HOW TO GUIDE: In South Africa an accident must be reported - by both drivers - at a police station or traffic office within 24 hours. Image: iStock
Cape Town - According to the National Road Traffic Act: Section 61 Accidents and Accident Reports, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself against unnecessary worries and will give your insurance company enough information to begin processing your accident claim as quickly as possible.
Find out what the extent of the damage is
You'll need to find out how much damage has been caused to property. You’ll need to give your name, address and vehicle registration number to anyone who might need them.
The relevant information you need to get
If you’re involved in an accident, you should try to get the following information from all parties involved and witnesses:
Telephone or cell number
Vehicle registration numbers
You should also get
Descriptions of the vehicles involved,
Details of police and traffic officers as well as ambulance personnel, and
Details of tow truck personnel.
This information will help if you want to make a claim against your insurance or against the Road Accident Fund (RAF), or if you want to claim the costs of repairs from the other party.
Reporting an accident to the police
The police don't have to be called to the scene if no one has been hurt, but the accident must be reported - by both drivers - at a police station or traffic office within 24 hours.
You have to give your name, address and vehicle registration number to the police or traffic officer, either at the scene of the accident or at a police station or traffic office when you report the accident. You must also show your driver’s licence.
If you’re hurt and can't report the accident immediately, you must do it as soon as possible and explain why there has been a delay in reporting the accident.
It’s an offence not to report an accident in which another person's property has been damaged, or in which another person is injured, even if neither of the drivers intend taking legal action.
Getting a copy of the accident report later
Checking the damage after an accident
Once you’ve reported the accident to the police, they’ll complete an accident report. If you need to get hold of the accident details or a copy of the accident report, you should find out whether the accident report is kept at:
The South African Police Services (SAPS)
SAPS keeps accident reports for all accidents where a criminal case has been opened. Contact the police station in the area that the accident took place for more information.
The appropriate local authority
Accident reports for accidents that happened in the area of the City of Cape Town where there is no criminal case opened are kept by the city. For accidents that happened in the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town, you can contact: 021 812 4449 / 53 / 54.
The Department of Transport and Public Works
All other accident reports are kept by the Department of Transport and Public Works for each province.
How to obtain an accident report from the Department:
You'll need to have a request letter with your signature or an authorisation/consent letter or a power of attorney.
Submit a copy of the ID of the person who was involved in an accident.
If your name doesn’t appear on the accident report, you’ll need to get an affidavit from the nearest police station.
Please note the details below are only valid if your incident occurred in the Western Cape, but all information is relevant nationally.
The Department can email or fax the accident report back to you if it’s received all the proper documentation. You can request a copy of the accident report through the following means of contact:
Tel: 021 483 2154/ 8960
Fax: 021 483 2102
Email: Ipasdata@gmail.com or email@example.com
Physical Address: 2nd floor, 9 Dorp Street, Cape Town