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Road Collision FAQs

Your Road Collision FAQs answered following a road traffic collision.

If a Person is Charged or Summoned

How is a person charged or summoned?

If a court action is to be taken, you may be issued with a summons which outlines the offence and the requirement to attend court to answer the allegations. In certain circumstances a person may be charged at a police station to appear before the court, but this very much depends on the circumstances of the particular case.

Where are cases heard?

Depending on the charge, cases are heard in a magistrates' court or a crown court. Serious charges are heard in the crown court.

The case for the prosecution is prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Cases can take longer than expected to be resolved. This may be for many reasons, such as a need to trace a witnesses or obtain documents prior to a court hearing.

bmw rear editWhat if I have to attend a court as a witness?

If you are called as a witness it may help to remember the following:

  • The defendant will be present throughout the case and will be able to hear all of the evidence.
  • Court hearings may start late, be cut short or postponed.
  • Some courts are modern and have good facilities, others have few.
  • As a witness you will not be able to listen to the case until after you have given evidence. Once you have done this you may remain in court if you wish but you must not speak to other witnesses that are yet to give their evidence.
  • You may share the same court facilities with the defendant in your case.
  • Evidence presented at the court is for the benefit of the magistrates, the judge and jury. You may not be able to see the evidence being discussed (such as diagrams or videos) - in some cases the police are in attendance and may be able to help explain what is happening.

From whom can I receive guidance?

If your collision is likely to result in criminal charges being brought against someone else, you may get help and support from the Victim Support scheme. Ask for information about the Witness Service. It can help you through court proceedings for trials. Call 0845 30 30 900.

Prosecutions

Police Officers Knocking on Door EditDo prosecutions follow in every case?

No. However, if it appears that a driver may have committed an offence, they will be informed that they may be prosecuted. This may be verbally at the time, or in writing at a later date.

Police investigators will work towards establishing the truth about what happened.

The purpose of a prosecution is to find out if someone is guilty of an offence and punish an offender.

As an alternative to prosecution, Staffordshire Police may offer the facility of a driver improvement scheme. The intention is to improve road safety. If eligible you will be notified by the traffic and process office.

Who decides to prosecute?

Police staff review the evidence following national guidelines which include the Crown Prosecution Service Codes of Practice. When making this decision they will take into account if there is evidence of an offence. The law is complex and each case is treated individually, however in cases of careless driving, they will look at whether the standard of driving displayed is below that of a competent and careful driver.In cases of alleged dangerous driving, they will look at whether the driving was far below the standard of a competent and careful driver.

Should I Inform My Insurance Company?

motorway police officer watchingYes. You need to do this as soon as possible. Most companies require immediate notification irrespective of whether or not a claim is made.

Don't worry if you are not in possession of all the information - these details will be provided on request approximately ten days after the incident via the traffic and process office.

What information will the insurance company require?

Most companies normally require the time, date and place of the collision, the names and addresses of the other parties involved and details of any witnesses.

Again, don't worry if you can't give the insurance company all the information they require at this stage - this information can be obtained from the traffic and process office.

What paperwork can the police give me?

Can I get a copy of the police collision report?

Yes, but only after the investigation is complete and the administration fee is paid.

In most cases your insurers or legal advisors will obtain a copy. Contact the Traffic and Process Office for more information.

officer at deskCan I get further information from the police officer who attended the scene?

Not under normal circumstances. The police officer who attended the scene of the collision has completed his or her duties by completing a written report at the scene. In some cases, the officer will have given you his or her personal contact number for a particular reason.

The Traffic and Process Office takes on the responsibility of all the administrative enquiries thereafter. Should you require information about the collision you have been involved in, then please contact the Traffic and Process Office allowing at least ten days from the day of collision.

Remember that parties involved have up to seven days to produce their driving documents to the police. The ten day period allows time for all the information to be gathered.