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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