4. If you have a camera with you, take some photographs of the accident site as well as the vehicles involved. Remember to keep the negatives in a safe place as photographs without their negatives may not be admissible as evidence in court.
At the police station
You can write out the report in Bahasa Malaysia and then sign at the bottom of the report. If you cannot write in Bahasa Malaysia you can explain to the police officer on duty who will write it down for you. Always ask for a certified copy of the police report.
Dealing with the damage
- all particulars taken down
- certified copies of police report
- medical reports
- receipts for expenses incurred, e.g. medical fees, transport charges, rental of vehicle, etc.
- documents supporting your claim — photographs and negatives, repair bills, receipts, medical reports.
Claiming for damage to your vehicle
There are two ways of claiming for damages to your vehicle.
(1) Claim from your own insurance company
Always remember that when you claim from your insurance company, you will lose your no-claim bonus.
(2) Claim from the other party’s insurance company
You can also claim from the other party’s insurance company. If you decide to do so, it is preferable to engage a lawyer.
Engaging a lawyer
Your lawyer will ask you to sign a warrant to act. This is a document appointing him/her as your lawyer and authorising the lawyer to act on your behalf.
What will your lawyer do?
- take down a full statement from you and examine all the documents that you have, consider the evidence, and explain to you the types and the quantum of claims that you may be granted.
- write letters to the police station for copies of the police reports as well as the sketch map of the accident site.
- if you have not obtained the medical reports, the lawyer will write to the hospital for medical reports.
- write to the insurance company concerned for compensation.
- if no adequate compensation can be obtained, the lawyer will file a civil suit, prepare the documents and get ready for trial. Even at this stage, parties are free to arrive at a settlement.
An injured person can claim for special damages, and general damages.
- Special damages — These are claims for specific expenses (e.g. transport, repairs to vehicles, hiring another vehicle, medical expenses). Generally, special damages deal with specific monetary expenses, incurred by the claimant as a result of the accident.
- General damages — These are compensations for pain and suffering as a result of injuries caused to a person.
If the matter goes to trial, then the Court will have to decide the issues of :
- Liability — Who is responsible for causing the accident?
- Quantum — How much should the injured party receive?
Thus, if the Court finds that the claimant is 50% liable, then the Court will reduce the quantum by 50%.
Collecting the money
The cheque will issued by the insurance company in your name and will be forwarded to your lawyer. Your lawyer will then inform you to come to his office to collect the cheque.
One final warning!
Remember you have a right to choose your own lawyer. Do not be forced into choosing a lawyer by touts.
(Extracted from “Road Accidents” pamphlet published by The Bar Council)