them at the scene, showing vehicle location, vehicle damage (close up and far off), the other car, your car, every car. Take a photo with a landmark or prominent building in the frame so it can be keyed to an exact location. Go back and see if you can take a photo of where there’s glass or tyre marks in the road where the cars collided. Some people have videos of the cars, which can’t be bad. Basically, these things stand and fall a lot of the time on objective evidence (given that the actual drivers have all been punching each other, or are paralysed with shock or too busy apologising to everyone), and it’s so frustrating when people take the wrong photo (“oh – I thought you’d want to see the radio dial as I was listening to the Moral Maze at the time”), but not who was where or what. Make sure you keep them properly, send them to your insurer and your solicitor (as they often get lost in between). If it goes to trial, check that the solicitor has them and probably print them out yourself, as everyone will often have just crappy black and white copies that have been triple scanned and photocopied.
- Look around for witnesses – including in your own car. People get told, ‘family members don’t count as witnesses’ – which is bizarre as they count for something at least, even if they are not a vicar with perfect eyesight and a photographic memory who happens to be passing by. Also, get the details of anyone who saw it (though if they’re sensible they’ll have driven off at high speed themselves).
- Once you’ve got home, calmed down, and remembered it all – get it all down on paper and in detail. Make sure it’s dated somehow. Memory is a funny beast, and if it goes on for a bit, you’ll be asked questions three years later like “how many times did the indicator tick on June 23rd” and you’ll be like “I can’t remember my own middle name”. So, descend to absurd detail (though only the stuff you actually remember doing, not the stuff you usually do – it’s a good way to get caught out). If you draw diagrams, think about them properly in terms of location of vehicles and size and such. Some of them basically tell an entirely different story to the written recollection and makes it look like you can’t even get your terrible lies straight in your own head.
**** my friend who submitted this has asked that I include a thing here about how this shouldn’t be used as legal advice. Because lawyers are such fun like that.
Emma Dawson says
V. funny. I ‘almost’ want to test out the advice and see how much of it I remember but that sounds weird, right?
This is great. A really worthwhile reminder of how one is supposed to react when your head is in a panic.
Ps. I loved the slip dress post! I immediately bought the dress to go with a long chunky knit and I’m excited already. And I bought another shorter slip to go under regular dresses which is a thing that is actually very hard to find outside La Perla territory. I hadn’t considered VS (never really thought it was for me) So thanks!! Dunno what’s wrong with everyone else…
Yes this is brilliant. Especially the ‘go back and take pics afterwards’ advice. I swear I won my case about 20 years ago because I went back and took pictures of the hole in the hedge where I was avoiding the oncoming car and the glass and especially the other car’s hugely long skid marks- which I also photographed with a tape measure beside them etc etc. I felt a right idiot when taking the pics but pretty smug at the hearing, when I produced them! I have a feeling I had told my solicitor I had them but she didn’t seem very interested, but I took them along anyway because I thought they might be relevant. Double smug.
I never really read comments, but the post came as a bit of a shock – plus I am procrastinating BIG time – so I did that. Maaaan.. I understand… but PLEASE keep them coming! Using the wise words of Prof Stromwell: https://getyarn.io/video/e99ca684-1838-49a2-9f5b-9c8e1b8b9d4c?utm_source=getyarn Hahahh
For me, 90% of your choices are bang-on, both on the choices and the particulars, but mostly I enjoy the way you write. Keep the subjects to whatever you enjoy writing about, gosh it’s just fun!
Finally, get well soon 🙂 and do a post about remedies – I have this cold too with cough that I hate.
Oh! Last thing! I have a daughter 31/2 and we need a winter coat. She likes ballerinas, princesses and the such and since I was never a girlie-girl, I feel a bit conflicted- any suggestions welcome even if it is by private email 😉 hahah
I also really liked the slip dress post. I had brought one from Topshop which arrived yesterday, which was not quite right but I could see the potential – so I’ve now ordered your recommendation – and think it will be great.
tracey davies says
I loved the slip dress post and had been waiting for it 🙂
This is excellent advice – who can beat a mixture of practical and amusing – and as a long term Spiker I love the eclectic nature of the posts but Esther! Do not freak me out by saying you aren’t going to write about clothes for a while! I have NO IDEA what to wear this Autumn and am hanging on in summer capsule until your sage advice appears. Plus I won’t buy winter coats for my children until you give the advice you mentioned you had, so picture my poor cold children and take pity. It seems I have become problematically dependent on your wisdom. Get well soon x
Shit shit shit! Going as fast as I can. Sorry Sarah xxxx
Oh no! Meant to encourage not pressurise. We have no right to your time and energies. We’re just needy. X
no no you do I love you guys xxx
Louise McKechnie says
Please don’t stop writing about clothes….please? I am aware I’m begging, but needs must. This post made me laugh….took me back to my own old days as a baby barrister cutting my teeth on minor RTA cases….what larks! Spot-on advice! 👍
Belle Stennett says
Actually I didn’t hate the slip thing. At my advanced age, my legs are apparently ‘phenomenal’ so slinging an oversized jumper or whatever over the hated garment with a pair of biker boots rather gets it I think.
I liked the slip dress! Was feeling smug as had worn something similar last week and younger sister (who is quite stylish and lives in city as opposed to shit provincial town) had complimented me on my outfit! Mine not exactly a slip dress (too much post-partum tummy still) but a black dress that I bought in another lifetime from TK Maxx when I actually used to go out out, so cost per wear is ridiculously good especially now I’ve reinvented it!
