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My Rights on the Road if a Car Hit Me

A car hit me, what should I do now? It’s natural to feel shaken up if you’ve been in a car accident. Although you couldn’t have seen it coming, you can be aware of your rights and be prepared.

Being hit by another car can be traumatising, leaving your mind in a spin about what to do next. We’ve listed what you should know about being involved in an accident to help guide you.

1. Don’t React Emotionally

The first step is a difficult one, as it’s easy to be overcome with emotion when someone hits your car. Even if they were driving recklessly, don’t let your emotions get the best of you, as it can only make the situation worse.

2. Stop Your Car and Check on Passengers

When another car hits you, stop as soon as possible, switching on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the accident.

Next, check if you or any of the passengers have any injuries. If anyone is hurt and needs medical assistance, quickly call an ambulance. However, never physically move anyone because it can cause more harm.

3. Assess the Situation and Call Your Insurer

If there are no injuries, take some photos of where the vehicles stopped and then move your vehicle to the side of the road so other cars can pass safely. You should always inform your car insurance provider of what happened. They’ll talk you through the next steps, such as taking photos of the damage, etc.

If you can’t move your car because of damages caused by the crash, place hazard markers on the road to let everyone know there’s a stationary vehicle ahead. Then, arrange for a tow truck to collect your car.

If you have car insurance, check whether your policy includes towing services, and only use the contacts listed under their approved towing companies. If you have car insurance with PMD, you can call a friendly PMD consultant to help arrange this.

4. Collect Information from the Driver That Hit You

It’s important to get the details of the driver that bumped into you to make a claim. This shouldn’t be a problem, as you have the legal right to this information.

This includes:

  • Full names of the owner of the vehicle
  • Address
  • ID number
  • Car licence and registration numbers
  • Confirmed contact numbers
  • Insurance details
  • Make, model, and colour of their motor vehicle

Other important information to collect:

  • Date and time of when the accident occurred
  • Driving conditions such as weather, lighting, state of the road
  • Name and contact details of witnesses or third-parties
  • Photos of vehicles involved in the accident before they are moved, and the damage on the cars
  • Sketch how the accident happened, including the car position, street names, intersections, and robots
  • Contact details of anyone injured in the accident

5. Report the Accident at The Police Station

Once you leave the scene, you should go to the nearest police station to report the accident. And you have to do this within 24 hours of when the accident happened. Remember that each party involved needs to file their own report to get an individual case number.

Also, contact your insurance company with all the information you collected. They’ll walk you through the steps to submit your insurance claim for the damages.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents

There’s a lot to know about car accidents, so we’ve made a short list of the frequent questions people ask.

Should I Call the Police if a Car Hit Me?

You should call the police if you’re involved in a ‘hit and run’, which means a driver left the scene without exchanging details, as this is a criminal offence.

If you think the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suspect they caused the collision on purpose, you should also definitely inform the police.

Who Pays for the Damages if A Car Hit Me?

You have the right to claim payment from the driver who caused the accident for the damages caused to your car. They’ll either claim through their insurance or the court if they aren’t insured.

Submit your claim to the Small Claims Court if the assessed damage of the vehicle is less than R20,000. Claims higher than R20,000 will have to go to the Magistrate’s Court or High Court. Remember that you’ll need to hire an attorney or lawyer to represent you at the Magistrate’s Court and High Court.

Which Emergency Numbers Should I Have on Speed-Dial?

Save these official South African emergency services phone numbers on your phone:

  • 10177 for an ambulance
  • 10111 to call the police
  • 112 for any emergency

Alternatively, if you have car insurance with PMD, you can download the app to have these numbers within easy reach wherever you go.

Can I Claim Damages from The Road Accident Fund (RAF) If a Car Hit Me?

The RAF doesn’t cover damages to property caused by accidents. However, you can claim if negligent or wrongful driving caused serious personal injury or death to another person in a road accident.

The injured person or their dependents can claim from the RAF for loss of income or medical expenses from RAF. Submit a claim directly to the RAF or use a specialised RAF attorney to help make your case.

Who’s to Blame for the Crash?

There’s no definite answer to this question. Each accident is unique, and the drivers generally have different versions of what caused it. The responsibility is often shared between the drivers and is case-dependent.

The road rules and eyewitness (third-party) statements or footage and photos are most commonly used to identify the driver more responsible for causing the accident.

What Can I Do if I’m a Hit-and-Run Victim?

Remember to always stay calm and never chase after the car that hit you. Instead, try to remember and write down the car make, model, colour and licence plate number. Also, look around for any witnesses of the accident, as they might remember other details and can back up your story.

Get Car Insurance for Peace of Mind

Unfortunately, accidents happen, so it’s best to be prepared. Visit  Prime Meridian Direct to discover the insurance cover to best suit your budget. With affordable car insurance at your fingertips, you can plan for the unexpected. Get an obligation-free quote to discover the best cover option for you.

Disclaimer:

This article provides general information about what you should do when you’re in a car accident. Always follow South African law and know your rights as a driver on the road.

Buying car insurance should be done with much thought and only from a certified financial services provider. Contact us today if you want to find out more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

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