What to do if you have a road traffic accident

The following information is kindly provided by members of the Guardia Civil based in Torrevieja, Costa Blanca, N332. Information on what to do if you are involved in a car accident in Spain: who to call and how to fill in the accident report document for insurance.
The pro­ced­ure in the event of a road traffic ac­ci­dent in Spain will de­pend on the sever­ity of the ac­ci­dent, whether there are in­jur­ies and if it is ne­ces­sary for the po­lice to be in­volved.

What To Do at the Scene of an Ac­ci­dent

·         Stop im­me­di­ately
·         Al­ways put on the re­flect­ive jacket be­fore leav­ing the car (both pas­sen­ger and driver).
In Spain, it is ob­lig­at­ory to put on the jacket. It is ad­vis­able for pas­sen­gers to stay in the car if it is safe to do so and off the road, but in any case, they should not walk on the road without a re­flect­ive jacket, even in the day. People that are on the road have to wear a jacket and it is only really ne­ces­sary for both drivers of the vehicles to be out of their cars. When all the pas­sen­gers are out­side of the vehicles it is of­ten a risk that they can be hit by other drivers. But if they do, then they must wait some­where safe for the po­lice, am­bu­lance, break­down vehicle etc.

·         Switch hazard warning lights on, and place one warning triangle 50 metres in front of the car, and one 50 metres behind
·         If you can, you must move the vehicle after tak­ing some pho­tos. You could be fined for ob­struct­ing the traffic or just for leav­ing the vehicle on the road if not. Un­less the vehicles can’t be moved or there are people with ser­i­ous in­jur­ies, vehicles must be pulled over as far as pos­sible off the road.
·         All drivers in­volved must ex­change de­tails; re­gis­tra­tion num­ber, name, ad­dress and in­sur­ance com­pany
·         Take the li­cence plate num­ber of all the vehicles and wit­nesses in­volved (this could be vi­tal if the case goes to court)
·         Never sign any pa­per­work un­less cer­tain you un­der­stand and agree with it
·         If dam­age is caused and the owner is not there to re­port it (a crash with a parked car or into someone’s prop­erty) it must be re­por­ted

If there have been in­jur­ies or fatal­it­ies call the po­lice and am­bu­lance: Po­lice Guardia Civil 112 or Poli­cia Local 092 from a mo­bile or land­line (calls are free) or use one of the SOS tele­phones, loc­ated on mo­tor­ways and main roads.

In ac­cord­ance with ba­sic first aid rules, you should keep the in­jured per­son warm and do not move a cas­u­alty un­less they are in danger of fur­ther in­jury.  Wit­nesses of an ac­ci­dent are ob­liged to con­tact emer­gency ser­vices and as­sist the ac­ci­dent vic­tims un­til help ar­rives. However, once there is one per­son tak­ing care of the in­jured un­til the emer­gency ser­vices ar­rive, the other people (wit­nesses or not) don’t have to re­main. It is a crim­inal of­fence to see someone in­jured and leave but once someone is at­tend­ing them you are free to go.

If the po­lice at­tend the scene of an ac­ci­dent they will make an ac­ci­dent re­port. They may make charges of driv­ing of­fences.
When the po­lice of­ficers de­term­ine who is li­able or at fault for the crash they could give them a ticket, and both drivers are ob­liged to carry out a breath­alyser test and some­times a drug test. If a driver sus­pects a driver in­volved in the ac­ci­dent has been drink­ing or tak­ing drugs then in­form the po­lice.

If there are no in­jur­ies and only minor dam­age caused there is no need to call the po­lice.

The accident report

In the event of a minor ac­ci­dent with no in­jur­ies the parties in­volved must ex­change de­tails and make a de­clar­a­tion of events. This will form the ac­ci­dent re­port sub­mit­ted to the in­sur­ance com­pan­ies. If the parties in­volved do not agree on a ver­sion of events do not sign any doc­u­ment­a­tion and con­tact the po­lice for as­sist­ance.
In­cluded in the ac­ci­dent re­port are the fol­low­ing de­tails:
·         Date and place of the ac­ci­dent (full ad­dress)
·         Vehicle in­form­a­tion: make, model num­bers and vehicle re­gis­tra­tion num­bers
·         Drivers’ in­form­a­tion: full names, ad­dresses, driv­ing li­cence de­tails (num­ber, cat­egory, date and place of is­sue), Iden­ti­fic­a­tion (NIE, DNI or pass­port num­ber)
·         De­tails of in­sur­ance com­pan­ies and policies of all drivers
·         Wit­nesses: names and ad­dresses
·         In­jur­ies (yes/​no)
·         Vehicle dam­age (yes/​no)
·         An il­lus­tra­tion and ex­plan­a­tion of the ac­ci­dent in­clud­ing de­tails of dam­age caused
·         Cir­cum­stances of the ac­ci­dent, in­clud­ing weather con­di­tions, speeds in­volved

Notifying the Insurer

·         No­tify the in­sur­ance com­pany of the in­cid­ent within seven days
·         If there are in­jur­ies make sure that the in­sur­ance com­pany is in­formed and provide a med­ical cer­ti­fic­ate

If the in­sured feels that the other driver is at fault, they have two months in with which to make a re­port to the Span­ish Au­thor­it­ies, ini­ti­at­ing a crim­inal pro­ced­ure. If the au­thor­it­ies judge that the other driver has not com­mit­ted an of­fence a driver may ini­ti­ate civil pro­ced­ure within one year of the ac­ci­dent.

In cases where phys­ical in­jury is in­volved, the vic­tim must be ex­amined by the court’s doc­tor ( to de­term­ine whether com­pens­a­tion is pay­able by the de­fend­ant.

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