What To Do After A Car Accident6 Mar 2017
Oh no! You’ve gotten into a car accident! Take deep breaths and remain calm. Check yourself and your passengers (if any) for injuries. If your car can still move, turn on your hazard lights (see picture above) and make your way to the side of the road. If you were hit by another car, that driver should be doing the same. If it’s a hit-and-run, try to record their license plate number, vehicle make and colour.
If your car can’t move, turn on your hazard lights and open the boot to signify a car in distress. Get out of the car. It may be worth having your passenger walk back to alert the oncoming cars if your car is around a bend. Use the safety triangle from your boot if you have one. Assess the damage done: if you see fuel leaking from the car, keep a safe distance.
I NEED HELP, PLEASE!
If you or your passengers are badly hurt and/or if your car is badly damaged, call the emergency services. Try to take note of the kilometre number (usually on small markers on the divider), name of the road or highway, or any road signs identifying your location. Do not move a badly injured person on your own unless absolutely necessary as you may worsen the condition.
Don’t feel obliged to hire the first tow truck that shows up on the scene; try to have a trustworthy contact on hand if possible. If the accident is not major and another driver is involved, you may want to discuss whether to settle the damages without making a report or make a police report within 24 hours (usually for insurance claim purposes). If you settle out-of-pocket, make sure to agree on a timeframe to receive or send the money so that you can still make a report if necessary. Take photographs of the damage done as proof. The other driver may want an assessment done by their local workshop. Don’t be afraid to question the amount and get a second opinion if it seems unreasonable. If you are driving a rented car, call your car rental company for advice. You may need to forfeit your deposit and more, if the company deems the car unusable.
REPORTING FOR CLAIMS
If you fail to reach a settlement, then head to the nearest police station to make a report. For accidents in KL, the Petaling Street police station is preferred; for Selangor, it will be PJ State police station. Make sure you have your driving license and personal identification on hand, and note down as many details as possible from the time the accident occurred to a description of the driver. The officer will record the report, take a photo of your damaged car and help you assess who was at fault.
Apply for a copy of the report and findings, which will take one to two weeks. This report is needed for insurance claims. You will get a phone number to check on the status of your documents and nominal processing fees may apply.
JUST FOR INSURANCE
Your insurer may have a time limit for you to file a claim, so read your policy carefully and act accordingly. You can either claim from your own insurance company or the other party’s company. If you run into any difficulty with the other party, engage a lawyer for best representation.
The claim from your insurance company must exceed the excess clause in your policy, and the difference will be paid by the company. If you are found to be not at fault, you will not forfeit your No Claim Bonus. Always have your supporting documents ready. If your car is being repaired at the insurer’s panel workshop, they will need a copy of the documents too.