Motoring 16.8.2017 09:30 am

What should I do after a car accident?

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

Knowing what to do and who to contact when you find yourself involved in a car accident could lessen the stress throughout the whole process.

While a car accident may not be something we like to think about, it’s very important to know what to do in the unfortunate event that you are involved in one. Would you know what to do to deal with the situation? With car accidents a daily occurrence in South Africa, knowing how to deal with the situation once it has happened is vital, particularly if somebody has been injured and assistance is needed. Our own version below is inspired by another article about What to do after a car accident.

1.) Stop and secure the scene

If you find yourself in an accident, stop your car if it hasn’t stalled already and stay at the scene of the accident. Never leave the scene with the intention of returning later or not at all, as doing so is a serious offence, especially in an instance where someone was injured. Move your car to a safe area if possible, and put your hazard lights on.

2.) Ensure you and any other parties involved are okay

 Before checking the damage to your or the other party’s cars, check that all drivers and passengers are okay. If anyone has been injured an ambulance should be called. While it may be tempting to try and help people who are either trapped or hurt, it must be left for the paramedics to deal with as they have the medical experience and knowledge.

Picture: Supplied.

Picture: Supplied.

3.) Exchange information

 If damage has been done to either of the cars involved, or people have been hurt, ensure you receive the name, contact number, vehicle registration number,  licence plate number, driver’s licence number, and insurance related information from the other party in order to process any claims made. It’s often best to take photographs of the cars involved and all details needed, as this takes less time and prevents information from being written down incorrectly. With all the correct information at hand, your insurance company can then guide you through the claims process.

4.) Inform the police of the accident

 A police report of the accident must be filed within 24 hours of the accident. If a police officer does not arrive at the scene, you must go to the nearest police station to file a report. You will be required to give your name, address, telephone number and vehicle registration number in order to complete the report. This report is necessary to file a Car Insurance claim if the need arises.

5.) Report the incident to your car insurance company

Report the incident to your car insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Failure to do so within a certain period of time can negatively affect the outcome of your claim should you wish to make one. Your insurance company must be informed of the nature of the accident and the other party’s insurance details. A form will be sent to you to fill in, which must be completed as accurately as possible. If details of the accident are changed, this could lead to the rejection of your claim.

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

6.) Repair damages to your car

 If your insurance company feels your car does not need to be written off, it will be sent for repairs at an approved car repair company if the claim is approved. Depending on the type of insurance policy you have, the repairs may be fully covered or partially covered and you may have to pay the difference. Ensure that when your car is towed away that the tow company is approved by your insurance company, otherwise the towing of your car may cost you personally.

While no one can predict an accident, one can be fully prepared to deal with one if it does occur. And if you’re aware of the correct processes to follow, the whole situation can be dealt with as quickly and stress-free as possible.

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