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How to claim from insurance after a drunk driving accident

A drunk driving accident can be one of the most harrowing experiences a person can have in their driving life, and it’s a significant problem in South Africa.

With the holiday season now upon us, reports of driving under the influence (DUI) cases are sadly expected to spike as people make their way to and from social gatherings over the course of the Christmas and New Year period.

This emphasises the importance of understanding what to do in the unfortunate event that you are caught in one of these accidents, and how you can claim from your insurer.

The correct procedure

If you are involved in a car accident of any kind, you are required to stop by the Road Traffic Act of 1996. Not only is fleeing the scene an illegal act that can lead to fines or jail time, but you will also need the police’s assistance to later be able to claim from your insurer.

After ensuring that all the individuals affected by the crash are accounted for and are being attended to by medical responders if necessary, you should call your insurance provider to notify them of the incident, according to Naked Insurance.

If your car is equipped with a tracker, it is also possible that your provider was already notified when the collision occurred, but it is still a good idea to confirm what has happened either through a phone call or by using the insurer’s associated smartphone app, if it has one.

Importantly, if you suspect that one of the other drivers involved in the incident was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should call the police on 10111 if they are not at the scene already, and ask them to check the person with a breathalyser as this will help you to build your case if there is a record of the person’s condition at the time of the accident.

If their alcohol level is found to be high, they will be arrested and a blood test should be administered within two hours of the incident. This will be used as evidence in a court proceeding and can help you with your insurance claim.

You should also gather the following before you leave the scene of the accident:

  • Case file number from a police officer (can also be obtained from the nearest police station)
  • Photos and locations of any nearby cameras
  • Contact details of other motorists, including photos of their driving licences
  • Contact details and descriptions of any eyewitnesses (very important if the other drivers are proving uncooperative)

Do not wait to submit a claim to your insurer. If the other driver is found to be intoxicated, their insurer will not cover their claim, so your provider will instead try to recover your costs and excess directly from the person responsible.

If any person is injured in a car accident and needs to cover medical costs or deal with a loss of income, they will need to claim from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

If a person is killed as the result of a road accident, their estate will be able to claim compensation from the RAF as well.

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