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26 JAN 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Being in a road accident can be a very confusing time as we have to juggle our thoughts between the damages and our next course of action.

Do not panic when caught up in the situation. The most important thing to do is to lodge a police report.

Lawyer Prakash Babu Balakrishnan advised motorists to then, inform the nearest traffic police station about the accident and said that the parties are required to remain at the scene of the accident assuming that both parties could not reach an immediate settlement.

"They can wait until the arrival of the Traffic Investigation Officer (IO), depending on the severity of the accident, who will then decide the next course of investigation and action,” he said.

Prakash said it was always advisable to lodge a police report whenever a person is involved in any road accident.

"It is an offence under Section 52(2) of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333), if a police report is only lodged later than 24 hours from the time of accident without valid reasons, regardless of the agreed manner of settlement," he said.

While it is prudent for the matter to be brought up to the authorities, Prakash said an amicable resolve on damages on the spot is also an option for extremely minor accidents.

Once a police report is lodged, he said the IO shall investigate and decide which party is at fault and traffic summons will be issued.

"The classification and punishment of the cases will be decided by the IO upon the outcome of the investigation and would usually be under but not limited to Act 333," he said.

Prakash also warned against paying heed to any independent towing agents who usually be the first at the scene without first verifying with the driver's own vehicle insurance company.

"Also in cases involving fatalities and injuries, it is advisable not to sign any documents brought by any agents or touts at the hospital or at the scene of the accident without consulting their lawyers, if any," he added.

Another lawyer Patwant Singh Sohanpal of the view that when two or more vehicles are involved in a motor vehicle accident without any injury to persons, it is categorised as property damaged collisions.

"In the Malaysian context and irrespective of the number of vehicles, all parties should first move their vehicles to the most left side of the road for safety and (to avoid) causing road congestion assuming that the vehicles are still able to move.

"The motorists should then safely exit their respective vehicles and inspect the damages as well as start recording details of the accident ranging from the condition of the vehicles, registration numbers and motorists particulars," he said, adding that it was to ensure that there is substantial proof at hand. -Bernama

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