Have you been in a collision with an uninsured driver? Because so many cars on South African roads are not insured, accidents, where one or both cars aren’t insured, are common. In fact, two out of three times, when an accident occurs, one or both drivers may not have insurance.
Drivers should at least have third-party vehicle insurance (also called vehicle liability insurance), but 65% – 70% of cars today remain uninsured. How does an unlicensed driver impact an accident scene? Are there different steps to take? Here are our top tips for what to do when you are in an accident with an uninsured driver:
Steps to Take When an Accident Occurs
- Phone emergency services if someone has been injured or killed, or if someone is trapped.
- You or the other driver may need a tow truck or assistance moving your vehicles, but this depends on the extent of the damage. If necessary, call towing services.
- Phone the police or report the accident at the nearest police station. You should do this within 24 hours if someone was injured or killed, or on the first working day after the accident if nobody was injured. Remember to write down the case file number or the accident report reference number along with the name of the officer you spoke to.
- Get the following information on the scene as soon as you have made the above calls:
- The Full Name(s) of the driver(s) involved.
- The ID Number(s) of the driver(s) involved.
- The Address(es) of the driver(s) involved.
- Write a Description of the motor vehicles involved.
- The Phone Number(s) of the driver(s) involved.
- The License Disc Details of the car(s) involved.
- The Vehicle Registration Number(s) of the car(s) involved.
- The date, time, and address of the accident.
- The weather and road conditions when the accident occurred.
- Any other relevant information, like the insurance information of the other driver.
- You can take photos of relevant dents, scratches, or positions of the car for evidence, and you can also sketch the position of the vehicles and use a sketch to describe what happened.
- You can also take photos of injuries, the surrounding area, and damage to property.
- Get the names and contact details (address and phone number) of any witnesses.
Why Writing Things Down Matters
An accident scene is often fraught with stress and shock, so writing down details while they are fresh in your mind is very important. Later, when you need this information, you will have written records. Sometimes shock can affect our ability to recall the details of a car accident, so should you end up in a court case, this information will be invaluable.
If anyone has been injured, they need to be seen by a doctor, even if the injury appears insubstantial. Sometimes a person can seem okay, while internal damage has been caused. Do not let any injured person leave the accident scene unless they are heading to a hospital or have been attended to by medical staff.
How Things Change If the Other Driver Is Not Insured
These steps remain the same if the other driver is not insured, as long as you are insured. You need to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to notify them of the accident and give them the collected information.
The process that typically follows is that you, the driver, claim damages from your insurer. They, in turn, will claim damages from the party responsible. If the other driver was negligent and caused the accident, the insurer pursues them to recover the cost of the damages incurred. This means that if the other driver is not insured, they will need to pay for these damages out of their pockets. If they are insured, their insurance provider covers the costs that they are liable for.
It’s important to recognize that many drivers without insurance have no insurance because they cannot afford it. If this is the case, your insurer may struggle to get back the damages from the person. Court cases could follow, and things could get complex. If the claim is less than R20,000 it can be pursued in the Small Claims Court. If it is more, it will need to be dealt with in the Magistrate’s Court. And you will need an Attorney.
What If I Am the Uninsured Driver?
If you are driving and do not at least have third-party vehicle insurance, you are at great risk. Should you be found liable for the damages, and if the other party can prove you were negligent or that you caused the accident, you will need to pay the costs. These costs include damages, medical bills, and sometimes even legal fees. It can really add up!
The good news is that you can get Vehicle Liability Insurance at very affordable monthly rates! If you can’t afford comprehensive Car Insurance, look at Third-Party Vehicle Insurance (or Vehicle Liability Insurance) as a safeguard. Get a Car Insurance Quote today and protect yourself from the huge financial risks involved in accidents as an uninsured person in South Africa.
Prices and statistics quoted are correct at the time this article was published. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.