Many people fall into the trap of apologizing, it is human nature to act and instantly say SORRY.
Although a person cannot normally be held liable due to a normal reaction of apologizing as you are in a state of shock and disbelieve, a lot of companies will see it as an admission of guilt. They will use your humanity against you. Therefore, avoid any statements or wording that can be used against you.
Every person, driver, or employee of a company making use of a company vehicle will have a cellphone.
It is essential to keep your phone charged and use it as your electronic witness.
What do we mean when we say this? Your phone will act as your little evidence-gathering tool.
Photos, video’s and recordings can be helpful to better understand how an accident took place.
It is very important to always take photos of the entire accident scene.
Step back and take a photo with both vehicles in the picture frame, why?
1. This places the Third Party on the accident scene
2. It gives a clear indication of how the vehicles ended up after impact
3. It shows damages in full view
4. It might have a reflection of the other parties clothes and if they are wearing a company-branded shirt, we will know where he works,
5. It gives a picture of the surroundings and a better idea if there might be CCTV cameras in the vicinity and what landmarks there might be in case of a dispute.
Secondly, take photos of the Third Parties:
1. Drivers License (if possible), it is easy to make a mistake and write a number of the ID incorrectly
2. If there is any signage on the vehicle take photos of it
3. The registration number of the vehicle
4. The vehicle disk in the front window (if possible)
5. If the Third-Party is a Commercial vehicle with a horse and trailer, make sure you take photos of both the trailer and the horse’s registration number. Why? The trailer might not belong to the owner of the horse!
The best evidence is visual evidence, therefore, if you have a dash cam in your vehicle, make sure it is on at all times. There is no better evidence or witness than the actual accident recording, showing exactly how the accident took place.
If however, you do not have a dash cam, take a video of the accident scene as well, inspect your car and take a video of the damages.
The video will have sound recording and one might just pick up chatter from bystanders that saw the accident.
If their weather was bad it will clearly show rainfall or one will hear the wind blowing.
This is not always the best course of action, as one would need permission to record a conversation.
However, for a driver working for a company, it might be better if they record what happened in the accident, this will make it easier when it comes to completing the claim form.
Some companies do not have a claim form and one has to relay the description telephonically.
When you are on the scene, everything is fresh in your memory and a detailed version will go a long way.
Avoid instances where the dispute on liability comes down to a “He said, she said” scenario.
If there were witnesses, get their details and ask if they will assist with a statement, do not be afraid to ask bystanders, this might be your saving grace.
Be safe on the roads and try to avoid an accident altogether.