What to Remember When You Have Been in a Car Accident 

From bumper bashings to 10 car pile-ups on the highway, car accidents are an everyday occurrence on South African roads.

If the worst happened and you were involved in a car accident, would you know what to do at the accident scene? Being involved in an accident is unnerving! It can leave you dazed and confused. Take a moment to collect your thoughts, take a few deep breaths and remember to try and remain as calm as possible.

Knowing what steps to follow will help you feel more in control of the situation.

Step 1

As with any type of accident, stop and switch on your hazards.

Step 2

Even if it is just be a minor bumper bashing incident, you still need to check if anyone is injured. If so, do not attempt to remove any injured persons from the car, but rather call the relevant emergency services to assist.

Step 3

If nobody is injured and the damage to the vehicle seems minimal, you may move your vehicle to help ease the flow of traffic. If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to move your vehicle, place hazard markers on the road and call your Emergency assist number for your Insurer.

Step 4

Do a proper check of the damage to your vehicle and – if possible, use your cell phone to take pictures of the damage to your car and that of the other vehicle. Remember to also take note of what happened immediately before and after the accident, for example was the other driver drunk, talking on his/her cell or driving too fast.

Step 5

Most importantly, EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Take down the following information from all other drivers involved in the accident as well as from people who witnessed the accident:

  • Full names
  • ID number
  • Car registration number
  • Address
  • Cell phone number
  • Insurance company details
  • Make, model and colour of the other vehicle
  • The date and time of the accident
  • Details of any eye witnesses.

If you can, take pictures of the driver’s license and car license disk with your cell phone.

Step 6

Both parties must visit their nearest police station within 24 hours to get a case number.

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 even if neither of the parties intends taking legal action.

Step 7

Contact your insurance Broker or Insurance company to advise them of the incident, even if you suspect the damage to be minor and you don’t plan to claim.

Report the accident to your insurance company even if you don’t 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.

Step 8

Depending on the damage to your vehicle, the insurer may ask you to bring your vehicle to one of their vehicle assessing centres where a qualified assessor will evaluate the damage. They will then get a few comparative quotes and will let you know how much it will cost to get your car repaired.

Step 9

If you want to submit a claim, we will assist you. Alternatively, if you prefer to pay for the damages yourself, please inform us that you will not be submitting a claim.

Important Notes:
  • 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.
  • Don’t allow your vehicle to be towed by any towing service other than your insurance provider‘s authorised towing service.
  • If you don’t have tow cover with your insurance company ask the tow truck driver for a quote before your vehicle is towed away.
  • Write down the name, contact details and vehicle registration number of the tow truck driver and find out where your car is being taken.

Article by: Tamara Hamblin