- Meeting Road accident is really an frustrating event. That’s why we are here to assist you in seeking compensations.
- Starting from 1 June 2008, the General Insurance Association of Singapore has laid down a Motor Claims Framework ('MCF').
- Under the MCF, all accidents whether happened in Singapore or Malaysia, regardless of how minor (even if the damage is not visible), must be reported to your motor insurers within 24 hours or by the next working day. Otherwise, it may result in a loss of your No Claim Discount when you next renew your motor policy.
- Also if you fail to report the accident to your motor insurers, you may have breached the terms and conditions under your motor insurance policy which may result your motor insurers repudiate the policy liability.
- It does not matter if you intend to claim from the motor insurers or Third Parties or you have made a direct settlement with the Third Parties, you must still lodge a report with your motor insurers.
- Besides reporting the accident to your motor insurers, you must also notify them of any claims made by the Third Party, any Writ, Summons, Offer of Composition or Notice of proceeding. You are not to admit any liability or make any payment without their written consent.
- Please consult your motor insurers on their reporting centres. You may usually find your motor insurers’ hotline or contact number in your motor insurance policy.
If you met an accident in Singapore or Malaysia, what must you do at the Accident Site?
- You should stay calm. You should not become agitated and angry.
- You should take down the following particulars:
- registration numbers and name of insurance companies of all vehicles involved in the accident; and
- names, NRIC Numbers, addresses and telephone numbers of the drivers, passengers, injured pedestrians and witnesses.
- You should also give your particulars to the other parties involved in the accident.
- Call your motor insurers for a tow truck if you need one to move your vehicle after an accident, or if you need advice about the accident. You should not engage any unauthorized tow truck operators.
- If it is a serious accident resulting someone injured or death, call the police and the ambulance immediately. As the police need to draw a sketch plan, do not move the vehicles or dead bodies.
- If possible,
- make a sketch plan or mental note of the accident site, position of vehicles, any landmarks; and
- take photographs of all damage caused by the accident. You must keep the negatives of those photographs. You may also use your Hand phone to take photographs.
- Photographs and sketch plan tell a thousand words as many people do not realize how essential and helpful these photographs and sketch plan are to parties who are trying to resolve the accident claim after several months or years later.
After the accident,what must you do next?
Police report (for accident happened in Malaysia and ONLY accident happened in Singapore with injury or death)
- You should make a written police report as soon as possible at any nearby police station (in Malaysia preferably same district in the place of accident) or any Neighbourhood Police Centre or Traffic Police HQ (in Singapore).
- For accident happened in Malaysia, regardless of the type of accident, you have to make a written police report.
- If you are hospitalized as a result of the accident, make your police report as soon as you are discharged from hospital. You may also make the police report at the hospital. Please check with your hospital first.
- You have to give all the information mentioned in the above paragraph 'If you met an accident in Singapore or Malaysia, what must you do at the Accident Site?'
- The police report is important because it is the official written record of the accident. Your insurance company, the police and lawyers will refer to it if you make any claim for compensation. Even in Court, the Judge will always rely on it as it is your first narration of how the accident happened.
GIA – Singapore Accident Report
- As mentioned above, it does not matter if you intend to claim from the motor insurers or Third Parties or you have made a direct settlement with the Third Parties, you must still lodge a report with your motor insurers within 24 hours or by the next working day under the MCF.
- You must also report to your motor insurers even you have made a police report.
- For more information on the reporting centres of your motor insurers, please call your motor insurers. You may usually find your motor insurers’ hotline or contact number in your motor insurance policy.
Damage to your vehicle
- You should arrange for your damaged vehicle to be removed to your motor insurers' approved reporting centre, within 24 hours of the accident or by the next working day.
- Again you should avoid any unauthorized repair workshops.
- However, if you wish that your vehicle to be repaired by your vehicle's authorized dealer or your favourite workshops, before you actually carry out the repair, please call your motor insurers to find out whether can you do so.
- However, if you wish to claim against the motor insurers of the other vehicle, please call your motor insurers whether will they help you to repair and claims against the other vehicle's motor insurers.
