How To Deal With An Uninsured Driver In An Accident
Author: Sherryn de Vos
You have just been involved in a collision. To make matters worse, the other party is an uninsured driver. What are your next steps?
There are currently over 8.5 million cars on South African roads. 65% of these cars are uninsured. With statistics like this, being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver is incredibly high. In fact, should you be involved in an accident, you have a two in three chance of colliding with an uninsured driver. What are the steps you can take should you be involved in an accident with someone who is not insured?
The accident has just happened. No matter whose fault it is, the best thing is to keep calm. Make sure you get all of the other driver’s details. Get contact details, address, driver’s license details, and full names. Also, make sure that you gather as much evidence from the scene that you can. Take pictures of both cars, the surrounding area, and try to get some witness statements.
Wait until police officers arrive at the scene, or make sure to report the accident within 24 hours. Contact your insurance company and report and start the claim process. Should the other person not have insurance, let your insurer know. Provide them with all of the details of the other driver. Your insurer will make contact with them and establish their details.
If the other person is not insured, you will have to keep in mind that the reason that they are not is probably because they cannot afford it. Should you take the case to court, you will need to keep in mind that they may not be able to pay for the costs.This will leave you responsible for it. If the case does land up in court, you need to keep the following in mind:
If the claim is for less than R15 000, it may be pursued in the Small Claims Court.
For a claim more than R15 000, the case will be taken to the Magistrate's Court with the assistance of an attorney.
The best option, however, is to leave the process to your insurer for as long as possible. Should you find that you keep running into a wall with them, you can hire an attorney. The legal process can be a long, expensive one. If your insurer can handle the process, allow them to do so as much as possible.
Should You Be The Driver Without Insurance
Accidents do happen to the best of us. In cases like this, the best thing is to ensure that you get the police involved as soon as possible. In this way, you will ensure that everything is documented and that you are protected. If the accident was not your fault, the other person’s policy will be responsible for your damages.Should it be your fault, it is vital for you to have a written statement of what happened. If the other person sues you for damages, you are legally allowed to seek an attorney to protect yourself and your assets.Depending on the type of accident, the other driver’s insurer might be in a position to negotiate a payment schedule. Keep in mind that this will be a substantial debit order off your account every month and it could be avoided by simply taking out insurance. Should you be more concerned with being responsible for someone else’s damages, you can take out third party insurance.