A lawyer shares tips on what to do when you are in a traffic accident in Singapore
It is not uncommon to be flustered right after a traffic accident; especially if it is the first time you encounter one. Keeping a level head and knowing what to do in these situations can be very valuable in minimising the hassle, disruption, and cost of being in an accident when it comes to making or defending claims.
Here are some important things to note in the event that you are involved in a traffic accident.
At the accident scene
# 1 Ensure your safety and those of your passengers
If you can proceed safely to the side of the road, then proceed to do so. If not, consider whether it would be safer to stay in the vehicle.
#2 Ascertain if there are any injuries
If you can administer first aid then please proceed to do so. If you cannot, then consider whether the emergency services need to be informed.
#3 Consider the seriousness of the accident scene
In serious accidents, if there is a likelihood that the vehicles will be in position for some time resulting in a buildup of traffic, consider calling the Traffic Police at +65 6547 0000 or the Land Transport Authority.
#4 Collect information immediately
Disputes often arise when accidents happen. Where there is a lack of contemporaneous evidence or witnesses, it can sometimes boil down to one person’s word against another. When claims go to court, the court will often try and reconstruct the accident and apportion liability based on the facts and evidence that it has before it. As such, it is imperative that you take down as much detail regarding the accident as possible. This would include, but not be limited to the following information:
- The particulars of all the drivers involved, the car registration numbers and their contact details if possible.
- The names and contact detail of any witnesses to the accident.
- The exact location and time of the accident.
- Photographs of the accident scene and location. These should include close up photographs of any damage caused as well as panned out photographs that show the vehicles from a distance to see where they are in relation to each other and the road. These photographs should also be taken from as many angles as possible.
- Take note of any in car video recorders. If you have your own video recorder make sure to preserve the data files. If the other vehicles have video recorders, take a photograph of them so that it cannot subsequently be disputed that they have no recordings of the accident themselves.
- Consider the surroundings and ascertain if they have any cameras that may also have recorded the accident.
After the accident
#1 Inform your insurers of the accident
It is the General Insurance Association’s (“GIA”) Policy that all accidents must be reported within a timeframe of 48 hours. As such, please proceed to make the report to your insurer. A standard form will have to be completed. This can be done at the authorized workshops that your insurer has designated. Do not think that just because the incident is small that you do not have to report the accident. There have been cases where no report was made and a claim was subsequently made by the other party. At this point, the insurers would then be in a position to repudiate your policy on the grounds of non-reporting.
#2 Be careful when making any offer of settlement
This is because it is or will usually be an express term of the policy that you cannot make any settlements without the permission of the insurers. If you do wish to proceed to make a settlement, ensure that an appropriate discharge voucher is prepared so that no further claims can be made against you by the Claimant.
#3 See a doctor if you are feeling unwell
Please keep all your receipts and reports as these will be required if you ever wish to make a claim subsequently for personal injury.
#4 Decide if you want to claim under own insurance policy or against the other party
If your car has suffered damage, you will need to consider whether to make a claim under your own policy, which may affect your future premiums, or whether you wish to make your own direct claim against the other party.
#5 Be very careful about signing discharge vouchers
Discharge vouchers are the documents that the insurers will prepare when there is a settlement. Recent case law has made it clear that you cannot have separate claims made in court for property damage and personal injury. What has also happened in some cases, is that people have signed discharge vouchers relating to their property damage claims, but the wording of those discharge vouchers was also construed to apply to their subsequent personal injury claims.
Consult a lawyer if you want to make a direct claim
In event that you wish to make your own direct claim against the other party for personal injury and/or damage to your vehicle, you should consult a lawyer who can advise you on the merits of your claim as well as the claim process.
Speak to Sara or lawyers like Sara about a traffic accident or personal injury
If you have a legal question about your traffic accident or personal injury, you can request a quote with Sara from Vicki Heng Law Corporation. You can also get a quick consult with Lawyer Vicki Heng or other lawyers. With Quick Consult, you can check out in minutes and for a transparent, flat fee of S$49, the lawyers will call you back on the phone within 1-2 days to answer your questions and give you legal advice.
The contents of this article should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice and you should consult a lawyer should you have any queries or if you wish to make any claim.
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This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.