A ‘hit-and-run’ is a situation in which an accident occurs, however the driver intentionally leave the scene without supplying the victim without their contact information. For example:
- A vehicle knocks you but drives away.
- Your parked car is knocked, however no contact information is left to claim damage costs.
Experiencing a hit and run can leave you feeling in shock, confused and helpless. Most hit and run victims are unaware of how to claim back damage and injury costs. CarZar helps you to discover your rights and what to do when involved in a hit and run, in order to mellow the bitter experience.
When entangled in a vehicle hit and run accident, the best thing to do in the moment is to remain calm and try to retrieve as much information as possible. There is no point shouting in distress at the car to, “come back”. It would only cloud your memory of the vehicle’s particulars. The fact is that the driver cannot hear you and would not make a U-turn if they could hear you. Keeping a clear head in the moment will help you gather more information about the vehicle; therefore, allowing the vehicle to be identifiable by the police and your vehicle’s insurance company would be able to make a better decision about your claim.
So, what visual details about the vehicle, do you need to look out for?
4. License plate number
It is also best to keep an eye out for any hit and run witnesses, as they may remember more details about the vehicle that jolted you. However, it is your responsibility to right down the accident time and location, take a photo of the scene and take a photo of your car to avoid being accused of fraud.
Many hit and run victims have the perception that they cannot do anything, because ‘the driver is gone’. However, everyone has human rights when involved in anything that devalues their person or property. It is therefore important to know your rights when experiencing a hit and run, in order to stand up and claim your damage and injury compensation.
In Section 61 of the South African National Road Traffic Act, any person involved in a collision or is authorised to request the offender’s details, has the right to receive those details. This is evident in section 61(1)(e):
61(1) “The driver of a vehicle on a public road at the time when such vehicle is involved in or contributes to any accident in which any other person is killed or injured or suffers damage in respect of any property or animal shall-”
(e) “If required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his or her name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle driven by him or her and, in the case of a motor vehicle, the registration or similar mark thereof;”
In this case, it is your human right to take legal action if the driver of the ‘hit and run is caught’, as the driver has violated Section 61 of the South African National Road Traffic Act. The offender can therefore be found guilty of a “hit and run”, if you decide to lay a charge at the nearest police station from the accident. If your vehicle has developed any damages during the collision, police reports must be made immediately and within 24-hours of the collision.
Know your human rights. Hit and runs are just as important as normal road accidents.
The above information is simply a guide and does not change any laws, rules and regulations, as stipulated in the South African National Road Traffic Act or National Road Traffic Regulations.
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