UAE legal Q&A: What are my rights after an accident?

Lawyer Yousef Al Bahar is asked about designated areas at concerts for Muslims who do not wish to sit next to people drinking alcohol.

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Q: A car hit the back of my car. Mine was barely damaged but I could not stop right away because it was not safe to do so. When I did stop on the side of the road, the other vehicle was nowhere in sight and I was not able to get its licence plate. The next day, I got a call from the police saying that a third party had witnessed the accident and contacted them. What are my legal rights?

A: If the incident did not result in any damage to the road or public utilities, third parties can report the incident to police as they have no vested interest in the situation. You, as driver, are not in breach as long as the other party involved in the incident did not call police to file a report. If the other party does lodge a complaint with police and knew your plate number, the police will call you and ask that you visit a police station to give your side of the incident. Only if you were found to have caused the accident and then fled the scene would there be potential legal proceedings against you. Traffic prosecutors would determine this and, if found guilty, a traffic court would issue a fine. You could also call police and tell them that you stopped but could not find the other party. They may at this point contact the other party and prepare an accident report.

Q: I love listening to music and going to concerts. But I have noticed that alcoholic beverages are readily available at concerts. As I am Muslim, I feel uncomfortable sitting next to people drinking alcohol. Doesn't local law designate specific areas for people drinking alcohol, just like there are smoking areas? Can I file a complaint with event organisers and ask to change my seat?

A: If you are Muslim then you should be a role model to other Muslims and not attend places serving alcohol. However, if you have to be present in such places, avoid as much as possible people who are drinking alcohol. Smoking is different from drinking. While the former causes an odour that some people may not tolerate and it has adverse effects even on non-smokers, the latter's effect is limited to the drinker.

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