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WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT

Car accidents are the stuff of nightmares for the majority of motorists in South Africa. However cautiously and carefully you may drive, the risk of being involved in an accident on the road is not non-existent. The unpleasant truth of the matter is that a small lapse in judgement or the dangerous actions of another careless driver are all it takes to cause a serious collision.

Crash

As you have undoubtedly heard before, after being involved in an accident, it is important to refrain from admitting fault. Regardless of whether or not you think you are to blame for the accident, you should never admit fault to the other driver. This is like the lamb giving the axe to the slaughterer. Do not discuss your feelings with the other party and do not agree to pay for any damages. Remember that anything you do say can and most likely will be used against you, which is a problem for many drivers who blurt out apologies instantly, the shock of the accident causing them not to have properly considered the circumstances that caused the event in the first place and whether or not it was actually their fault.

Being in an accident is traumatic. Try to remember the following points so you don't need to think about what you need to do should you unfortunately be involved in a car accident:

1. Check that you and your passengers are not injured and attempt to warn other motorists about your plight with your vehicle’s hazard lights.

2. Call Emergency Services immediately should someone have been injured in the collision. It’s important to remember not to move a person who appears to have suffered any type of spinal injury, as moving them could increase the damage.

3. You should then consult the police to report the accident, who will decide if they are going to send officers to the scene. Generally if no-one has been injured in the accident, the police will not come to the scene of the collision. (In this circumstance it is advisable to go to your nearest Police Station as soon as possible to report the accident.)

4. Make sure to exchange vital information with the other driver. Ask for their name, address, date of birth, insurance company information and obtain the ID Numbers of both the other driver and any other motorists who are witnesses. Also make a note of their car, year, model and license plate.

5. Finally, it is advisable to draw a detailed diagram of the accident. Be accurate and truthful, and include pictures of both cars after the accident. Include any other details you see as relevant, such as skid marks, traffic lights and other drivers. If you have a camera or smartphone then take photographs of the vehicles. The diagram and photos may be used as evidence at a later date.

6. Straight after this, contact your insurance company and report the claim. Many policies require you to submit the claim soon after the accident has occurred, and may deny it if you don’t contact them quickly enough because the indemnity period has expired. Be aware that you may be asked to give detailed information about the accident to your insurance company.

So, to recap:

In the event of an accident:
  1. Check your condition and the condition of your passengers
  2. Move any people that were involved in the accident out of harms way
  3. Call Emergency Services if there is anyone who has been severely injured
  4. If possible, move your car away from on-coming traffic. If your car will not move, warn other motorists with your hazard lights or other available high-visibilty devices.
  5. Call the police if someone has been seriously injured- according to law, you may not leave the scene of an accident where someone has been seriously injured until the police arrive on the scene.
  6. Exchange vital information with the other driver and take down the vehicle registration of witnesses. Draw a diagram or take photos of both cars involved in the accident.
  7. If the police were not at the scene of the accident, go to the nearest police station and report the accident. Make sure you get the Case Number from the police as you will need this for your insurance company. (Many insurers insist that the
  8. Report the claim to your insurance company.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be in a better situation after a difficult and stressful time.

 

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