Immediately after a car accident, and especially when the accident results in injury to a person or damage to property, there are several important things to do first. this includes exchanging information with the other party involved in the accident.
But what if you meet after an accident and the other party is nowhere to be found?
This article is intended to educate victims of hit-and-run accidents about the roles of at-fault drivers, as well as potential remedies victims can take when in this situation. read on to learn about:
- what is a hit and run?
- What are the duties of the at-fault driver in the event of an accident?
- what are the penalties for hit-and-run drivers in singapore?
- I am the victim of a hit and run accident, what can I do?
- Do I need to gather evidence after a hit and run accident?
- In the event of the death of the victim, can their next of kin file a claim?
- What if the hit-and-run driver is foreign and returns to his home country before being caught?
what is a hit and run?
under section 84 of the road traffic law (rta), the driver who causes a car accident has the main obligation to stop his vehicle immediately. this is even if the collision occurs with a stopped or parked vehicle and the owner of that vehicle is not in sight.
If the driver flees the scene of the accident, this is considered a hit and run.
What are the duties of the at-fault driver in the event of an accident?
- stop the vehicle.
- provide your data to the accident victim(s), including passengers or pedestrians, upon request. If no person is present at the scene of the accident, the driver must take reasonable steps to provide their details so that they can be contacted by the owner of the vehicle or structure damaged in the accident. for example, the driver can leave a note on the windshield of the damaged vehicle.
- report the accident to the police within 24 hours of the occurrence, unless:
- the driver has already exchanged relevant information as stated above; or
- The owner of the damaged vehicle/structure has contacted the at-fault driver who had reasonably provided his details when no one was present at the scene of the accident.
- provide assistance, especially in cases where the accident results in the death or injury of another person. assistance may depend on the extent of the injury and the ability of the driver at the time. if the victim requires immediate medical attention, an ambulance should be called immediately.
- do not move the vehicles involved in the accident, unless it is necessary to remove the people or animals involved in the accident. property may be removed from the vehicle(s) but only under the supervision of a police officer.
- contact the at-fault uninsured driver;
- confirm with the police that the accident has been reported; and
- obtain vehicle registration details of the at-fault driver from the land transportation authority.
- police report
- accident report
- photographs or videos showing the accident and the damage caused
- invoices and repair receipts
- medical report, medical bills and receipts
- report from an independent surveyor, or
- any other document that may substantiate your claims
- registration number of the hit-and-run vehicle;
- color, make and model of hit-and-run vehicle;
- description, e.g. race, sex, etc. of the driver; and
- the direction the hit-and-run vehicle was last seen.
what are the penalties for hit-and-run drivers in singapore?
in singapore, failure to meet the above obligations can make the offending driver liable for a fine of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months if the driver had caused serious injury or death to another person repeat offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to 2 years.
The at-fault driver will also be barred from holding or obtaining a driver’s license for up to 12 months, unless the court has special reasons to order otherwise.
The hit and run penalty will be imposed in addition to any other penalties when the driver is responsible for committing another violation related to the accident.
for example, if it is determined that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol prior to committing the hit-and-run, they may be liable for a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000 and/or up to 1 year in jail, in addition to the sanction for hit and run.
I am the victim of a hit and run accident, what can I do?
In cases where you are the victim of a car accident and the other party is nowhere to be found, there are several things you can do, depending on the extent of the damages or injuries resulting from the accident.
make a police report
If you can, call the police and file a police report immediately.
make sure that the report made contains as much detail as possible about the incident and the damages or injuries caused by the at-fault driver.
This is important because the information recorded in the police report can be presented as a supporting document when filing compensation claims.
make compensation claims
Since a hit and run is essentially a car accident, there are several ways to settle claims to pay hospital bills or repair damage to your vehicle.
It should be noted that these claims are separate from the at-fault driver’s liability for the RTA violation (ie, the penalties listed above).
claims before the automobile insurance bureau (mib)
If you do not know the details of the at-fault driver or if the at-fault driver is found to be uninsured, you may file a claim with the Automobile Insurers Bureau (MIB) if the accident resulted in bodily injury. injury.
however, such a request may only be made after reasonable investigation to determine whether the at-fault driver has not been traced (i.e., his/her records have not been found) or is uninsured.
These queries may include, but are not limited to:
A request must be submitted to MIB in writing using the prescribed form, along with medical reports and other supporting documents/evidence (see below), within 3 years from the date of the accident.
Also, if the at-fault driver is uninsured, mib may require you to obtain a judgment against them.
once your request has been submitted, mib will conduct the necessary investigations to decide on the outcome of the claim. This may include interviewing you to get a full statement about the details of the hit and run, as well as your injuries, or visiting the scene of the accident.
Based on which, mib may file a claim with you, or reduce/deny your claim if investigative evidence shows that you are partially or wholly responsible for the accident (see below on contributory negligence).
claims against your insurer
You can also file a claim against your insurer, but check to see if your insurance policy includes a “deductible” clause.
