While we may have some of the most stringent requirements for obtaining a drivers’ licence with state-of-the-art traffic safety and surveillance systems in place, accidents still can, and do happen on our roads sometimes.
Those who are directly involved in such accidents, depending on the severity, may experience elevated levels of anxiety and confusion, and as a result, become completely unsure of what to do next. In this article, we will provide a simplified guide on what you should do right after a traffic accident, whether you’re directly involved, or acting as a witness.
Casualties at the Accident Site
If you are at the scene, check if there is anyone who is in need of medical attention. If there are bodies on the road, don’t move them by yourself. Make sure you call 995 immediately for an ambulance.
You should only call 999 for the Police too if needed in scenarios such as:
- Hit-and-run case where the party leaves the scene without helping the victim
- Victims injured badly enough that they may have to be taken to the hospital
- Pedestrians or cyclists involved in the accident
- Damage to public property due to the impact of the accident
- Involvement of a foreign-registered vehicle
If you do need to make a police report, you should be as detailed as possible with all the information you have because the report can also be used as an official written record of the accident which your insurance company and lawyer will require when processing accident claims.
A general rule of thumb is the accident has to be reported to the police if the victim was given at least 3 days of medical leave. If the victim was hospitalised because of the accident, the police report can be made right after they have been discharged.
Besides visiting your nearest police station, you can also lodge your report via the police’s e-Traffic Accident Report service.
Gather the Contact Details and Evidence
The next thing you want to do is to exchange your contact information with the other party, preferably in a composed and civil manner regardless of the extent of the accident and whoever’s at fault, and gather evidence of the accident. You may also engage a lawyer who can guide you through the whole process.
Unless the other party in the accident is seriously injured, you should exchange your full name, NRIC number, mobile number, home address, and your insurer’s details with them. This also extends to the other parties involved in the accident such as passengers or bystanders and witnesses.
If the accident is severe enough where there might be a dispute over damages, it is advisable to gather as much evidence of the accident scene. This evidence can consist of:
- Photos, preferably wide-angle shots of the accident scene and surrounding areas. If there are other noticeable signs of the accident such as skidmarks on the road or nearby debris caused by the accident, they should be visible in the photo
- Footage recorded from your dashboard or in-vehicle camera if you have one
- Note the date, time, and location of the accident scene, any nearby landmarks, as well as weather and road conditions during that period.
- License plate numbers of the vehicles involved
- Evidence of damage to your own vehicle from the accident, including your own license plate number in the shot
- For accidents involving multiple vehicles, try to capture photos where both the front and rear vehicles are in the shot too.
You can also draw a detailed sketch of the accident scene and it will be accepted if the position of the vehicles relative to any nearby landmarks is clearly depicted, eg. to the side of a specific statue or building.
Please ensure that the vehicles are moved from the scene only after you have taken photographs of the accident, which you should conclude as quickly as you can, to minimise disruption to traffic. If the vehicles are moved before evidence has been gathered, it may affect the parties’ liabilities or claims for damages.
Your insurer should also be able to guide you if a tow truck is needed for your case and you should ask them to provide you with contacts of authorised tow trucks as there are unauthorised services being offered that may complicate matters if you are making a claim against the other party or worse, you may get scammed.
Another general rule of thumb is to always contact your insurance company within 24 hours whenever you’re involved in an accident whether you plan to claim damages from the other party or their insurer, or even if there isn’t any visible damage to your vehicle.
Claims for Damages
If you are making a claim for damage to your vehicle from the accident, you should also allow the other party to inspect your vehicle before the repair has started for transparency purposes when submitting third-party damage claims.
If you are claiming for personal injury or property damage due to the accident, you may also apply for the third party’s motor accident report from the General Insurance Association after filing your own motor accident report.
Engaging a Lawyer
If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.
Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences and high-profile criminal cases to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.
Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/what-to-do-in-a-traffic-accident/