What to Do in the Case of a Car Accident
South Africa has a high incidence of road accidents and as many as 90% of drivers can expect to be involved in a motor vehicle accident at some stage in their lives and everyone should be prepared in any event. Fortunately there are dedicated car accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys to protect our interests.
Apart from costly damages to the motor vehicle, there is a very real threat of extensive injury or even death to the people involved in the accident, whether pedestrians, passengers or drivers. Personal injury attorneys will, first and foremost, assist in ascertaining who should be held liable for the accident and what claims, if any, can be established against the guilty party.
Ensure you appoint a top flight law firm
There are dedicated car accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers to deal with all aspects of an accident. It is up to the driver or injured party to approach a reputable law firm for the right kind of assistance and advice.
As with all accidents, it is imperative to remain calm; bring your car to a stop if it is in motion and move it completely off the road if necessary. At this stage, it is critical to quickly and calmly determine the extent of any bodily injuries and to call the emergency services if necessary.
Gather the facts
Once the damages to the motor vehicles have been assessed, make sure you collect all the relevant details of the driver and any witnesses at the scene of the accident – they may be called on to appear in court should the case be contested. Information should include:
A description of the offending vehicle
Insist on the vehicle ID number of the car
The licence plate number
It is crucial that these details are handed over to your car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Do not, under any circumstances, discuss the accident with anyone else apart from the police and your car accident or personal injury attorney. It is often easy to admit liability or fault when in shock, so the tried and tested rule of thumb is simply to keep ‘mum’.
It’s a good idea to take photographs if you have a camera phone, or to make a quick sketch, of where the occupants of both cars were seated as well as where each car was on the road at the time of the accident, including the direction of travel. Make a clear note of the date and time of the accident as well as the prevailing weather conditions. This can prove invaluable should the case go to court.
File an accident report
If the police have not been called to the scene, it is imperative to report the accident at your nearest police station, regardless of the severity of the collision. Remember to get hold of both a case number and a copy of the police report, if possible. These items are mandatory information in any motor vehicle accident claim and will be critical information for your car accident lawyer.
Hereafter, it’s a matter of contacting a top flight law firm specialising in car accidents or personal injury and leaving it in the hands of the experts.