While being a responsible driver does reduce your risk behind the wheel, car accidents can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone. If you are in a car crash, it may not be your fault; that is, the incident may have been caused by other reckless drivers, dangerous road conditions, design defects or other circumstantial events.
It’s normal to feel some difficult emotions after you have crashed but it is important to remain calm and know exactly What to Do After a Car Accident. Here, in collaboration with Hippo.co.za*, we outline the different steps that you should take at the scene of the accident.
Do not flee the scene
If you believe that you are to blame for the accident, you may feel overwhelmed and tempted to leave the scene. This, however, could result in more serious consequences. The law requires that you stop, switch on your hazards to warn other drivers, and step out of your car when it is safe to do so.
Take stock of the situation
Before evaluating any damages to vehicle and property, you need to attend to all the people involved in the accident to determine if anyone sustained any injuries. If you notice any injuries, call an ambulance immediately, taking care not to move anyone that is seriously hurt unless there are any threats of further injury, or death.
Notify the police
If there have been any deaths, serious injuries or significant damage to property, you need to call the police. You must provide your vehicle registration number, your name and address to anyone who has the authority to ask for them. If the police do not show up, you are required to file a police report at the nearest police station within 24 hours.
Collect and exchange information
There are some important details you should collect at the scene of the accident. These include names, contact numbers, licence plate numbers, drivers’ licence numbers and insurance information of every driver involved. Also, collect all information of the passengers involved in the accident.
Record the scene
Take pictures of the damage done to your vehicle. Capture the interior and exterior of your vehicle as well as the location. Be sure to pay attention to your immediate surroundings, including the weather, road condition, potholes or broken traffic lights.
Notify your car insurance company
You need to update your Car Insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Remember that honesty is the best policy when detailing the events that led up to the accident, and any personal damages and injuries. You may also be asked to submit a police report. Not providing truthful descriptions could result in your claim being rejected.
Fix any damages to your car
If another party is responsible for the accident, their insurance company may foot the bill of the repair costs. If not, you or your car insurance provider will need to take care of the critical damage to your vehicle (depending or whether or not your claim is approved, and how much is covered).
If you own a vehicle, it will be to your advantage to purchase a comprehensive car insurance policy to cover different types of loss or damage, irrespective of who is to blame for an accident.
*Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial services provider.