It is natural that emotions and anxiety run high when one is involved in a motor accident. However, if the vehicle you are driving was involved in an accident, you should try to stay calm and follow the guidelines below to minimise your liability.
At the Accident Site
- Call for an ambulance if there are injured victims
- Report the accident to the police (if needed)
- Exchange information with the other party
- Gather evidence of the accident
- Have your vehicle towed (if needed)
After the Accident
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Allow the other party to inspect your vehicle’s damage (if needed)
- Claim for personal injury/property damage suffered during the accident
At the Accident Site
Call for an ambulance if there are injured victims
Right after the accident has occurred, check if all parties involved are injured. If anyone is dying or is in need of medical attention, call for an ambulance at 995 immediately. Do not move the bodies or vehicles while waiting for help.
Report the accident to the police (if needed)
You also have to call the police at 999 if the accident involves:
- Hit-and-run cases
- Injuries where the victim had to be taken to the hospital
- Damage to government property
- Foreign vehicles
Your police report should contain all information you possess, recorded in as much detail as possible. This is because it can serve as an official written record of the accident. It may be relied on by insurance companies, the police, and lawyers when making or defending accident claims.
Note: the accident also has to be reported to the police if the victim was given at least 3 days of medical leave. If required, you can also lodge the report through the police’s e-Traffic Accident Report service or at your nearest police station. If you were hospitalised as a result of the accident, the report should be made as soon as you are discharged.
Exchange information with the other party
If the other party involved in the accident is not seriously injured, try to exchange the following information with the other party:
- Full name
- NRIC number/FIN
- Telephone number
- Home address
- Insurer details
Where there are additional parties involved, such as passengers, pedestrians or witnesses, the above information should also be obtained from them.
Gather evidence of the accident
Gather evidence of the accident scene. Such information may prove to be pivotal should a dispute over the liabilities of parties involved in the accident arise. For example, you could:
- Take pictures of the accident scene and the surrounding areas. The pictures should be sufficiently wide-angled to capture the entire scene, including lane markings, skid marks and any debris nearby.
- Take note of all vehicle licence plates.
- Take pictures of the damage to your own vehicle (while capturing your licence plate if possible).
- Take pictures of the damage to the other vehicle(s) (while capturing the licence plate(s) if possible). If it is a multiple vehicle collision, take pictures of the vehicles with direct contact (i.e. immediate front/rear vehicles).
- Take note of the date, time and location of the accident scene, as well as the weather and road conditions at that point.
- Save a copy of any relevant dashboard camera footage which you have recorded.
If you do not have a camera with you, you should draw a sketch plan of the accident scene. The sketch should be as detailed as possible, including the position of the vehicles and any nearby landmarks.
Do not move any of the vehicles involved
You should not move the vehicles involved in the accident before taking photographs of the scene.
While you may want to avoid obstructing traffic, especially if the accident spans a wide area, moving the vehicles before evidence is gathered may affect the parties’ liabilities.
Hence you should try to take the photographs as quickly as possible and move the vehicles only after you have ensured that you have obtained all necessary photo evidence.
Have your vehicle towed (if needed)
If you need to have your vehicle towed away, contact your insurer for assistance. Your insurer will be able to advise you on getting a tow truck.
You should also avoid unauthorised tow truck operators and repair workshops. Doing so may complicate your claim against the other party. Instead, seek your insurer’s advice by calling their hotline before discussing with the tow truck operator present at the scene and sending your vehicle to a repair workshop.
After the Accident
Report the accident to your insurance company
Report the accident to your insurance company. This should be done whether you intend to claim from the other driver’s insurance company or the other driver directly. It should also be done irrespective of whether there is visible damage to your vehicle.
All accidents should be reported to insurance companies within 24 hours, or by the next working day. Should you fail to do so:
- You will not be covered under any insurance policies. Your insurer will have the right to reject your claim or claim any sums they had paid towards the other driver’s claim from you;
- You may lose your No Claim Discount when renewing your policy; or
- Your insurer may decline to renew your policy altogether.
Allow the other party to inspect your vehicle’s damage (if needed)
If you wish to make a claim for property damage to your vehicle, you must now provide the other party with an opportunity to inspect the damage prior to the repairs being done. This is for greater transparency in the submission of third-party damage claims.
The potential defendant’s insurers, upon receipt of the location of your damaged vehicle, will conduct a pre-repair inspection within 2 working days from the time of the notification.
Unless the potential defendant’s insurer has waived the right to inspection, you may not begin repair work.
Claim for personal injury/property damage suffered during the accident
After the immediate aftermath of the accident is seen to, you may want to settle the claims in the accident.
While doing so, you may apply for the third-party’s own motor accident report from the General Insurance Association. You are required to have filed your own motor accident report before you can apply to obtain the third-party’s motor accident report.
You may also want to consider hiring one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to assist you in your claim.