What to do after an accident
You hear that sickening crunch of metal and you realise you've just been involved in a car accident. So what now? Here is some useful information about the legal and medical steps you need to take at the scene of the accident.
Don’t panic or get abusive when you see the damage to your car, this may only make the other driver become defensive. Think calmly so you can assess the extent of the damage and whether you may have been at fault. If you are without fault, be assertive and make the other driver see that he or she was at fault so there is no doubt later on.
Call an ambulance
Physical injuries are far more important than vehicle damage, so call an ambulance immediately if you suspect someone has been seriously injured.
If anyone at the scene is unconscious or severely injured, do not move them unless they are in harm’s way, as they could have broken bones or internal injuries. Remember to never touch blood with your bare hands because this increases your risk of transferring diseases. This is the time to stock up on a first aid kit that includes gloves.
Contact the police
Even if the accident is minor, it is important to call the police, who can take down statements for legal, criminal and insurance purposes. If the driver at fault is drunk or high on drugs, now is the only time to prove it. Do not leave the scene until the police file a full report and remember take down the officer’s name.
Retain witnesses and evidence
Witnesses are a great asset to an accident scene as they are able to verify the events, especially if there are any claims or court action arising from the vehicle accident. Take down witnesses' contact details and try to keep them at the accident scene until the police arrive.
Where possible, try to take photographs of the accident scene, as well as damages to your own vehicle, other vehicles and all property involved.
Don't move the vehicles
Do not move the vehicles involved in the accident until the police have marked out the position of the cars and the point of impact. Only move the vehicles before this is done, if the car is fire hazard or blocking the road or if the vehicle is housing an injured person that cannot be attended to without moving a vehicle.
Get the other driver’s details
Don’t let any of the drivers involved leave without giving you their details. Details should include their cellphone number, home and office telephone numbers, employment details, home address, email address and details of their insurance company (if insured). It is an offence for a driver not to give out his or her details when involved in an accident, if there has been injury or property damage.
Also jot down the description of their car (make, model, and colour), the number plate and the vehicle identification number, if possible. While it is fresh in your mind, write down the events that happened to cause the accident, the weather and visibility conditions, road conditions or obstructions and location.
Don't let just anyone tow your car
It is very important that you use the emergency towing company contracted by Discovery Insure. Please ensure that you have your emergency towing company details in your car or on your cellphone. If you do not make use of our contracted emergency towing provider, you may be liable for the cost of towing and storage fees incurred.
Get a case number within 24 hours
Insurance companies require a police case number before they will process the claim. Once you have given a detailed written statement, you can contact the police station within 24 hours and you will be given your case number.
Inform your insurance company
Inform Discovery Insure of the accident as quickly as possible, but by no later than 30 days from the occurrence of the loss. We may refuse to pay your claim you if you have not notified us of the accident within the time period set out in the policy. Even if you were not at fault and do not intend to submit a claim to us, you must still let tus know, as the other driver's insurance company may try to claim monies from us.
•If you are involved in a car accident, remain calm and rational.
•First make sure that everyone involved is not seriously injured or call an ambulance immediately.
•Take down the other driver’s details and establish whose fault it was.
•Call the police so they can file a report for your case number.
•Make sure your car is towed by a company that is approved by Discovery Insure.
•Once you have your police case number, contact us about the accident, even if you do not intend to claim.