If you’ve been in a car accident, then you might need to get hold of a copy of the accident report from that incident. This can be a little complicated, but we’re here to help you. If you need an accident report copy, then here’s how to go about it.
What’s an Accident Report?
We’ll start with the basics. An accident report, or incident report, is filed by the police whenever a car accident occurs. Legally, you’re required to report any kind of car accident to police, and then provide police with all the information they need in order to fill out an accident report form. This is one of the most important things that you must do after a car accident.
Why Would I Need a Copy of an Accident Report?
There are a few reasons why you might want a copy of an accident report. Maybe you just wish to have one for your own records. However, if you wish to make an insurance claim, or would like to make a claim to the Road Accident Fund, then you will probably need a copy of your accident report. You may even want to have one when applying for a new insurance policy with a new company to prove that an accident wasn’t your fault, and therefore to keep insurance premiums low.
In most cases you’ll be given a copy of your accident report by police, but if you need further copies (official copies rather than just photocopies) you’ll need to apply for them yourself.
Where Are Accident Reports Kept?
Part of the problem in getting a copy of your report is that accident reports can be kept in any of three different places, depending on what happened during your accident. For car crashes that resulted in a criminal case being opened, accident reports are kept by SAPS (South African Police Services). For car accidents that did not result in a criminal case being opened, an accident report will be kept by local authorities (if the accident occurred in a town or city), or by the Department of Transport and Public Works (if the accident occurred elsewhere, such as on the highway between two towns).
How Do I Get a Copy of My Accident Report from SAPS?
If you need a copy of an accident report where a criminal case was opened then you will need to contact the police station in the area in which the accident took place. Procedures will differ between stations, and you will need to find the specific station where your accident report was filed. This can take some time, and you’ll need to surf the internet to find contact information for stations (and probably need to call more than one station unless you remember the specific station name).
How Do I Get a Copy of My Accident Report from Local Authorities?
If your accident report is being kept by local authorities you will need to call that authority and ask what their specific procedures are. You can find contact details for all South African municipalities here on the SALGA (South African Local Government Association) website.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Accident Report from the Department of Transport?
Finally, if your accident report is located with the Department of Transport and Public Works you’ll need to send an email to the department in the municipality in which the accident occurred. Again, you will find contact information at the SALGA website listed above. Your email (or mail if you prefer), will need to include the following:
A letter requesting a copy of your accident report with your signature or an authorisation letter (with the signature of the person named in the accident report if it’s not you), or a power of attorney (from the person named in the accident report if it’s not you);
A copy of the ID of the person named in the accident report;
If your name is not contained in the accident report at all you will need an affidavit from your local police station;
You will also need to pay a small fee which depends on the municipality but is around R170.
Once the Department of Transport has all the relevant paperwork a copy of the accident report can be emailed or faxed to you.
Copies of Your Accident Report in Summary
As you can see, getting a copy of an accident report isn’t particularly easy, and can be very time consuming. However, it is possible, and will not cost you too much money. Prevention is better than cure though, so if you happen to be in an accident it’s a good idea to make copies of your accident report for later use and so avoid having to apply for another copy!
Main Subject: accident report
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