Car Accident

Accident can happen unexpectedly and can be a punishment of sorts for the ones involved. Even if you have been a very careful driver, you could possibly hit by someone else. In a country like India which has one of the highest number road accidents around the world; the possibility to get involved into an accident is very high. Life damage can be devastating and no amount of monetary settlement can suffice the loss. However in most cases, the accident damage would be restricted to the vehicle itself and not the occupants and this is an everyday scenario on Indian roads.

So here are 5 tips that you need to follow in case of an accident.

1. Check for Occupant Safety

Irrespective of whose fault is the accident and to what extent is the damage, the first and foremost thing that you need to check is the safety of yourself and the occupants of your car and the other car as well. If anyone has even minor injuries that need medical attention, you have to provide the same first and then go through other details.

Even if you were not involved in the accident and see someone who is and needs help, you should stop over and provide the needed help you can. Look at it this way; you would need someone to help you out, right? In case you were in an accident. The least you can do is call the authorities or medical services to the site to give injured necessary medical help.

2. Stay Calm
Keep Calm And Drive Safely
Yes, we understand you were rear ended and it’s not even your fault. Or it may be the fault of both the drivers. In any case, do not lose your cool. The site of broken or damaged parts of a car would be enough to anger you, but it’s a never a good idea to lose your cool. Keeping your cool will help you think smartly on what to do next. You will be able to check the other occupants and then deal with the person who caused the accident.

The first thing you need to ask the other driver is if he is alright, even if he is annoyed with the incident he will surely calm down and reason out with you. Assess the situation what happened and how you would like to settle for the damages. Always keep in mind, never admit or tell people around that it was your fault, even if was. If you admit, you will be legally binder to pay for the damages and are welcoming legal action against you.

3. Exchange Personal and Insurance details
Car Registration Plate
The collision could have caused a small or a major repair for your car. The first thing you do is make a note of the driver details; name, mobile number, address, car registration number, insurance details, policy number, insurance coverage and so on. Make a note of the make and model of the car as well. Also note down the details of at least 2 witnesses who can back up your claims in the future. If the other driver does not have insurance cover (which is highly possible in India), you are better off taking him to the police station and filing a complaint. Otherwise, you can settle for a claim via the Third party insurance from the other driver’s insurance policy or get paid up front. If the collision was with a cab or an auto, you are better off claiming the money from the owner. The cab drivers will not take responsibility and will claim to have no money with them. Even going to the police seldom helps.

If you both mutually agree upon not going to the police and the other driver is ready to compensate for the damages in cash up front, you should opt for that. A police complaint will show in your car record as an accident and reduce the resale value of your car. So if it’s a minor damage that can be repaired, you really don’t need to go to the police. If the damage is minimal and can be fixed within a sum of Rs. 5000/- or less, do not claim the insurance. Claiming the insurance will not make you eligible for the No-bonus claim that year, apart from increasing your premium for the car.

4. Take Photographs of the Accident
Front Fender Damage
Always remember to take pictures of the accident. Take a snap of the damages on the cars, the driver and his driving license, the car’s insurance card, the other car’s registration number, and the location of the accident. Your cell phone camera should be enough.  All these details will come in handy during the claims process or in case the other driver refutes to give you the compensation or lodges a false complaint against you.

5. Make a Promissory Note

No matter what the extent of the damage is, make a promissory note with all the details regarding the accident. This should be ok on a plain paper as well. The note should contain the reason for the accident, where it happened and at what time, the damages caused, what the parties have agreed upon, the compensation amount and the mode of payment. If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, also state the correlation between them. You will then have this document signed by the other driver, you and 2 witnesses. This will help you in case the driver chooses to be hostile and not comply.

Things to remember –

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, period.
  2. Driving without a Driver’s License makes you an offender.
  3. Help those involved in an accident till the authorities arrive.
  4. Be aware of the area you are in; the mob can get rude and attack you instead.
  5. Switch on the hazard lights, after an accident to alert other drivers.
  6. It is advisable to lodge a FIR after an accident at the nearest police station and inform your insurance company about the same as well, with a copy of the FIR.