Pat Sornberger says
Don’t give up your clothing posts! I took your capsule wardrobe series to heart and packed for my vacation based solely on your recommendations. And it was perfect. Just need a couple more white t-shirts. I can only seem to get one day out of white.
Jill Brennan says
I love the randomness of the Spike postings even if I didn’t buy the slip dress. You must keep writing and distract the rest of us from a terribly long, boring work day or cleaning up kids spag bol off the floor for the fourth billion bloody time that week. Is it only Wednesday?!?
CONSTANT WIPING = MOTHERHOOD
Please please don’t stop the clothing posts, you have inspired me to give a **** about what I wear! I now almost exclusively dress in your capsule suggestions and have had compliments that I haven’t had since I was 20…👍In dire need of autumn/winter trousers advice please!!!
on its way!
The one incident I had I said sorry immediately and cried and the guy just said no worries love and we said no more about it. This all sounds much more thorough. My mum apologises *before* anything happens. Her driving technique is mirror, signal, manoeuvre, “sorry fella!”. It does seem to ease things along for her.
Don’t stop posting about clothes (although I like the non clothes posts just as much). I’m shivering in my capsule t shirt until I get the signal for sleeves! Also I wore my girlfriend jeans with boots today and my daughter said I looked like a knight, which I was of course delighted with, but I’m going to need other options soon. Not to mention a sock recap. But get better first.
P.s I looked up your post on “hair zoning” over the holidays – having not paid attention the first time round, but then treading on my straighteners made me remember it – and omg it’s been great. I’ve finally got waves without frizz. My husband loves it (which is to say he noticed it) and I’ve even had compliments on it from random 8 year old girls; I feel like Moana. So sometimes we just need time for stuff to sink in xx
yes when a 10 yo girl says “I love your hair it’s like a mermaids” you just fucking high five yourself to death
Excellent advice. My husband (a solicitor) had an accident last year taking a barrister to the station. The poor (lost) Polish driver didn’t stand a chance as they switched into gear, taking photos and interviewing witnesses!
🙁 but also 🙂
Agree with all of this advice, I work in a similar area and the only thing I’d add is if there’s cctv get onto the shop/business/council yourself if you can and ask for a copy. If you wait for the lawyer or ins.company to do it, times passed and it could be gone (also some business become arsey about DPA and privacy whereas they might be happy to just hand it over to the poor wronged driver). Also if you can, get a dashcam, then you’ve got your own evidence there and then.
Mia you have really thought about this
I dinged a car outside the sheriff centre (after my son’s birthday party, so I was exhausted). I was part way through writing a note when the owner returned. He looked at the not-totally-superficial scape and said “don’t worry. This is just London living”. Nicest man ever.
Oh my god love that man
Sorry, I’m being a bit dim here, but why are we doing this? To prove which driver was at fault? So their insurance has to pay? Or something else? I’m VERY new to driving, I didn’t pass my test until I was 33 (and 37 weeks pregnant!). I am now a bit terrified, I don’t think I’d really know if it was my fault or not! I’d end up submitting evidence against myself. Elaine x
Ps. Should point out I have a law degree of my very own, but didn’t ever practice, so I’m not that dim. Just quite dim.
Yes exactly – it’s for insurance claims or if things end up in court (unlikely but possibly)
Esther this is AMAZING advice! I only learnt to drive two years ago at the grand old age of 38 and one thing that really freaked me out at first was what to do if I crashed into someone. And now I know! Thank you!
P.s. am hoping for a winter boot post…
I wouldn’t wear a slip dress myself due to not having the figure or height or pallor to pull off a satin nightie as daywear BUT the point is that some women will like and look good in one. Have found your clothing recommendations useful even if sometimes I have to do a variation on the theme to fit my own style and budget. Keep them coming.x
We love you in Oz
Hope you are recovering
Thanks Maggie I love my Australian readers xxxxx
Hurray! You’re doing autumn/winter clothes soon! I am SO into this capsule thing and don’t know what to wear now it’s cold. x
I have only recently discovered this blog but am now a dedicated fan.
I heeded much of your advice for summer capsule wardrobe – and desperately waiting for your Autumn one now!
I have no idea what to buy – badly need new everything, especially footwear…
As a previous poster has said – I also want to know what you recommend for kids winter coats!
Isabelle welcome! Always so lovely to have new readers. I am working on Autumn, I am slightly lacking inspiration at the moment, but I’m definitely on the case x
Esther, please continue with the clothes related posts. I may never wear a slip dress (I’ll definitely never wear a slip dress) but I have been living in a denim jacket for the past month on your advice. All hail the capsule wardrobe! x
Charlotte you are the best x
I LOVE your clothes posts – don’t stop! I may not be a slip dresser but my god I have barely taken off those PJs from Asos!! Hope the cold is better. Plus in the hideous nightmare of moving house hell – this blog is one of my few pleasures
Oh and I once when pregnant was accidentally in reverse and drove into a car in a petrol station. I started weeping and was all pregnant and head fried and the nice man said he owned a garage and that he would get his ‘boys’ to sort the damage on his shiny BMW. He asked if I would go on Just Giving and donate instead to a skydive he was doing… So I did. Turned out he was jumping from a plane, for his young son, who was very ill. So I wrote a blog about it and got all my readers from across the world to sponsor him… A nicer man I have yet to meet.
OMG IS HE SINLGE??????