|A motor accident is one of the most dreadful things to happen to a road user, although they happen quite often. Most road users are quite well aware of the general rules and safety measures, but with the existence of bad roads, overspeeding, drunk driving, distractions to driver, avoiding safety gears like seat belts and helmets, non-adherence to lane driving and overtaking in a wrong manner amongst others has rather lead to a high rate of accidents in Nigeria.|
Regrettably, motorists and pedestrians alike do not want to be involved in an accident. However, being prepared and knowing what to do if one is involved in an accident can save lives and reduce injuries as well as civil and criminal liabilities.
The general position of the law, as provided by S.24 of the Criminal Code, states that;
“Subject to the express provisions of this code relating to negligent acts and omissions, a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission which occurs independently of the exercise of the will of the accused person.”
Therefore, for an event to qualify as an accident under S.24 of the Criminal Code, it must be a surprise to the ordinary man of prudence, which is a surprise to all sober and reasonable people. In AMAREMOR V. STATE (2014) 16JMLR 136 Page 339 Para.F-G “For an event to qualify as an accident, such event must be the result of an unwilled act or event which occurred without the fault of the person alleged to have caused it or an event totally unexpected in the ordinary course of events.”
Hence, for an accused person to escape the culpability of being charged with the criminal liability of an accident, the act leading to the accident must have been done accidentally or independently of the exercise of the will of the accused person.
Consequently, as a motorist, what to do immediately in the event of an accident includes:
1. Don’t leave the accident site immediately: The law mandates that anyone who has been involved in a car accident should stop the vehicle immediately till the law enforcement agent arrive at the scene whether or not the accident resulted in injury, death, or property damage except in an exceptional situation where there is the threat of more damage/injury.
2. Get medical assistance to the injured as soon as possible to prevent further liability.
3. Call to inform the police of the accident, if the police don’t show up at the scene of the accident and you have to leave because no one got seriously hurt or the involved vehicles are blocking traffic, go to the nearest police station and file a report as soon as possible after the accident.
Correspondingly, as a pedestrian, what to do immediately in the event of an accident includes:
1. Don’t give into fear or rage, stay calm, and don’t take laws into your hands.
2. Don’t leave the scene of the accident unless you are badly injured and have to be rushed to the hospital. Get all the motorist’s basic information; driver’s license, insurance information, and license plate number. However, if it’s a hit-and-run motorist, try to snap a photo of the car’s license plate or at least aim to make a mental note of its make and color.
3. Call to inform the police of the accident or go to the nearest police station and file a report as soon as possible after the accident if you are not seriously hurt.
Similarly, inform your lawyer to help ensure that you are not being taken advantage of when it comes to sorting out damages or insurance claims.
1. Get medical assistance/ clearance even if there are no physical cuts or injuries to prevent internal injuries.
Making the road safe for everyone starts with you (motorists and pedestrians alike). Hence, think, be circumspect while walking, and drive carefully.
A second is all it takes.
|HRF provided free legal representation for indigent inmate, Susan Musa. Though the 53-year-old mother was facing a 6 months sentence, she was released on October 19, 2022, after being incarcerated for 10 days .|
L & R: Released Inmate, Susan Musa; HRF – Legal Associate, B.C. Obilor with Susan after her release from the Chief Magistrate Court, Akure, Ondo State.
|HRF provided free legal representation for indigent inmate, Martins Aliu. He was released on October 5, 2022 due to want of diligent prosecution after being incarcerated for 16 months.|
L-R: Released Inmate, Martins Aliu; HRF – Legal Associate, B.C. Obilor. Martins attended counseling and mobilized with transport fare for his return to his hometown in Ogbese, Ondo State.