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 after a car crash…
The procedure in the event of a road traffic accident (accidente de trafico) 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
- Switch on warning lights
- Put on reflective vest and ensure that any passengers do the same
- Exit vehicle and place warning triangles at a distance of 50 metres from the front and rear of the vehicle. On one-way roads, or roads with three lanes, placing one triangle at a distance of 50 metres from the rear of the vehicle is sufficient
- Ensure that passengers who exit the vehicle wear a reflective vest and stand behind safety barriers or on the pavement
- Call for assistance using an emergency call box, or dial 112 to call emergency services from a mobile phone or landline
For insurance purposes, the following precautions are also advisable:
- Do not move the vehicles until the police arrive. If they are blocking the traffic then try to mark the scene and, if possible, take photographs
- All drivers involved must exchange details; registration number, name, address and insurance company. If any of the parties involved refuse to do so, take any details that could serve to identify them
- Take the license plate number of all the vehicles and witnesses involved (this could be vital if the case goes to court)
- Paperwork that cannot be understood should not be signed.
- Do not admit responsibility for the crash to the other driver, as this may represent a legal admission of responsibility
- 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 to the local police station so that they can make contact
If there have been injuries or fatalities call for 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, keep the injured person warm and do not move a casualty unless they are in danger of further injury. It is a legal requirement in Spain to carry a first aid kit in the car. Witnesses of an accident are obliged to contact emergency services and assist the accident victims until help arrives.
If the police attend the scene of an accident they will make an accident report. They may make charges of driving offences. If a driver suspects a driver involved in the accident has been drinking or taking drugs then inform the police.
Note: The legal limit for drink driving (DUI/DWI) in Spain is 0.5g/l of alcohol in the blood, or 0.3g/l of alcohol in the blood if the driver has held a licence for less than two years.
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 (médico forense) to determine whether compensation is payable by the defendant.
Note: A driver wishing to bring legal action is advised to consult a lawyer.