No one would want to be involved in any car accident, but with the existence of bad roads, drunk-driving and negligence of road laws as well as speeding in Nigeria, the probability of an accident happening at one point in time is rather high. Yes, It is scary and unimaginable, but then, it is also very important that pedestrians and motorists to know how to react if it happens to them.
5 things to do when you are a victim of a road accident in Nigeria.
Stay calm, do not lose your temper
The first reaction of most Nigerians when they are involved in an accident, no matter how minimal, is that they get riled up and lose their temper. No doubt, getting in an accident unleashes a lot of unhealthy emotions, including fear and anger; however, you need to stay calm. Screaming at the other driver, laying blame or yelling is never a good idea. Again, don’t give in to fear or rage and tell people that the accident was your fault as you would be admitting liability, which could expose you to a lawsuit.
Do not leave the scene of the accident
Unless you are badly injured and have to be rushed to the hospital, ensure you remain at the scene of the accident, and if you are a pedestrian, do not let the driver leave. Get all the motorists basic information, as you would in the event of an auto collision: Driver’s license, insurance information, license plate number. Then whip out your phone and snap pictures of everything else. If it’s a hit and run, try to snap a photo of the car’s license plate, or at least aim to make a mental note of its make and colour. For the offender (the person whose vehicle has caused the accident), leaving the scene of an accident can be a misdemeanour offence and can rise to a felony if people are injured.
Call the Police and file a report
No matter how minimal the impact of the accident, ensure you alert the police and wait for them to come and view the scene of the accident. Do not give into any “gentleman’s agreement” to not get the police involved, as you cannot predict what may evolve later on as a result of the accident. Also, ensure you fill a police accident report afterwards. Without police documentation, you basically have no proof the accident ever happened and you cannot get help from any insurance company.
Involve a Lawyer if you have to
Depending on the gravity of the accident, the best thing to do is to hire a lawyer immediately. Many Nigerians make the mistake of underestimating the legal involvement associated with an accident. You will need some good quality legal help to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of when it comes to sorting out damages. Again, you may have difficulties with your insurance company following the accident and it will take a skilled professional to negotiate these issues to put the most money in your pocket as possible.
Go to a hospital and get a medical clearance
Even if you do not have any cuts or injuries, you need to go to the hospital for a check-up. That way you are certain there are no internal injuries and the rush of adrenalin, as well as the force of the impact, has not affected you in any way. Failing to get yourself checked immediately could cause a lot of problems for your health later on, especially if there was something that was not detected.