Good dayI was involved in a light bumper...

Asked by Andrea on 27-06-2023 14:20:35
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng

Good day

I was involved in a light bumper bash accident on the freeway. I was on the slipway, entering the highway when a man can speeding from behind me in order to push me out. In the process he ripped his own bumper off against the side of my car. We waited for a police officer at the scene to take statements. They guy kept intimidating and swearing at me and wanted to hit me (but he didn't). I do not have insurance and also do not see why I should pay for his damage as he was the one wanting to push me out and did the damage to his own car. He now wants a copy of my ID and drivers lisence and says he is laying charges of intentional and malicious damage to property, reclous driving and failing to stop at the accident. I cannot see how he can possibly have a case against me as it was an accident (which he caused) and I did give a statement at the scene. What should I do now? 

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 27-06-2023 15:57:25

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

If he was the person approaching you from behind, then the law presumes that he is at fault. That is the default position, and if he wants to hold you liable for his damages, he will need to prove that you acted so unreasonably that you should be held liable. 

But based on what you've explained, he is at fault and not only must he pay to fix his own car's damages, but he should also be paying to fix your car's damages. You have a claim against him for your repairs, whether you have insurance or not. 

I think that you must tell him that you will be the one who opens a criminal case against him for his conduct on the road, and I think that you must explain to him that as he approached you from behind, he is at fault for any accident. 

He is trying to threaten you with rubbish criminal charges in order to either make you walk away in fear, or to make you "admit" that you are at fault, or to make you offer to pay him something towards his damages. You can't give in to his demands. You must deny that you are liable for anything, and you must repeat over and over that he is at fault and that you will hold him liable.

"The rule of thumb for the average driver is that the driver of the car that rear ends another is always at fault. Meaning that 100% of the blame would then be attributed to the driver who drove into the back of another vehicle. However it must be borne in mind that there are exceptions to this rule."

If you gave a statement at the scene, then you've done everything that you need to do. 

If the SAPS come back to you to ask you further questions about your statement, then you must explain what happened again to them. If the SAPS want to talk to you about HIS statement, then you can talk to them. You must just explain all of the faults in his statement so that the SAPS understand exactly what happened.

Since you do not have insurance, you can either (1) repair your car yourself, or (2) you can claim against him for your damages. He should refer you to his insurance company and you can file your damages claim and repair invoice with his insurance company who should then make you a settlement offer. 

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