- To avoid future dispute, remember to take down the name of the officer of your motor insures you have spoken with.
- You must give the other vehicle's insurer an opportunity to carry out a "Pre-Repair Inspection" before you actually carry out the repair.
Injury to person
- If you are injured, see a doctor immediately and get a medical report.
- If possible seek treatment from government / restructured hospital.
How Do I Make a Claim
Claim against your own insurance company
You should note that there is an excess clause in your motor insurance policy. Your claim must exceed the excess amount, and your insurance company will only pay the difference between your claim and the excess amount. For example, if the excess amount is $500 and your claim is $400, your motor insurers will not pay. However, if your claim is $800, your insurers will only pay $300. You will also lose your no claim bonus (NCB).
Claim against another person (Third Party)
It is advisable to see a lawyer. Please remember that lawyers can represent you only if you authorize them to do so, usually by signing a warrant to act. Please be informed that vehicle workshops are not authorized to make claims on your behalf. You may wish to consult us on the aspect of the claims.
Claiming in hit and run cases
If you suffer personal injuries as a result of an accident and do not know the particulars of the other party that caused the accident, you may make a claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau. It is advisable to see a lawyer. You may wish to consult us on the aspect of the claims.
FIDReC Non-Injury Motor Accident Scheme (for non-injury motor claims below $3,000)
- This scheme was launched on 14 May 2008 at the Subordinate Courts.
- FIDReC (Financial Industrial Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd) is for non-injury motor claims below $3,000. There are no lawyers involved in this scheme. It is an avenue to resolve disputes directly between consumers and the insurance companies, which are not their own. You may visit FIDReC’s website at "www.fidrec.com.sg" for more information.
Police summons or charge
- If you receive a police summons or Offer of Composition or charge charging you for an offence related to the accident, you should seek advice from a lawyer immediately and notify your motor insurers before taking any course of action. You may wish to consult us on the aspect of the police summons or Offer of Composition or charge.
- Please note that as the police summons or Offer of Composition or charge is a criminal offence, your motor insurers usually will not engage a lawyer to defend you but under MCF, you must notify them.
- Do note that if you plead guilty, accept a warning or pay the summons, it can be used against you at a civil hearing of the same case.
What to do If a Claim is made against You
Report to your motor insurers
- If you receive a Letter of Demand from the lawyers of the other vehicle in the accident or a Writ of Summons, you should inform and hand over the documents to your motor insurers immediately.
- It is imperative to be mindful of these matters to avoid incurring or escalating costs for yourself.
- If your insurers repudiate liability for whatever reason, then you may want to engage your own lawyer to handle your case. You will bear the costs in such a case. One common reason for repudiation is if you were driving under the influence of alcohol. You may wish to consult us on the aspect of this matter.
If you wish to consult us, please bring the following documents:
- particulars in the paragraph of 'If you met an accident in Singapore or Malaysia, what must you do at the Accident Site?';
- copies of police reports;
- medical and specialist reports (if any);
- a list of expenses incurred, eg transport, medical fees and rental of car;
- documents supporting your claim such as photographs (and negatives), medical certificates, repair bills, receipts and evidence showing salary paid and so forth; and
- names and particulars of witnesses.
What will we do when you consult us?
- go through the documents and consider the evidence;
- take a statement from you and advise you on the strength of your case;
What will we do when you formally appointed us as your lawyer?
- write to relevant authorities, like Traffic Police, Clinic, Hospital, for result of investigation, police reports of other parties involved in the same accident, your medical or specialist report;
- write letters of demand on your behalf to claim compensation;
- discuss with you offers made (if any) and negotiate a settlement; and
- if a settlement is not made, start proceedings in Court, prepare court documents, interview your witnesses and prepare for trial.
What can you claim?
- General damages (if you suffered injuries)
- This compensates you for pain and suffering as a result of injuries caused to your person ('personal injuries'). We will discuss with you on how much your general damages claim will be based on the medical reports and earlier case laws.
- If your injuries resulted you to suffer physical disabilities which were supported by medical report, you may also claim for the loss of future earning or loss of earning capacity.
