According to the Singapore Traffic Police Statistics, there were 8,277 accidents resulting in injuries in 2016 in Singapore. That’s an average of about 23 a day !
This is more than the 8,058 traffic accidents reported in 2015, and the numbers have been rising every year since 2013. With that many accidents happening annually, we wrote this guide to help you if you get involved, or are a witness in a traffic accident.
1. Check for injuries
Look around for others involved in the accident, ask them if they are ok.
This is the first step you should do. If someone is injured or requires medical attention, call 995. Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell if someone is injured (e.g spinal injury) as the injury is internal. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so call for an ambulance if you have doubts.
Side track :
A useful tip from a lawyer with vast experience in traffic accident cases, is to look at the surroundings and take note of the color of the traffic lights at the time of the accident.
Which direction was traffic in favor of? On which side were vehicles supposed to stop?
Check to see if the pedestrian crossing light was green or red, time left on the counter, and whether there were any green arrows illuminated on the traffic light to indicate cars could make right/left turns.
This would be of tremendous help, especially in situations where pedestrians were involved.
A friend of mine was a witness at an accident involving a taxi and a pedestrian recently. Sure, he gave his accounts of the accident to the traffic police. But by the time the police arrived and his statement was given, he had doubts as to whether the traffic lights were in the favor of the driver or pedestrian.
This is a simple, yet very useful tip to give invaluable witness reports.
2. Take pictures of damage to vehicles, THEN move your vehicle
Take pictures of the scene, both from a distance and up close.
Why from a distance? Because you would probably have to draw a sketch of the accident in your reports. Having pictures from a distance to refer to will help you in your drawings. Especially since these drawings could be made a few hours or the day after the accident (and you might forget details of the accident scene).
For the close up shots, obviously you’d want to focus more on the areas where the vehicles made contact or suffered damages.
Once you’ve taken enough pictures of the accident scene, move your vehicle if it is obstructing traffic.
3. Exchange Particulars
Get the NRIC/Driving License of the other party involved. We suggest getting their IC as it contains their address.
Take a picture of it, both front and back of the IC (i’m assuming you have a smartphone in this day and age). Take a few shots of each side just in case pictures turn out blurry.
4. Look around for willing witnesses
Once you identify a few potential witnesses, ask for their contact particulars. If they are willing to give statements, even better. Get their statements as well.
This will come in handy when you need them to assist during insurance claims or traffic police reports.
5. Video Footage or Voice Recordings
If you or the other party has an in car camera installed that recorded footage of the accident, be sure to transfer it to another device, or upload it as soon as possible. Make copies of the video on your computer, thumbdrive, dropbox, etc.
Video footage of the accident will help immensely when writing your reports, during investigations and when it comes to insurance claims.
If there was no video footage of the accident, you can start a voice recording on your phone.
However, you have to do this within minutes of the time of accident, or at the earliest opportunity. The longer you wait, the more you tend to forget.
Mention the events leading up to the accident, how the accident occurred, traffic light indicators at time of accident, any injuries, etc. Any information that might be useful in reports.
Tip : If unsure, use the 4 Ws and 1 H – who, what, when, where and how.
6. Notify your insurance company
This was bumped down the list because you would typically have 24 hours to get this done.
Yes. For most insurers, you’d have to notify them within 24 hours from the time of the accident for the claim to be valid. No matter what happened, you have to inform them. I can’t stress this enough.
I’ve read on forums/social media where people don’t report to their insurance companies because they believe they are at fault (and see no need to inform their insurance co).
Failing to inform your insurance company can invoke the breach of policy clause for non-reporting and repudiate liability, and you have to bear all the damages personally.
That does sound serious.
Once you’ve informed them, there would typically be a Lawyer appointed by your insurance company to assist you. Whatever forms of communication that happens between you and the Lawyer has to be reported to your insurance company as well.
Update them with any news or updates so they are kept in the loop.
At the end of all this, you should have :
- Video footage or a voice recording of your account of the accident
- Statements and contact details of witnesses and parties involved
- Pictures of the accident scene and damages to vehicles/property
In just a few steps, you already have vital pieces of information pertaining to the accident.
An infographic to help you remember these simple steps.
If you are unsure about what to do or need advice, you can post your questions on forums.lawyersearch.com.sg where other users who have been in similar situations can help you out.
From all of us at LawyerSearch, we hope you Ride/Drive Safely !