6 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015

You’ve had a car accident and now you need to submit a car insurance claim. 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 do know what to do at the accident scene so you can file a successful auto claim and stay on the right side of the law? Find out what you need to know and read up on First for Women’s six-step guide about how to deal with a car accident so you can claim against your car insurance policy. 

Step 1. Pullover and request help

Stop your car and pull over to a safe spot off the road if you are able so that you’re not obstructing traffic. Switch on your hazards to warn other vehicles and climb out of your car. If necessary, call for an ambulance or emergency personnel to assist with the injured. If it’s a serious car accident, the traffic police could be called to the scene. 

Special Note:

You are required by law to stop your vehicle if you are involved in an accident and commuters and pedestrians are injured or killed, or if any property is damaged. Failing to stop is considered a criminal offence.[1] You can be criminally charged for failing to help someone who has been hurt in an accident you are involved in, even if the accident was not your fault. Remember, however, that as much as you want to help injured people you should not administer first aid unless you are qualified to do so. 

Step 2. Clear the road 

Provided it is safe to do so, move any cars or objects that are obstructing the flow of traffic, but be sure to mark their position on the road first with chalk (or take a photograph) before these vehicles or objects are moved.

Special Note:

If a person or animal has been injured in the accident do not interfere with the evidence or move any vehicles unless those vehicles are completely obstructing the traffic. 

Step 3. Assess the damage to the vehicles or property

It’s recommended to take multiple photos of the accident from as many different angles as possible for car insurance purposes.  First for Women suggests taking close-up photos of any damage to your car and any other cars involved in the accident. 

Step 4: Exchanging important information 

It’s essential that you take down the following information from all other drivers involved in the accident as well as from any people who witnessed the accident: 

  • 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

  • Your location: street name and suburb 

  • The time of the accident

  • Road conditions and visibility  

Remember to take note of what happened immediately before and after the accident, for example, if the other driver appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, or if they were perhaps talking on their cellphone at the time of the accident. 

Special Note: 

You need this all information if you want to submit a car insurance claim to your insurance company or the Road Accident Fund or if you want to claim the cost of the repairs to your car from other drivers. 

Step 5: Report the accident to the police 

It’s very important, for car insurance purposes, to file a report about the accident to the police within 24 hours. If you are injured or in hospital and cannot report the incident within 24 hours, do so as soon as you possibly can and explain why your report is delayed.

Special Note: 

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 6: Report the accident to First for Women

You will need to report the details of the car accident to your insurance company in order to submit a car insurance claim. If you’re not sure how to do so, take a look at our guide detailing How to submit an insurance claim. 

Special Note: 

Remember that you need to report the accident to your insurance company even if you don't intend submitting an auto claim to them. This is important because if you caused the accident another party involved in the accident may wish to make a third party insurance claim against your policy.

Car insurance advice about car accidents and collisions

First for Women has these additional tips to take into consideration when it comes to your car insurance and vehicular accidents:

  • Don't admit liability for the accident, even if you think that you may have caused it

  • Only provide the essential information when making your statement to the police. We strongly advise that you do not sign a written statement without first consulting your insurance broker to check your policy 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.

Guardian Angel on Call: roadside assistance 

First for Women’s Guardian Angel on Call benefit is the kind of roadside assistance your need if you’re ever involved in a car accident. This benefit will provide you with immediate assistance from a professional auto-service you can trust.  To get the First for Women Guardian Angel on Call benefit, you will need to download the app from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and save 0860 104 211 on your phone for communications. 

Get a car insurance quote from First for Women

Comprehensive car insurance from First for Women will cover you for car accidents or collisions, hijacking, theft or damage. Accidents, theft or loss can happen when you least afford it so don’t get caught out. Apply for a free car insurance quote online to keep you covered. 

Sources:

[1] Arrive alive: legal obligations after a car accident

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