This may limit the amount the insurer will be willing to pay, as the insurer will only pay the amount of the damage in excess of the amount you will have to bear yourself, as stated in the clause.
Making a claim against your insurer may also result in the loss of your no claims discount (ncd) and may increase the price of your premium.
the ncd is a right given to the insured that if no claim has been made under the insurance policy for a year or more with the current insurer, then the insured will receive a reduced amount of the premium they must pay for the year following renewal.
If the accident also occurs due to driving under the influence of alcohol, it may be more difficult to make insurance claims since driving under the influence of alcohol is a common exclusion in auto insurance policies.
To file a claim against your insurer, report the accident to your insurer within 24 hours, send your damaged vehicle to one of your insurer’s authorized repair shops, and file your claim with that repair shop.
Under the Motor Claims Framework (MCF), insurers are required to help policyholders handle repairs to their vehicles in cases of car accidents.
You can also include claims based on personal injury caused by the accident in the auto insurance policy.
claims against the at-fault driver
If the at-fault driver is identified and arrested, you can also make a claim against them directly by suing them for damages or file a third-party claim through your insurer.
under the mcf, insurers are also required to help policyholders make third-party claims.
When sending your damaged vehicle to an authorized workshop, the workshop will help you contact the third party insurer and file your claim after preparing the repair estimate and, if necessary, arranging for your vehicle inspection by part of an expert
Documents that can be submitted to support your auto claims are:
You can make a claim for general or special damages. general damages compensates you for the pain and suffering as a result of the injuries obtained from the accident. special damages include compensation for the costs of repairing your damaged vehicle or medical costs.
For more information, you can refer to our article on filing a personal injury claim.
It is strongly recommended that you be represented by a licensed attorney if you decide to pursue this particular action. this is especially considering that a valid defense against a traffic accident claim is contributory negligence, where your own negligence contributed to the accident, e.g. because of your reckless crossing.
If found to have been contributory negligent, this can significantly reduce the value of compensation awarded to the victim. an attorney will be able to advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
You can also use the Singapore Law Academy’s online car accident claim simulators to get an estimate of how much liability the other party to the claim may have and the amount of damages you can claim for the accident.
Should I consider going into a private arrangement?
A private settlement in a car accident is a resolution between the parties involved, including compensation for repairs to damaged vehicles, that does not involve insurers.
While you can opt for a private settlement so you don’t lose your ncd, keep in mind that according to the mcf, any accident must be reported to your insurer within 24 hours, even if there is no visible damage.
If you agree to a private settlement without notifying your insurer or submitting a properly signed mutual agreement form/agreement to your insurer, this may be considered a breach of insurance policy which may void your insurance contract or give your insurer a reason to disclaim liability (that is, to say that they will not accept liability for the damages you suffered as a result of the accident).
As a result, you will no longer be covered by the insurance policy and will have to pay your own repair costs, as well as any third party claims against you.
Do I need to collect evidence after a hit and run accident?
definitely. It is recommended that you collect as much information as possible about the scene of the accident, as this may be beneficial in filing your compensation claim.
Take pictures of the accident scene and surrounding areas from different angles, especially the damage to your vehicle or any surrounding structures.
Without the at-fault party at the scene, it is important to consider whether there are any witnesses to the accident who can help identify the at-fault driver or the license plate of the hit-and-run vehicle. a witness report can also be used as a supporting document to make claims.
A witness to a hit and run accident can also immediately call 999 and provide the following information:
If you are having trouble finding a witness to the accident, there are some online platforms that can match victims with witnesses to car accidents.
On these platforms, accident victims and witnesses can submit details of car accidents they have been a part of or witnessed, including location, date and time. Other witnesses to the incident can submit photos or videos they have of the accident to aid in your investigation.
You can also note if there are CCTV cameras located near the scene of the accident, which may have recorded video footage, so you can get a copy for evidence.
In the event of the death of the victim, can their relatives claim?
yes, they can. In cases where death was caused by wrongful act or negligence, family members left behind by the decedent as listed in civil law can claim bereavement damages of up to $15,000.
In awarding damages, the court may also take into account the value of benefits that the decedent’s dependents would likely have received from the decedent had he lived.
What if the hit-and-run driver is a foreigner and flies back to his home country before being caught?
As a general rule, traffic violations, such as reckless or dangerous driving or hit-and-run, are not extraditable offenses. As a result, such offenses generally cannot be the basis for a request to extradite an alien to Singapore to face liability.
however, if the offender flees to malaysia, he can be extradited as reckless driving is considered a seizable offense for which malaysia is willing to extradite offenders to singapore.
the duty to stop in the event of a traffic accident is more than a mere legal duty. this is a civic duty that takes into account our responsibility to each other and with respect to any damage that we did not intend to cause.
Hit and run incidents often occur because the at-fault driver intends to evade responsibility, even if they did not intend to cause harm in the first place.
If you find yourself the victim of a hit and run, there are definite ways to continue to hold yourself accountable, even if the other party actively chooses otherwise. consider consulting a personal injury attorney if you need legal assistance in this regard.