Friday, November 12, 2010

How Do You Deal With A Minor Accident

My recent encounter in more than 35 years of driving experience suddenly dawned upon me how ill prepared I was to face an accident. There I was, a supposedly seasoned driving instructor facing the wrath of a gentleman and his wife, whose new I had knocked into.
For the first time, I felt rather helpless when the minor accident occurred. And this was what let me to decide writing an article, especially for those new drivers who may not know exactly what to do. This episode will hopefully prepare you for an accident which might happen to you someday.
The minor accident happened behind Parkson in Jalan Meru, Klang. The day was hot. On that day, maybe, momentarily, I admit, I was slightly careless. At a junction, I came out a little bit too fast. Or maybe, the other guy shot across my path carelessly. Or again, maybe I was too slow. (Getting old I suppose). “Boom!”, I had hit a new Honda Accord on its side.
From the front door right up to the back door, there was a dent. And my Kancil, well, frankly, I hardly looked at it.
A shouting bout then ensued. An angry young man and his wife slighted. The young man was “furious”, accusing me of being a “lousy” instructor. Obviously, he had never heard of “accidents” before. Even Michael Schumacher, the world best Formula 1 driver has been involved in accidents before. Why not me?
Even admitting it was my mistake and that we settle the case amicably failed to pacify the other party.
My asking the young man to note down my Driving School particulars, car number, its logo etc. failed to be heeded.
The other party then demanded my business card, hand phone number, I/C number and “everything under the sun”. The scene now was like Hollywood, or was it Bollywood.
People were gathering around. The crowd was growing bigger. To cut the long story short, all the young man demands were turned down.
Reason?
The only person who has the authority to see my particulars is the Police.
Now, what does one do in a minor accident such as the above:
1) Assess the damage.
2) At no time must you admit liability of the accident.
3) Like me, do not agree to provide deposit, I/C number, hand phone number etc. to the other party.
4) Best solution is suggest the accident be reported to the Balai Police. Let the insurance be responsible.
5) Unless you are willing to settle the case (for convenience sake), do not quote the amount of payment which you have agreed.
Do remember, accidents have to be made to the nearest Balai Polis in 24 hours. In my case, the young man wanted me to go to the Balai immediately. He refused to let me go off. He was acting tantamount to “detaining” me. This was wrong action. Only the Police can detain you.
In minor accidents such as mine, where no one is injured, you are permitted to leave the scene of accident. In short, please remember, do not try to detain the other party forcefully. He could get his lawyers to sue you.
What is the next process in any accidents then? Go to the Balai Polis.
At the Balai, we were promptly attended to by a couple of Corporals. Then we were directed to see a Sergeant. After a brief investigation, the Sergeant issued me a “Summon” which could be compounded within 1 month.
I was then asked to go down the Balai compound to have a photograph of my vehicle taken.
What does a person do in case of serious accidents? Briefly, we should remember:
1) Vehicles involved cannot be removed from place of accident.
2) Injured has to be attended to.
3) Wait for arrival of police to make investigation.
4) Photograph to be taken where necessary.
5) Police Report to be made within 24 hours.
After police reports have been lodged, a driver should remember to inform its Insurance Company regarding the accident as soon as possible.
If you have your own story of , please feel free to share in the comment section below. This real experience happen to an old friend of mine which happen to be my client too.

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