- Special damages
- This compensates you for expenses incurred, eg costs of medical fees, transport, repairs to vehicle, hiring another vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired, loss of salary and CPF savings contributions before the trial. You must make sure that you keep the original receipts for these expenses.
When it is a fatal accident, the Civil Law Act [Cap 43] entitles those listed under section 21(2) to claim for bereavement. This includes children, parents of the deceased and so forth. It is fixed at $15,000.00. It is not a claim of $15,000.00 per claimant. This is to be divided among the number of claimants notwithstanding how many there are.
In court's trial
- We will try to settle your claims out-of-court. However, if court’s action needed to be commenced, there are two questions to be decided:
- Liability, ie who is responsible for this accident; and
- Quantum, ie how much is your claim.
- For Liability, the Court can decide that one party is fully responsible for the accident, in which case, he is said to be '100% liable'. The Court can also decide whether you are partly responsible for the accident. For example, if the Court found that you have also contributed 30% to this accident, hence, the quantum of your claims will be 70%. In other words, if your repair bill is S$100, the other party will only pay you S$70.
- For Quantum, once the issue of liability is settled, the Court will now assess your damages.
- Non-Injury Motor Claims (for claims above S$3,000)
- The law allows you 6 years to claim for your property damage, that is, damage to your vehicle.
- Under the Non-Injury Motor Accidents ('NIMA') protocol, non-injury motor claims will most probably proceed for mediation at the Primary Dispute Resolution Centre (commonly called the 'PDRC').
- It is presided by a District Judge in a mediation chamber. At the PDRC, they will consider the GIA’s Singapore Accident reports of the parties involved in the accident and any other relevant evidence in order to determine the liability of the parties.
- Sometimes the Court will direct for parties to appear in person. The District Judge will then give an indication of the liability of the parties, who do have the prerogative of accepting or rejecting the Court’s indication.
- In the event both parties accept the indication, they can proceed to settle or negotiate the quantum.
- Most, if not all insurers, will take away your No Claim Bonus (‘NCB’) if the indication against you exceeds 20%. This is the general policy but of course the prerogative and final decision lies with your motor insurers.
- On the other hand, if you do not accept the indication of the Court, you must prepare to proceed for trial. If this is against our advice, you will have to bear the legal costs yourself if you lose the case.
- Personal injury cases (in Subordinates Courts)
- The time limitation for personal injury cases is much shorter. An injured person has only 3 years from the date of the accident to make his claim. Thereafter his claim will be time-barred.
- The personal injury claims will only proceed for mediation, if parties agreed, to resolve the issue of liability.
- In the event that is settled at PDRC, then parties will proceed to resolve quantum either at a mediation session for quantum called the 'ADCR' where an indication on quantum will be given by the presiding District Judge or if not settled, proceed for an Assessment of Damages hearing ('AD'). The AD is like a trial but the Court will only decide on quantum.
- If you are awarded a sum of $5,000 or more for your General Damages, Public Trustee’s approval has to be sought. You may wish to find out more about Public Trustee’s role in www.ipto.gov.sg.
- The costs you have to pay your lawyer is called 'Solicitor and Client' costs. The costs that the losing party pays to the winning party is called 'Party and Party' costs.
- If you lose your case, normally you will have to pay the other side's Party and Party costs, as well as your own Solicitor and Client costs. If you win your case, the Party and Party costs received by you can be used towards paying your own Solicitor and Client costs which may be more than your Party and Party costs.
- One has to bear in mind that legal costs continue to escalate the further one proceeds. Therefore one must consider the practicalities and the cost consequences of any case.
Our Solicitor and Client costs
As the majority of accident claims would not be disputed or involve contentious court proceedings, we are able to predict and streamline the steps to be taken and standardize our professional fees and charges according to an agreed scale with our clients.
Call us now at 6622 9455 for free legal consultation for your traffic accident claims
We will provide you with free legal consultation pertaining to your potential claims with absolutely no charge.
We know we can help. Let us.
Solicitor-in-charge : Lawrence Lang