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Getting into any car accident is traumatic, but what do you do when the other driver flees the scene? In this guide, we cover the do's and don'ts after a hit-and-run accident.
When you’re driving on the road, danger lurks everywhere around you, even when you think you are completely safe. It’s not ideal to hear, but many drivers could either get caught in an accident, or be near enough to witness one in their lifetime.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
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According to Section 84 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA), if an accident occurs, the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident must stop the vehicle immediately. If you hit someone and drive away, it’s considered a hit-and-run, hence the name.
This also applies to parked cars. If you hit a stationary car and drive away, it is still considered a hit-and-run.
If you have been involved in such an incident, or know someone who has, continue reading to see what you should do after the accident.
What to Do at the Scene
When an accident occurs, the victim may feel disoriented as the collision happens quickly. Because of this, when the culprit runs away, the victim often doesn’t have time to process what happened, much less catch the culprit.
So here’s what you should do at the scene.
(Photo Credit: Pixabay)
Try to Take Note of the Culprit’s Vehicle
It’ll be difficult to catch the culprit’s face, but you can definitely catch some aspect of the vehicle. Be it the colour, its make and model, or even better – the license plate number, this information will be useful when finding the culprit.
Take Pictures of the Scene
This usually refers to the damage caused to the victim and/or their vehicle, since the culprit would’ve left the scene. If you are the victim and are not badly injured, snap as many pictures as possible.
If you’re a witness at the scene, help the victim by taking pictures or videos. This will help the victim with their insurance claims.
Don’t Touch the Injured Victim or Move the Vehicle
If you’re a witness at the scene and the victim appears badly injured, do not attempt to help him or her up. There’s a possibility that movement could worsen the injuries. Instead, call the ambulance and let the paramedics handle the situation.
Also, don’t move the vehicle, especially if the victim is pinned underneath. Call the police and inform them of the damage.
What to Do After the Accident
Previously, we shared 7 things to do after a car accident. Today, we’ll be sharing what to do after a hit-and-run accident.
Following up from what to do at the scene, here’s what you should do after the accident.
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File an Accident Report
If you are a driver on the road, you’ll definitely have a motor insurance policy. If you get into an accident, you have to submit an accident report to your insurer within 24 hours. You will also have to submit another accident report to the police, also within 24 hours.
Reporting the accident helps victims to claim compensation from their insurer, as well as aid the police in finding the culprit.
Make a Claim
Once you’ve filed your accident reports, you should make an insurance claim to compensate for the damages to yourself and your vehicle. Keep in mind that only Comprehensive type policies cover hit-and-runs. Here’s how to make a car insurance claim.
But it can be difficult to make a claim when you don’t know the particulars of the third party. That’s where the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) come in.
Not to be confused with the Men In Black, the MIB is an “independent body set up by insurers”. Its purpose is to compensate victims of accidents where the culprit is unknown.
The MIB provides compensation to victims for bodily injury claims only, meaning that they’ll only help you with claims if you’re injured. They do not cover damage costs for your vehicle.
You can read more about the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) here.
Seek Medical TreatmentMore often than not, victims of motor accidents brush off their injuries after the accident has occurred. This actually isn’t a good practice. While you may feel fine on the outside, you could have suffered internal injuries.
Therefore, you should always seek medical attention after the accident. Better to be safe than sorry.
Post the Incident on Social Media
It can be unnerving to not know who hit you in the accident, and what better way to trace the culprit than to gather help from the public?
If you’re comfortable, you can write up about the incident appealing for witnesses and post it on Facebook, where other users can share your post and help you find help.
Receiving accident footage or finding witnesses can aid you greatly in finding the culprit, as well as help you with your insurance claims.
Penalty for Hit-and-Run Accidents
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Last but not least, an offence like a hit-and-run will come with penalties to the culprit.
For first-time offenders, the penalty can be a fine not exceeding S$3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
For repeat offenders, the penalty will be a higher fine not exceeding S$5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or both.
The mWitness Initiative
Did you know that there’s a dedicated group that can help you in such cases? We here at Motorist, Singapore’s leading automotive platform, have created a Facebook group called mWitness, to help victims of accidents seek out footage for accidents and appeal for witnesses.
You can also use the mWitness feature in the Motorist App to:
- Share video evidence of accidents
- Request for witnesses
- Share video evidence directly to victims who have appealed for witnesses
To all the motorists on the roads, drive carefully and stay safe. If you hit someone while driving, please don’t drive away. Own up to your action instead of fleeing the scene. The consequences of fleeing are often much worse than accident itself. As for witnesses, please do your best to assist the victim. Every small act helps, whether it is providing video evidence, submitting a report to the police, or stopping your vehicle to direct traffic.
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