Last year, between January and September, there were 30 accidents involving Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) and pedestrians, out of a total of 110 accidents involving PMDs. Commonly ridden on footpaths, PMDs are able to travel swiftly and silently at high speeds. The consequences of a PMD collision can be severe.
In September last year, a woman who was run down by an e-scooter was left in a coma for a month, suffered numerous mini strokes and had to undergo two brain operations. Given the rising use of PMDs in Singapore, it is more important than ever to know what to do if you are involved in an accident with a PMD rider. Fret not, here are 6 general steps to follow if the need ever arises.
Step 1: Make sure you are alright
The first thing, you should definitely do is to make sure that you are okay. After getting into an accident, you may be in shock. Stay calm and take stock of the situation. If you are injured, call for an ambulance at 995. If you are seriously injured, seek help from other passersby to contact emergency services or your family members.
Step 2: Ask for the e-scooter rider’s personal details
The second thing you should do is to ask for certain information from the PMD rider. Pursuant to the Active Mobility Act which came into full effect on 1 May 2018, users of PMDs (and even cyclists) must comply with certain rules if they are involved in an accident.
The PMD rider is legally obliged to stop immediately, render assistance if able, and provide their full name and residential address, as well as the full name and residential address of the owner of the PMD (if it belongs to someone else). Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
In addition, you should also ask for the PMD rider’s identification number, telephone number and the details of his insurer (if any). Obtaining these details will make it easier for you to seek compensation against the PMD rider for your injuries in the future.
Step 3: Record information about the accident
Third, you should begin to collect other information about the accident. In particular, you should take photographs of the accident scene, including:
- The position of the PMD and other vehicles or pedestrians in relation to the surrounding areas and landmarks; and
- Any injuries you may have suffered.
Remember to take photographs before allowing the PMD rider to move his vehicle, as photographs showing the accurate position of the PMD will help you in your claim for compensation.
You should also make a note of the following information:
- the date, time and location of the accident;
- the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident;
- whether there are any video recording devices attached to the PMD, or cameras in the surrounding area that may have recorded the accident; and
- names and contact details of any passer-bys or witnesses
It is important to follow this step and collect all the necessary information, if you want to lodge a claim against the PMD rider in the future. This information will serve as contemporaneous evidence of the accident and your injuries, and will help to substantiate any claim you make against the PMD rider.
Step 4: See a doctor
If you are seriously injured, you may be transported by an ambulance to a nearby hospital. Even if you have suffered only minor injuries such as bruises or abrasions, you should still consult a doctor if you wish to make a claim later on, as medical evidence is an essential part of any claim for personal injuries. When you meet with your doctor, you should inform your doctor that you were involved in an accident with a PMD rider, and provide details of the accident and how you were injured.
Step 5: Lodge a police report
You should lodge a police report of the accident as soon as you are physically fit to do so. You may do so online or at your nearest police station. It is recommended to lodge a police report as soon as possible, while the details of the accident are still fresh in your mind. Also, a contemporaneous report – one that is made close to the date of the accident – will be seen as being more reliable than a report that is only lodged much later.
You should note that a PMD rider also has a legal duty to lodge a police report if there is no police officer present at the scene of the accident. This means that your lawyers may later be able to apply for the police report of the PMD rider, to ascertain how much compensation you may receive.
Step 6: File a claim with your insurer / against the PMD rider
If you do decide to make a claim for personal injuries, there are two possible routes: filing a claim with your insurance company, claiming against the PMD rider, or both.
6(i): Filing a claim with your insurance company
The first way you can obtain compensation for your injuries is by filing a claim with your insurance company. As insurance policies may differ, you should check the terms of your policy on whether you are covered for personal accidents.
You will have to fill out a claims form and include relevant supporting documents, such as:
- Original medical bills or receipts
- Medical reports
- Police report
After submitting your claims form, the insurance company will process it with a view to reimbursing you.
Pros: Speed – Your claim should be processed in a matter of days or weeks.
Cons: Limited amount of compensation – Depending on your policy, you may only be able to claim for part of your medical expenses, and you may not be reimbursed for other losses such as loss of income or pain and suffering. Your insurance premiums or no-claim discount may also be affected.
6(ii): Filing a claim against the PMD rider
The second way you can obtain compensation is to bring a legal claim against the PMD rider. You may do this instead of filing a claim with your insurance company (for example if you wish to keep your no-claim discount intact), or you may do both. It is advisable to consult a lawyer if you wish to commence legal proceedings, as your lawyer will be able to provide a detailed assessment of your case and the likely compensation you should receive.
Pros: Several areas of claim – You may be able to claim for several types of losses such as loss of income, medical expenses (including future expenses), pain and suffering, and cost of damaged personal property, among others. Your lawyer can ensure that you are justly compensated for your injuries and losses.
Cons: Time – A legal claim may take a few months or more, depending on the severity of your injuries and complexity of your case.
Need a lawyer?
If you have been recently involved in an accident and would like advice on your options, you can request a quote from Julian Neo. You can also get a Quick Consult with lawyers with similar expertise. With Quick Consult, you can check out in minutes and for a transparent, flat fee, the lawyers will call you back on the phone within 1-2 days to answer your questions and give you legal advice.
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 a 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.