According to a Michigan University research conducted in 2014, Malaysia is ranked 17th across the globe for being the most dangerous country for road users.
In 2003, almost 300,000 road accidents were reported in Malaysia. That number increased by 53% in the period of mere 9 years, with a staggering total of 460,000 cases in 2012.
Let’s face it, road accidents are something that is inevitable especially if you are a motorist. Sometimes no matter how careful we are, we may still find ourselves involving in some sort of a traffic accident or at least a fender bender. As a road user in Malaysia, I believe it is in our best interest to equip ourselves with some knowledge on how to deal with an accident. So that we are able to handle the situation efficiently should we find ourselves involving in one.
So here is a guideline that may be useful to you:
1. STAY CALM! I repeat, STAY CALM!
The worst thing that you can do during an accident is to panic and lose your composure. This is especially important to those who are experiencing an accident for the first time. When you panic, it is easy to start forgetting your rights, the procedures that you should be taking and what’s worse, is that you may even fall prey to people who may want to take advantage of the situation.
2. Gather information
Analyze the situation. How many cars were involved? Where exactly was the location? How did it happen? Note down any valuable information that may prove useful to justify your claim. It is recommended to have a dashcam equipped in your car to provide very strong video evidence. Use your camera to capture all the cars involved in the accident, their number plates, and the damages that were done.
Next, take down information of the drivers/passengers/witnesses that are involved, make sure to get their names, IC numbers, and phone numbers.
3. Lodge a Police Report
You are required to make a police report within 24 hours of the incident at the nearest police station (polis trafik). Usually the police officer in charge will be typing out the report for you as you explain the incident to him. Make sure you describe the situation clearly and precisely.
After doing this you will be directed to meet with the sergeant who will examine your case. This is the guy (or lady) who will decide your case, i.e. who is at fault and who is not, so you really want to make him (or her) your best friend for the next 15 minutes or so. When this is over, you can leave but make sure to ask for a certified copy of the police report. This report will cost a few Ringgit.
You will have to come back to get the result of the investigation. This is a necessary piece of document should you plan on making an insurance claim.
4. Report To Your Insurance Company
Review your insurance policy to find out if you can make any claims for your vehicle. It is best to report as soon as possible as insurance companies usually only handle claims within a specific time period. Your insurance company will provide you the necessary procedures in making a claim. Should your insurance company requests you to have repairs done at an authorised workshop, take your vehicle there as advised.
Other point to note
In the case where your car is badly damaged at the scene of the accident and needs to be towed to a workshop, call your insurance company immediately and find out which workshop is a panel with your insurance agency and have a tow truck take it there. He will first need to take your car to the police station where you will be making the report so that the police officers can take a picture for investigation purposes.
Remember to take the name card of the tow truck company, details of the driver including his mobile phone number, the name, address and phone number of the workshop.
Do not let any of the tow trucks that miraculously appear at the scene within minutes after the accident convince you that they can take your car to the best/cheapest/nearest workshop. If the workshop turns out to not be in the list of workshops authorized by your insurance company, you will have to incur more cost to move it to the one that is.
Always make sure that you have the telephone number of your insurance company’s helpline ready. If ever you are unsure of what to do, just give them a call and let them advise you on the best ways to handle the situation you are in. And always remember, Keep Calm!