Getting into a car accident is unfortunate and unpleasant, but staying prepared in case it happens is important.
By having the right information and acting correctly, you can minimise your losses in the event of an emergency.
In this guide, we present 5 simple steps that you can take in the event of an accident.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
After the accident occurs, if you are unharmed, the first thing you should do is to remain calm and assess the situation at hand. Check for injuries and casualties to ensure everyone is safe.
If there is a need for immediate help, call the following hotlines:
Non-emergency Ambulance: 1777
EMAS (Expressway Monitoring Advisory System): 1800-2255-582
Police Hotline: 1800-255-0000
Traffic Police: 6547 0000
In the event of an accident with injury, all non-injured parties should remain at the scene of the accident to assist in the investigation. Emergency hotlines should be called straight away (Police and Ambulance) and vehicles should not be removed unless absolutely necessary.
In the event of an accident with no injury, all non-injured parties (in this case everyone involved) should still remain at the scene of the accident.
Ensure that all vehicles are not obstructing the traffic by moving to the roadside or any safe area. If that is not possible, place a hazard sign 50m away from the vehicle nearest to oncoming traffic to warn others.
Note down the car plate numbers of the vehicles involved, as well as the names and contact details of the parties involved. If there are any witnesses, take down their contact details too.
Step 2: Exchange Information
The following details should be exchanged between drivers, witnesses and any parties present at the scene:
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- Home Address
- Insurer details
If drivers or witnesses refuse to cooperate, a police report should be filed immediately (within 24hrs) as refusal to exchange details constitutes a “hit and run” accident.
Remember not to discuss liabilities with any party until requested to do so by the government or any legal or insurance agencies.
Step 3: Document Evidence
The documentation of evidence is important in solidifying a case for either party, and is also crucial in damage assessment.
Always take detailed photographs of the scene and all vehicles involved. Take a variety of detailed photos from different angles to provide the most context and information.
It is always better to take as many photos as you can just in case the evidence is required by the insurer or legal team.
Tampering of on-site evidence or moving the vehicles around after the accident is not advised, as that weakens your claims. The best scenario would be for the vehicles to remain in their initial positions.
With that, here are the detailed instructions on what to document:
- Photos of the accident scene and surrounding areas. (include lane markings, debris or prominent damage to structures)
- Licence plate numbers
- Damages to your own vehicle (include licence plates)
- Damages to the other vehicle (include licence plates)
- Time, date, location of the accident
- Weather and road conditions at that time
Step 4: Ensure Safety
Once documentation is complete, you can move your vehicle out of the way (if they are still somewhat working) so as to not obstruct the flow of traffic. The best possible safe zone is a side road that is rarely used, or just the road shoulder.
Place a hazard sign roughly 50m from the boot of the rear vehicle to alert oncoming traffic if the only safe spot is the road shoulder.
Step 5: Assess Car Damages and Submitting Insurance Claims
This is the final step in this short informative article about what to do in the event of an accident.
Oftentimes, the main focus of the aftermath of an accident is the compensation received for damages, as well as repairing the vehicle so that it can be used again.
Removal of the vehicle from the crash site after the previous steps have been accomplished is simple, as there are various tow truck services that help to remove damaged vehicles from accident sites.
If the accident occurred on an expressway, the Land Transport Authority(LTA) would have been informed and will send an EMAS crew to help remove your vehicle from the scene. However, they will only tow your vehicle to the nearest car park. After that, you’re on your own. Most car insurers provide emergency towing services, however if yours does not, simply look for one on Google.
Find out where you can repair your vehicle. If your insurer is a member of Independent Damage Assessment Centres (IDAC), you must assess your vehicle at IDAC before you start the repairs. Submit the assessment report to your insurer to assist with claims.
If not, find any decent workshop that can repair your car and assess damages. You will want to go to an authorised workshop which can provide the necessary paperwork and evidence of damage which you can add to your case.
Beware of Scammers
Car repair scams are the most common pitfall during the aftermath of an accident. The most frequent scam is one where some people with “good intentions” suddenly show up with referrals to car repair workshops, slightly after the accident.
These are the usual car insurance scammers who stage accidents and pretend to do good afterwards, just to earn the money of the innocent victims. The best way to protect yourself in this scenario is to have an in-car camera that is rolling all the time to record events.
Additionally, it is better to trust official help channels and those referred to you by your car insurer. Rejecting help from strangers might be the best thing to do despite their kind intentions.
When You Are the Victim
If you are the victim involved in a car accident, lodge a claim under your car insurer and claim against the perpetrator’s insurers. If that succeeds, your No Claims Discount (NCD) will not be affected at the next renewal.
In cases where injuries sustained are severe or damages to the vehicle are irreparable, engaging a personal injury lawyer can be crucial in obtaining compensation. Whether you resolve the issue via litigation or private settlement depends on the lawyer’s capabilities, so finding a decent lawyer is important in this step.
When You Are the Perpetrator
If you caused the accident and are responsible for causing damages and injury to the other party, you may claim against your insurer at the expense of your NCD. However, your claim must exceed the excess amount to be valid.
There are various situations which are considered dangerous driving such as the ones listed below:
- Driving while sleepy
- Driving while on drowsy medication
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Disobeying traffic signals
- Driving against the flow of traffic
- Racing against other drivers
The responsibility of the driver is determined largely by circumstance, intention and state. An exceptional intention would be rushing someplace due to an emergency, which will be taken into account (but that doesn’t excuse one from causing harm).
If convicted, perpetrators could spend up to 12 months in jail, fined $5000 and disqualified from driving for a certain period. If your reckless driving has resulted in a death, you may spend up to 5 years in jail.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Insurance Terms
What is an NCD?
Upon insurance renewal, a No-Claim Discount (NCD) means that you have not made any claims within the past one year. Therefore, your policy premium will then be reduced for each year (up to 50 percent discount) for each year without any claims made.
|Period of Insurance with no claims||Discount given upon renewal|
|One year||10 percent|
|Two years||20 percent|
|Three years||30 percent|
|Four years||40 percent|
|Five years||50 percent|
Will My NCD be affected if my liability is below 20%?
No, NCD will only be affected beyond 20%.
What should I do if I have a dispute with my claim?
Claim disputes can be settled by appealing to your insurer. If that does not satisfy you, contact your insurer’s higher management or raise the issue to IDRO (Insurance Disputes Resolution Organisation). The General Insurance Association(GIA) can also handle your insurance dispute. Their contact details and addresses are shown below for reference:
Insurance Disputes Resolution Organisation (IDRO)
20 Cross Street #02-01/02 China Court, China Square Central
Telephone: +65 6327 8878
Fax: +65 6427 8488
General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA)
103 Amoy Street Singapore (069923)
Telephone: +65 6221 8788 / +65 6221 8789
Fax: +65 6227 2051
What is BOLA?
BOLA, or the Barometer of Liability Agreement, is what local insurers utilise to assess liabilities for those involved in a car accident.
Do I need to report an accident if a private settlement is made?
Yes, it is important to always report all accidents to your insurer, even for cases where you have made a private settlement with the other party. You cannot be fully certain that the other party will not file a claim against you later and therefore it is important to report all accidents for record purposes. If you do not do so, you risk having your claim deemed as prejudiced or declined later by insurers for not duly reporting the accident.