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Motor Vehicle Accidents and Recovering your Damages

With the ‘silly season’ fast approaching, people are not as vigilant as they usually are and the number of additional vehicles on the road is astounding! This is the time when motor vehicle accidents sky-rocket and you are often left in the unfortunate position of either being severely hurt, or being out of pocket due to the negligent driving of another road user.

Remember if you are in an accident, take down as much details as possible!  This is so important when lodging a claim either against the Road Accident Fund, or against another driver (which your insurance company will require details for as well).

This list will ensure that the most important information is obtained:

  1. Details of the drivers – take a photo with your camera phone of the drivers licence if possible which indicates his names and ID number – after all, you have to know who to sue;
  2. If the driver of a vehicle is not the owner, try and establish who the owner is – there may be a claim against an employer if an employee negligently causes the accident.  This can be done by taking down the registration number of the vehicle and requesting the owner’s information from the vehicle licencing department;
  3. Details of the vehicles involved in the accident – take a photo of the licence plate and of the vehicles in general, in order to easily identify the vehicles and their makes and models;
  4. Details of passengers – obtain their contact, as they may need to give evidence in court as to what occurred;
  5. Details of the road conditions – was the road tarred or was it a dirt road; were there potholes or was it a smooth surface; was the road in good condition or in poor condition;
  6. Details of the weather conditions – sunny and clear, overcast and raining, night or day;
  7. Time, date and place of the accident;
  8. The CAS number or OAR number – these you will obtain from the police station.  A CAS number is provided if a case of reckless and negligent driving is opened.  An OAR number is always provided for any motor vehicle accidents, and this will be requested by your insurance company;
  9. Details of damage to the vehicle – take good quality, high resolution photos of the damage to your vehicle, as these will be used in your claim for damages to your vehicle;
  10. In the unfortunate event of you or a passenger being injured, keep all medical records and receipts for any treatment paid for in cash – should you have a claim against the RAF, you will need these to be reimbursed for expenses paid for in cash. 
  11. Details of your on-going treatment and pain management.  When instituting a claim against the RAF, it is important to quantify your damages for pain and suffering – this can only be done if you note your road to recovery.

In any motor vehicle collision, you will always have one or two claims – the insurance company will want to recover the costs of the repair to the vehicle, and/or you may be injured thereby needing to lodge a claim against the Road Accident Fund.  The reason claims can often not be maximized, is because they only reach a court room many years later, after which our memories fade and we aren’t always able to remember the exact details.  By properly and effectively collecting evidence and  documenting clear facts of the incident, the chances of being successful in your claim are increased tremendously.