What to do after a road accident? Advice for participants, witnesses and victims

road accident is defined as an event that occurs while a vehicle is in motion. As a result of a road traffic accident, people may be injured or killed, and material damage may be caused. This is one of the most common offences committed in Ukraine.

If the driver of one of the vehicles is the culprit, administrative or criminal liability is incurred (Article 286 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). A road traffic accident is considered a criminal offence in the following cases

  • When one of the parties to a road traffic accident suffered moderate or severe bodily injuries.
  • The injured party suffered serious bodily harm.
  • One or more of the participants in the accident died.

Please note! The driver’s financial liability in an accident is mandatory. A driver is criminally liable for a road traffic accident regardless of whether he or she has the right to drive a vehicle. If a student who is learning to drive was driving at the time of the accident, the instructor who was with the driver will be held liable.

Criminal liability for causing a road traffic accident:

  • Bodily injury of moderate severity. Fines, correctional labour, arrest for up to 6 months, restriction of liberty for up to 3 years, with deprivation of the right to drive vehicles for up to 3 years.
  • Serious bodily harm or death of the victim. Imprisonment from 3 to 8 years, with or without deprivation of the right to drive vehicles for up to 3 years.
  • Death of several persons. Imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years with deprivation of the right to drive vehicles for up to 3 years.

In practice, in most cases, a road traffic accident with victims results in deprivation of driving privileges.

Administrative liability for a road traffic accident is incurred if the victim suffered light bodily injuries.

The subject of a criminal offence may be a person who has reached the age of 16 at the time of the accident.

A road traffic accident is always a huge stress for the participants and witnesses, even if no one was killed or suffered significant injuries or material damage. Therefore, it is worth remembering what witnesses, victims and participants should do in the event of an accident. With this information, you will know how to act in a critical situation.

What should you do if you are involved in a road traffic accident?

What should a driver do in an accident? First of all, try to calm down and not panic. Try to control your actions, as this is very important for further proceedings.


  • Check whether any road users have been injured and call an ambulance immediately if there are any victims.
  • Place an emergency stop sign near the accident scene. It should be in the trunk of every car.
  • Call the patrol police.

Make sure that the other parties to the accident do not move their vehicles until the police and insurance agents arrive.

Is someone trying to move objects or hide something? You need to prevent this, because such behaviour is treated as illegal. In particular, you can use your right to take photos or videos to record the illegal actions.

Important! Do not take sedatives before the police arrive, as they may affect the results of the tests and the final decision in the case.

Once the police have arrived at the scene, we advise you to:

  • Communicate with law enforcement officers in a restrained and polite manner, without getting emotional.
  • Watch how the accident report and diagram are drawn up. You should make sure that it is accurate and corresponds to reality.
  • Do not give unnecessary testimony, weigh every word carefully. If it is difficult for you to give an answer, do not answer by referring to your stressful state. By the way, you can also refer to the constitutional right not to incriminate yourself.
  • Provide detailed written explanations, indicating the circumstances that testify in your favour or mitigate your guilt. The latter include, in particular, poor road conditions, adverse weather factors, and a sudden deterioration in your health. Be sure to indicate that the collision was unintentional.

Even if you are the injured party, do not refuse to undergo a medical examination or a test for alcohol intoxication. If the police confiscate your driver’s licence, this should be recorded in the report.

What to do if you are a victim of a road traffic accident?

If you are the injured party in an accident, the first piece of advice remains the same – try not to panic, think soberly and logically. First, you need to find out if other people were injured in the accident. If you find them, immediately call an ambulance and assess the possibility of providing first aid.

Algorithm of your further actions:

  • Switch on the hazard lights and place a red triangle at the scene of the accident.
  • Try to analyse the situation, find out whether it is possible to solve the problem on the spot by signing the Europrotocol. This is possible if only the car is damaged and the culprit is sober and admits his guilt. He or she must also have a motor third party liability insurance policy, and the amount of damage caused to you must not exceed 50,000 UAH.
  • If the signing of the Europrotocol is impossible for a number of reasons, call the police. Remember, while you are waiting for the police, leaving the scene of an accident is prohibited.

