What to do if you’re in an accident

By admin
26 September 2013

While we hope you’re never involved in an accident, knowing the procedures to follow should you be in a fender-bender is essential.

While we hope you’re never involved in an accident, knowing the procedures to follow should you be in a fender-bender is essential.

Flickr: meddygarnet

There are legal requirements that need to be fulfilled in the event of an accident, whether you’re the cause of it or not. It’s therefore in your best interests to have an understanding of the legal requirements. Prevent unnecessary stress and unpleasantness by following these steps:

  1. Stop after an accident. Failing to stop is a criminal offence that could land you in jail.
  2. Switch on your hazard lights. This will warn other drivers of the accident. Then, if you’re able to do so, get out of your car and check the nature and extent of the injuries to the other people involved.
  3. If necessary, call an ambulance and the police.
  4. Don’t interfere with the evidence or move the vehicles if a person or an animal has been injured. An exception is if the vehicle obstructs the traffic completely, in which case you can move it slightly so as to allow traffic to move past, but only after marking the original position with chalk or spray paint.
  5. Assess the extent of the damage to property. If you have a camera on you (the camera on your cellphone will do), take pictures of the accident from different angles. Also, take close-up photos of any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved for insurance purposes.
  6. Take down all the relevant information from the other people and vehicles involved in the accident as well as from people who witnessed the accident. This information includes full names and surnames; ID numbers; home, business and cellphone numbers; physical addresses; e-mail addresses and vehicle registration numbers.
  7. It will also help to get a description of the vehicles and the names and contact details of the police officials, ambulance personnel and tow truck drivers who attended the scene.
  8. Take note of the signs. It also helps to take careful note of what happened immediately before and after the accident. For example, did the other driver appear intoxicated? Was he or she talking on a cellphone? Were they driving negligently or too fast? Also make a note of the place (street names and suburb) and time of the accident, the road conditions and the visibility at the time.
  9. Don’t admit liability for the accident, even if you think you may have caused it. When making your statement to the police give the essentials and don’t sign a written statement without first consulting your insurance company or an attorney.
  10. If your vehicle insurance includes roadside assistance and towing services, don’t allow your vehicle to be towed by any towing services other than your insurance provider’s authorised towing service.
  11. If your vehicle is towed, always ask for a quote from the operator before allowing them to tow away your vehicle. If possible, negotiate the price upfront. Get the name and contact details of the tow-truck operator, find out where your car is being taken and jot down the vehicle registration number of the tow truck that towed your car.
  12. Report the accident to the police. If no one was hurt then the police won’t need to be called to the scene. However, the accident must be reported by all parties involved at a police station within 24 hours. If you can’t report the accident straight away due to being injured, you must do so as soon as you’re able to – with an explanation for the delay.
  13. Report the accident to your insurance company. Even if you don’t plan to make a claim you’ll still need to report the accident because the other party may wish to make a claim against your policy.

-Faiza Mallick

Source: Dial Direct Insurance

Picture: Flickr - meddygarnet

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