I have had an accident—now what?

Being involved in a vehicle accident is incredibly stressful. Unfortunately, accidents are an everyday occurrence on our roads. Feeling shaken is a typical reaction, when being involved in any type of accident, and this can often leave you dazed, confused and anxious – and unable to focus. It is imperative that you try to remain as calm as possible. Take a deep breath.

Would you know what to do if you were to be involved in an accident? Here are some important points to remember, should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation:

  1. Never leave the scene of the accident.
    You are required by law to stop your vehicle if you are involved in an accident and if commuters, passengers, and pedestrians are injured or killed or if property is damaged. Failure to stop is considered a criminal offence.
  2. Call the police and emergency services
    Use your vehicle’s hazards to warn other vehicles of any danger and climb out of your vehicle if it is safe to do so (out of traffic and out of harm’s way). Call paramedics and the police if anyone is injured or if there are fatalities. Wait calmly until medical personnel and the police services arrive at the scene of the accident. Accidents can stir up all sorts of emotions – and we all deal with situations differently. Even if the other driver is acting aggressively towards you, you should try to avoid any conflict situation.
  3. Clear the road.
    Stay courteous! Be honest!
    It’s important to try to remain alert at the scene of the accident, if you are in a good physical condition to do so. Remember to also take note of what happened immediately before and after the accident (what could have led to the accident happening) i.e. was the other driver drunk, talking on his/her cell or driving too fast. This is the sort of information you would need when submitting a claim with your insurer.
    Take down the following information from all other drivers involved in the accident as well as from any possible witnesses of the accident. If you do not have a pen and paper handy – use your cellular phone to take photos of documents, and also to take down all their details in the form of notes.
  4. Assess the damage.
    For insurance purposes take photos of the accident scene from as many different angles as possible. Take close-up photos of any damage to your vehicle and any others involved. You could also take photos of the other vehicle’s license disc as well as number plate – as this information will be required.
  5. Questions and answers
    Stay courteous! Be honest!
    It’s important to try to remain alert at the scene of the accident, if you are in a good physical condition to do so. Remember to also take note of what happened immediately before and after the accident (what could have led to the accident happening) i.e. was the other driver drunk, talking on his/her cell or driving too fast. This is the sort of information you would need when submitting a claim with your insurer.
    Take down the following information from all other drivers involved in the accident as well as from any possible witnesses of the accident. If you do not have a pen and paper handy – use your cellular phone to take photos of documents, and also to take down all their details in the form of notes.

    • Full names and surnames
    • ID numbers
    • Home, cell and business phone numbers
    • Physical addresses
    • E-mail addresses
    • Vehicle registration
    • Description of the vehicles (make, model and colour)
    • Names and contact details of the police officials, paramedics, and tow truck drivers
    • Accident location: street name and suburb
    • The time of the accident
    • Road conditions and visibility (i.e. rain, potholes, mist, clear visibility etc.)
  6. Report the accident to the police.
    It is a legal requirement to report the accident to the police within 24 hours – usually at the closest police station to where the accident occurred. If you are unable to report the incident within 24 hours, due to injuries or hospitalization, please do so as soon as possible. You would have to indicate why your accident report is delayed. It is important to note that it is an offence not to report an accident in which another person has been injured or in which someone else’s property has been damaged.
  7. Towing protocol
    Towing operators are most often the first people on the scene of an accident, and they work closely with authorities to clear the scene of an accident as fast as possible, to ensure that traffic flow continues. You might feel pressured to have your vehicle towed by an unauthorized towing operator. Don’t allow your vehicle to be towed by any towing service other than your insurance provider’s authorised towing service.
  8. Report the accident to your insurance company.
    Report the accident to your insurance company and submit a claim where relevant. It is important to report the accident to your insurance company even if you do not intend submitting a claim to them. This is important because if you caused the accident another party involved in the accident may wish to make a claim against your policy.

Some further important points to consider:

  • Don’t admit liability for the accident, even if you think that you may have caused it.
  • When making your statement to the police give only the essentials and do not sign a written statement without first consulting your insurance company or an attorney.
  • Dash cam footage can act as an ‘extra witness’ in an accident to help determine who was at fault for the collision. This could be provided to your insurer to assist in fast-tracking the claims process.

At African Independent, our Gold Club membership ensures that you and your vehicle receive the exceptional service it deserves 24/7*. As our client, you have access to our dedicated towing services. In case of an emergency, you can simply call us on 0861 001 002 for assistance, and our team of highly qualified professionals will be able to assist you.
Chat with one of our friendly and professional consultants to find out more about our insurance offerings.

Email: info@africanindependentbrokers.co.za
Call us: 0861 001 002
Or visit our website: www.africanindependent.co.za

* T & C’s apply. Risk profile and policy dependent.

African Independent Brokers (Pty) Ltd (Registration number 2012/010479/07) is an authorised financial services provider (FSP38159). Copyright © African Independent Brokers (Pty) Ltd – All rights reserved.

Sources:
https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Answering-the-Question-Who-is-to-blame-for-the-Crash
https://www.legalwise.co.za/help-yourself/quicklaw-guides/car-accidents
https://www.gacovinolake.com/faqs/what-happens-if-you-are-at-fault-in-a-car-accident/
https://www.thebalance.com/
https://www.firstforwomen.co.za/
https://businesstech.co.za/