A road traffic accident does not always look unambiguous from the outside. It often happens that the culprit refuses to admit his or her guilt and instead emotionally blames you. Try to find witnesses from the scene who could confirm your innocence and write down their phone numbers. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the scene and your injuries. If the culprit of the accident threatens you or encourages you to commit illegal actions, try to record it on video.

Try to get the person responsible for the accident to show you the insurance policy and take a picture of it. It is advisable to write down the culprit’s phone number, address and name. Be sure to ask if he or she has notified the insurance company of the accident.

If the insurance company has not been notified, you will have to call them and answer their questions. As a rule, the insurance company number is indicated in the upper left corner of the policy. You need to contact the insurance company in order to receive compensation for material damage in the future.

Unfortunately, every victim of a road traffic accident may face aggressive behaviour from the person responsible for the accident. If he or she tries to put pressure on you, threaten you or use physical violence, get back in your car, lock the doors and wait for the police to arrive.

Once the police arrive, you should not relax either. We recommend:

  • Communicate politely with the police and provide reasoned arguments for your position.
  • Participate in checking and filling out all the documents, checking the insurance policy numbers of the parties to the accident.
  • Insist that your comments be recorded in the protocol.

Try not to leave law enforcement officers alone with the perpetrator of the accident, especially if you have no witnesses. Be sure to check whether they are taking photos or videos of the scene.

Let’s be honest – cases when police officers act in a biased manner for one reason or another do happen from time to time. So, if they draw up a report and do not allow you to read its text or include false or distorted facts, do not sign it under any circumstances. You also have the right to indicate that you do not agree with what is written.

What should you do if you witness an accident?

Horrific road accidents that end lives and cause tragedy for entire families have a huge public outcry. There could be fewer victims if those who were near the scene of the accident knew how to act in such a situation.

An accidental witness to an accident should:

  • If possible, provide first aid to the victims, call an ambulance.
  • Call the police if the parties involved in the accident did not call the police themselves. If there are no victims or the parties have no claims against each other, there is no need to call the police.
  • Try to memorise the car number plate and special features of the person responsible for the accident, if he or she has left the scene.

The actions of witnesses to a road traffic accident should be aimed primarily at helping the victims. The first thing to do if you see a road traffic accident is to make sure you are safe. Before you run to help the victims, make sure you can approach them without endangering your own life.

When you get to the car, mark the accident site with a special red triangle that most drivers keep in the trunk. Please note that the vehicle itself can be dangerous. Therefore, try to turn off the engine of the car in which the victim is sitting and lock the wheels in a stationary position.

After that, call the police, rescuers and medical assistance or ask another witness to do so. Don’t hesitate: a person’s life may depend on your prompt action!

Examine the victim and try to stop the bleeding, if any. There are 2 main types of bleeding:

  • Critical – a large amount of blood that comes out quickly. Visually, it looks like a large, rapidly growing blood stain on clothing. If the victim’s limb is bleeding, you can help with a tourniquet. Apply it 5 cm above the injury, but not on the joint. Also, to stop critical bleeding, you can apply firm pressure directly to the wound with bandages.
  • Not critical – blood spots are small and grow slowly. They can be dealt with by applying a regular bandage.

This is important! Not all injuries cause bleeding, so if the victim’s life is not in danger, do not take him or her out of the car! The fact is that people who have suffered injuries to their limbs and spine should not be moved until an ambulance arrives. If the person does not show signs of life, you will have to pull him or her out of the car to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

It is also important for a witness to an accident who provides first aid to check the victim:

  • Breathing. The easiest way is to try to talk to the person. If they are conscious and can answer your questions, their breathing is not in danger. Loss of consciousness indicates that breathing may be in danger.
  • Check the mouth for foreign bodies. If they are found, it is better to act not with your hands, but with the help of non-sharp objects available.

Never place clothing or other objects under the victim’s head. This can block the airway. In general, it is very important to monitor breathing: if it is present, deal with other injuries, if not, immediately proceed to cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police arrive, as law enforcement officers must draw up a protocol for questioning the accident witness.

Protection of the rights and interests of road traffic accident participants

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, it is advisable to immediately contact a qualified lawyer who:

  • Help you to get compensation for damages.
  • Advise you on how to exercise your procedural rights.
  • Obtain the necessary evidence.
  • Protect your interests during the pre-trial investigation and in court.
Всі поради