For the average young professional, when the monotonous 5-day working weeks are interspersed by a long weekend, the perfect opportunity to embark on a long drive surfaces. In our country, summer is synonymous with long trips via road. Summer is also a time when traffic is at its peak and there is greater chance of occurrence of accidents, be it minor or major.
The thumb rule to stay safe on the roads is to drive in a defensive manner. However, there are certain incidents that cannot be avoided by even the most seasoned driver.
In case you are involved in such an accident where you are not completely at fault, then there are certain things you should bear in mind to avoid making a potentially costly mistake. Here, we elaborate on the same.
Accident Involving A Third Party
Car accidents can be traumatising, throwing the people involved for a loop. No matter how long one has been driving or how old he/she is, the experience can cause a lot of anxiety. In the wake of an accident, it is important to know what you should be doing (and what you shouldn’t) so that you stay safe as far as your car insurance claim is concerned.
Some of the things you should do after an accident include informing the insurance company, getting medical treatment, and reporting the incident to the police. Listed below are 9 things you should avoid doing at this time:
- Leave the accident site - The law mandates that anyone who has been involved in a car accident should stop the vehicle immediately. This is irrespective of whether the accident resulted in an injury, death, or property damage. In case you fail to do so and leave the accident scene, you can be heavily penalised. So, when you are involved in an accident stay at the accident spot and report it to the police. If possible, try to get medical assistance to the injured.
- Forget to call the police - Some people are of the opinion that the cops need to be alerted only if there is a death resulting from the accident. This is simply untrue. It is important to report the accident to the police, irrespective of the damages involved. An FIR needs to be filed as soon as possible. This can be crucial evidence at the time of a car insurance claim, as it would include information about the incident, the condition of the roads, contact information and names of the witnesses, and a description of how the accident took place.
- Get angry - Yes, it is very disappointing to see your prized possession, your car, damaged due to an accident that was not your fault. But remember to not lose your cool at this time. Do not get upset with the third party involved.
- Forget to note down information - Before you leave the accident site, you should try to note down as much information as possible about the incident. Take pictures of the accident scene and jot down the names and contact details of the parties involved (including witnesses). Also ensure that you have details of the insurance company of the third party. Record numbers of license plates, the time and date of the incident, and any other information that seems relevant. If you forget to note down these details you may have a difficult time in case the third party approaches the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) for a settlement.
- Apologise or admit fault - Never apologise for an accident immediately after the incident. You should also not admit fault while in conversation with an insurance company. It is best to be honest about the accident and narrate the actual happenings. If you do apologise to the third party, the insurance company liable to pay for the claim may use your statement against you in order to avoid paying for the damages.
- Neglect the follow-ups - After a car accident, you will have to get in touch with your insurer and even take calls from the insurance company of the third party. You may also have to deal with legal proceedings. If you do not follow up on these time-consuming tasks, things will not get any better. You can get help from an experienced lawyer, if needed. He/she will assist you in dealing with the aftermath of the accident. Also get legal help when speaking to the insurance provider of the third party, so as to not jeopardise your claim.
- Agree to an unfair settlement - You should refrain from entering into settlement negotiations without the help of a lawyer. Such discussions involve complicated legal clauses that you may not be aware of.
- File a case in the tribunal by yourself - It is important to seek assistance from a lawyer before you approach the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal for a claim settlement. Your insurance company may also represent you in court for specific incidents.
- Worry about increase in car insurance premium - At the unsettling time of a car accident, you should not worry about the future rise in your motor insurance premium. In fact, most insurance companies only hike the premium when the accident was caused by the insured car’s driver. So, do not worry about how your insurance will be affected by the incident and proceed as per the guidelines above.
Last, but not the least, do not accept any direct payment offers from the third party. The direct payment may not be as good a deal as it seems. Also, before getting your vehicle repaired ensure that your insurance company has done a survey and assessed the damages.
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