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VEHICLE ACCIDENT CLAIM LAWYERS IN JOHANNESBURG

CLAIMING DAMAGES CAUSED BY A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT

There are many risks involved in driving motor vehicles and each motor vehicle accident has its own unique set of facts and surrounding circumstances. Some of the risks involved in driving a motor vehicle are injuries to drivers, the passengers in the vehicles, pedestrians, as well as the risk of damage to the vehicles and/or belongings inside the vehicles.

This article will focus on damages to vehicles as a result of motor vehicle accidents. In such an instance, claims can be instituted against the following person’s/entities, namely:

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  • The driver of the vehicle who was negligent and caused the accident;
  • The driver’s employer if the accident was caused during the course and scope of the driver’s work duties. The latter is more specifically known as vicarious liability in South African Law;
  • The driver’s private insurance (if the driver was insured).

How is negligence determined?

A person alleging negligence will have to prove that the other driver did not act reasonably in the circumstances, in that the driver should have been able to foresee the damages he/she caused and should have taken reasonable steps to prevent such damages. Grounds for negligence include the following, namely:-

  • The driver failed to keep a proper and/or an adequate and/or any lookout;
  • The driver failed to exercise any and/or proper control over the vehicle driven by him/her;
  • The driver failed to take into consideration the rights of other road users;
  • The driver failed to apply the brakes of the vehicle driven by him/her timeously, adequately, or at all;
  • The driver failed to comply with and adhere to traffic signals and/or the provisions of the Road Traffic Act;
  • The driver failed to avoid a collision when by the exercise of reasonable care, he/she could and should have done so.

With regards to contributory negligence, more than one person can be found to cause a motor vehicle accident. For example, one person may be found 70% at fault and the other only 30% depending on the circumstances of the accident. The magistrate will make a finding on the apportionment of the accident when the matter proceeds to trial, alternatively, the parties themselves can try and negotiate a settlement privately between themselves.

What to do after the accident occurred?

It is important to obtain as much information and evidence as possible on the day of the accident in order to institute a claim against the negligent driver, such as:-

  • Details and contact information of the drivers, passengers, and owners of the motor vehicles involved;
  • Witness statements;
  • Photographs of the damages to the motor vehicles as well as the surrounding area;
  • Description of the motor vehicles involved;
  • Report the accident at the nearest police station;
  • Obtain at least 3 official quotations from different panel beaters regarding the repair cost, alternatively that the motor vehicle is uneconomical to repair;

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Once the aforesaid information is obtained, arrange a consultation with an attorney at Burger Huyser Attorneys as soon as possible to assist you with the process. The time to institute such a claim will prescribe after 3 years from the date of the accident.

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