Got Into a Car Accident With No Insurance, But It’s Not Your Fault? Here is What Can Happen!

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Car accidents can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye, regardless of how careful you are on the road. Being involved in an accident is stressful enough, but what’s even more stressful is realising your vehicle has damage, but you’re not insured!

In this blog, we’ll discuss what can happen in this situation, your options if you are not liable for the accident, what to do if legal action is required, and how to avoid accidents in the future.

Third-Party Car Insurance in South Africa

When you are in an accident with no insurance, the outcome might look grim – but there is a chance that the other driver has third-party insurance. Even if you are not insured, the other drivers’ third-party insurance should cover the repair costs of your vehicle. However, their insurer will only pay out if the other motorist is found legally liable for the accident.

Here are the steps to follow to prove liability:

  1. Immediately after the accident, take clear photos and videos of the scene. If you record videos, you can also verbally recount what happened.
  2. Have a calm and open discussion with the other driver. Find out if they have insurance, and take down their name, number and license plate if they do.
  3. If there are any witnesses, they can testify about how the collision happened and who is at fault. (usually, this will not be necessary, but it’s better to be prepared).
  4. If there are police officers on the scene, file a police report. Alternatively, head to the nearest police station and file a police report there – it would be best if the other driver accompanied you to the police station. The police officer will identify the driver who caused the accident.
  5. At this point, the other driver would file a claim with their insurance company. The insurer will look at all the facts, and if the police find the other driver legally liable for the accident, the insurer will pay out third-party cover.
  6. The insurance company will provide you with the funds to either repair your car or, if the damage is too extensive, they will pay out a lump sum equal to the cash value of your car.

That being said, in South Africa, it is not required by law to have a car insurance policy. According to News24, about 70% of vehicles on South African roads are uninsured. So if you are in a car accident, there is a good chance the other driver does not have insurance.

When Legall Action is Required

If the other driver has been found legally liable for the damage to your car, but their insurance company neglects to pay the claim, you should contact a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to assist you in all the legal matters involved in the accident.

On the other hand, if the other driver is found liable but has no insurance, it might not be easy to recover the compensation needed to repair your car. In this case, you will also need an attorney’s help to get reasonable compensation.  

Attorneys can also represent you if the case is pursued in court. Unfortunately, this has some financial implications, so it’s usually left as a last resort.

No matter the case, if you are unsure of your legal rights as a South African citizen regarding getting compensation for a car accident, you should discuss your concerns with an attorney who specialises in insurance claims.

The Road Accident Fund (RAF)

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is a government-backed insurance fund that compensates road accident victims. You can claim from the RAF if you are in a vehicle accident and suffer from an injury but have no medical insurance.

However, it’s important to note that the Road Accident Fund does not cover vehicle or property damage, only bodily harm. If you did not suffer any injuries from the accident, you probably wouldn’t receive the help of the RAF.

The RAF can also payout a lump sum of money to the family of a victim who passed away in a car accident on South African roads.

Be Prepared For Future Incidents

No one wants to be in a motor accident, and we all take precautions when driving to minimise the chance of a collision. However, there is no way to prevent an accident completely, especially if the accident is not even your fault!

The best way to prevent future financial difficulties is to ensure your car is insured. Different types of car insurance policies are available with varying benefits and premiums. Get quotes from multiple insurance companies and carefully consider their terms and conditions before purchasing a policy. 

Keep your vehicle well-maintained, as this can prevent future accidents. Take your car for services and check your brakes and tyres regularly. 

If you cannot afford insurance coverage at the moment, consider alternative transportation methods such as taxis, carpools or ride-sharing services like Uber. These significantly reduce the risk of you getting in an accident uninsured.

Final Thoughts

Being in a car accident can be traumatic and stressful, not even to mention having an uninsured vehicle. However, other options exist, especially if you are not liable for the accident. If the other driver has third-party insurance, you might be covered for the repair costs of your car.

On the other hand, if the other party does not have insurance, you would need to take legal action or pay for the repairs out of your own pocket. 

If you’ve sustained an injury during the accident, the Road Accident Fund could provide some relief and cover a portion of your medical bills.

All in all, it’s essential to be prepared and have car insurance to ensure financial relief in the worst-case scenario.

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