Car accidents cost the UK economy at least £1 billion every year in lost working hours, a report claimed today.

Motorists spend an average of 3.5 days dealing with the aftermath of a crash, says a leading accident and claims management company. More than 10,000 accidents from car park bumps and scrapes to major traffic incidents are recorded every day, meaning motorists annually spend 98 million hours, or the equivalent of 12.4 million working days, trying to get themselves back on the road.

With experts estimating an absent or non-industrious employee costs business £75 a day, the financial implication rises to a massive £926 million annually.

“Until you have been involved in an accident, it is hard to appreciate just how much hassle and time is involved in dealing with the fall-out”, says Steve Evans, chief executive of Accident Exchange.

In more complicated incidents, where liability is disputed, or the car is written off, the actual time spent resolving the affair could easily rise to nearer 50 hours.

Unsurprisingly, the most time consuming element remains dealing with insurers - be it your own or the third party insurer. On average, we will spend the equivalent of 8 hours on the phone talking to them. We will also have to find more than 4 hours to visit garages and bodyshops to organise estimates to repair the damage, an hour for chasing people up on progress, 2 hours to arrange for a hire car, 4 hours to wait in for its delivery and at least a further hour to fill out all the forms or deal with correspondence.

Evans adds: “With so many disparate parties involved in the chain it is easy to see how the hours turn into days. By its nature, it means the consumer has no option but to conduct much of the chasing during the working day".

“Unfortunately, the economic and financial headaches don’t take into account the emotion and stress associated in getting yourself back on the road. It can turn into a real saga so easily.”

And the rise is uninsured motorists is adding to the problem. With one in 20 driving without insurance, it not only costs law-abiding motorists an extra £30 a year on their insurance premium, it leaves them having to deal with more paperwork and chasing if they were unfortunate enough to be hit by an uninsured driver.