Met with an accident? What to do next?

Two men arguing about damage in car collision

We always hope for a pleasant and safe drive/ride but sometimes fate has something different for us and few of us do meet accidents. Be it our mistake or someone else’s mistake, either or at times both the parties have to bear consequences. Be it mental stability or health wise or monetary. At the instance of impact, we immediately lose our cool and end up landing into further problems which are often way more than just dashing of vehicles. That’s coz the fear and anger override our logic and ability to think wisely. Most of us do not understand what is to be done and what is not to be done. Today, I am writing an awareness article which will give you perfect guidelines in case of an accident.

The first thing to be done after the accident is turn off the engine immediately and check yourself for any injury. Before you can help others, it is important that you are okay in first place. If you are fine, check for any casualties and seriously injured co-passenger. Before you reach out to police or insurance guys, it is important that the injured personnel get first aid and necessary treatment so that they can be taken to hospital or at least dispensary. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, amendment 1994, it is mandatory on both the driver/owner of the vehicle to take the injured to the nearest doctor, and the doctor must also treat the injured without waiting for any formalities. No doctor or hospital has the right to refuse medical care in any  emergency cases.

Once, the injured personnel is moved to a safe facility, you can deal with the physical damage of the vehicle. See how bad the damage is, check if the vehicle is mobile and act accordingly. There, you have 4 options. First case, if the damage is minor, either parties pay upfront for the losses or agree to accept their fault without suing each other. This is the most easiest way to avoid fights and settle on a peaceful note. However, this rarely happens as nobody would accept the fault and leave the spot so easily. Also, this won’t be so simple if you are driving a rented vehicle. In case, the damage is less than INR 20,000, the rental may ask you to send the photos of the vehicle immediately. They communicate the damage to insurance guys and settle it. Accordingly, a minimal fine is recorded to your account.

But, in case the you have rammed the vehicle badly and the damage is over INR 20,000, it becomes mandatory to inform about the same in the police station so that the rental can claim for insurance and start other formalities. Informing the police doesn’t always mean FIR (First Information Report). The same is valid if you are in your own vehicle. Both the affected parties have to go to police station together and report the accident. Here, if the parties realize that it was by mistake, you may settle with a Compromise Letter which states that both parties have agreed to settle at some make ups mutually and do not want to register any complaint against each other. In case the other party escapes the accident spot (kinda hit-n-run), you need to collect an Acknowledgement Letter from police stating that you faced an accident and the opposite party has escaped the scene but you not want to register any official complaint against him/her.

The accident can also be due to a stray animal or a tree or if you ram the vehicle into the bushes. In this case, the police registers a Diary Entry only stating that you unknowingly had an accident due to aforementioned causes and you do not hold anyone else responsible for the accident. These are the most peaceful ways to handle an accident which will resolve the matter quickly and not add to your mental trauma. Once you collect the required letter from police station and a medical certificate from hospital, you may contact the insurance agents or the car rentals so that they can proceed with the formalities.

Things can go real wrong when the opposite party decides to complain against you in form of an FIR. If an FIR is registered, the police has to inspect the entire case, both the vehicles are detained in police custody and both the parties shall be subject to laws as per judicial system. In this case, make sure you find a good lawyer and seriously pray! Yeah, pray! Things can go real bad when the locals are non-cooperative and decide to ruin your case even further. It is really sad that in some parts of India, accidents are seen as opportunities to exploit the injured and scared passengers. Considering the latest example where a rider ran over a small kid resulting in the kid’s death, villagers tied the rider to a tree and brutally beat him up. Also, the fellow riders were hurt and their bikes were vandalized. What to do if the local public is pissed?

The only thing you can do is be firm in your opinion. We do not encourage lying but sometimes it becomes a life-death situation. Never admit that it is your fault entirely and project the fact that it was a an accident and not a deliberate act. Be firm in voicing your side of the story but do not be too aggressive. Else, it by default provokes the locals to beat you up. Stay calm, agree to help the affected but do not get dominated by anyone in the crowd. In such violent situations, it is needless to say that first safeguard yourself and then your belongings.

I hope this article helps you to act wisely and relieves your stress if the situation demands.



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