1. When an accident happens, what should a driver do or not to do? In case the driver is being sued by the victims, should the driver appoint a lawyer for defence before informing the insurance company?
The driver should immediately report the accident to the Police so that the traffic accident can be officially recorded. The official record might be needed as evidence in any subsequent insurance claims and legal proceedings. To avoid the coverage being affected, the driver should generally avoid settling or agreeing to any matter on his/her own with any of the other parties involved without the prior consent of the insurer, in particular where there are injuries to any third party.
As soon as practicable after the accident, the driver should notify the car owner (if he or she is not the car owner) and the insurer. The notification to the insurer (which is generally required to be made in writing) should be made within the time specified at the relevant motor insurance policy to avoid any potential breach of policy condition. The driver should also keep the insurer informed of the case progress (e.g. the date of taking police statement, the laying of information or charge sheet, the date of court hearing etc.) and seek the insurer’s directions on how to proceed with the matter. For any prosecution against the car owner or the driver, the insurer may, in some cases, take over the defence of the proceedings and instruct its own legal adviser in assessing the merits of defence.