At some point you are bound to be involved in a fender bender. Minor motor vehicle accidents are common in South Africa, especially during rainy days and evenings.
Rarely fatal, these little bumps often generate emotions and paperwork between the parties involved.
So, if you have had a bump, stop. Take a deep breath and go check if those involved in the crash need help.
Advocate Jackie Nagtegaal at Law for All said: “Legally you must stop after hitting a car, person or animal.
“If someone is injured, call emergency services and tend to them first.
“If you leave, it’s an illegal hit and run, and you could face a fine of up to R180 000, up to nine years behind bars or both. Keep in mind that you could face criminal charges for reckless driving, negligent driving, culpable homicide, civil damages claims or a civil claim for personal injury.
“The accident positions of cars must be clearly marked off on the road – use paint or chalk and take photographs. If no one is hurt and the damage to all cars is minimal, then move the vehicles so that they are not a problem to other motorists.
“If someone is injured, only a police or traffic officer can give permission to move the cars. Remember, the SAPS will only come out to the scene if someone was hurt but not if only the cars are damaged. If no one is injured, the accident MUST be reported to the police within 24 hours.”
What you need from each other
- Get full names and ID of the other driver and witnesses.
- Obtain the other driver’s and witnesses’ addresses, emails and phone numbers.
- Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and their positions.
- Write down a detailed description of the vehicle – colour, make, model, and registration number.
- If the police, traffic officers or medics show up, take down their details.
- Take the details of tow operators.
- Do NOT say sorry. Do NOT admit fault or take responsibility for the crash. It can be used as an admission of guilt and affect your insurance claim. For legal reasons, it is advisable to get the following documents:
- Vehicle registration documents
- Copy of driver’s licence
- Three quotes for damages
- Accident report
- Affidavits or statements from witnesses and your own version of events.WHEELS24