WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
If you are involved in an accident that causes injuries or a death, or damage to property or any animal, you are required by law to stop the vehicle. It is a crime not to stop after an accident and one could be fined up to R180 000 or sent to prison for up to nine years.
Help anyone who is hurt
After stopping, you need to find out if anyone is hurt and help them as much as you can. You will need to call emergency services. If you do not know anything about first aid, be careful not to do anything that might make the injury worse. If you do not need to go for help, ensure you stay at the scene until a police officer says you can leave. You can be criminally charged for failing to help anyone who is hurt in the accident.
Find out what the extent of the damage is
You will need to find out how much damage has been caused to the property. Give your name, address and vehicle registration number to anyone who might need it.
Get all relevant information
Try to get the following information from all parties and witnesses involved:
– Full names
– ID numbers
– Telephone details
– Vehicle registration number.
Also try to get a description of the vehicles, details of police, traffic officers and ambulance personnel and details of the tow-truck personnel. This information will help you if you want to make a claim against insurance or the Road Accident Fund or if you want to claim costs of repairs from the other party.
Report the accident to police
The police don’t need to be called to the scene if no one is hurt, however, the accident must be reported by both drivers at a police station within 24 hours of the accident. Give your name, address and vehicle registration number to the police or traffic officer, either at the scene of the accident or at the police station or traffic office. You must also show your driver’s license. If you are hurt and can’t report the accident immediately, ensure you do it as soon as possible and explain why there has been a delay in the reporting of the accident. It is an offense to not report an accident in which another person’s property has been damaged, or a person is injured, even if neither of the drivers intends taking legal action.
Do not interfere with the evidence
You must not drink alcohol or take any drugs that have a narcotic effect unless it is from the doctor. If the police ask you to go for a medical examination, you must not drink any alcohol or any drugs before the examination and before you report the accident. If anyone is injured in the accident, the vehicles may not be moved before the police or traffic officers arrive and only move the vehicles upon their instruction. If the accident obstructs traffic, the vehicles may be moved sufficiently to allow traffic flow, but only after you have clearly marked the vehicle positions, with a chalk or spray paint.