What to Do If In a Car Accident in Spain

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Posted and filed under Motoring in Spain, Newsletters.

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 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 the 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 112or 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.  (Delito de Omision del Deber de Socorro). 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.

Note: The legal limit for drink driving (DUI/DWI) in Spain is 0.25g/l and 0.15g/l for a driver who has held a licence less than two years and 0.15g/l for lorry and bus drivers.  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.

If you feel that you need a Spanish lawyer please contact us. This article has been approved by a member of the N332 Traffic officers (www.n332.es)

31 Comments

  • Lizim

    Hi,
    Can you advise please what offence/s if any are committed by an individual who fails to update a change of vehicle ownership and knowingly insures it using details of a deceased individual in order to driving the vehicle for a number of years with cheaper insurance. In addition is the previous owner committing an offence if they are aware of the situation. The individual has been a Spanish foreign resident for several years, with a uk driving licence. Would like to understand what offences if any exist (civil or criminal law).

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Lizim,

      This would be a matter for the Guarda Civil, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Shirley Adams

    We had a car accident on the motorway in 2018. We were on hard shoulder to close the bonnet as we had noticed when driving that it wasn’t properly fastened. A car came down hard shoulder at speed and hit us. Won’t go into detail but it was decided against us. As far as we know of the 3 passengers in the other car only one was injured and had broken rib. We thought it was all finished but now penal proceedings are being taken against my husband the driver. The insurers said this happens every day and don’t worry. When the representative from the court called him early this week she just said he had to sign a declaration by video conference for the judge of the court near the axccident to see. Needless to say my husband is very worried with regards to how much a potential fine could be and if he will have his driving licence taken off him and if so for how long.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Shirley,

      We are sorry to hear of your husbands accident.

      Without knowing the details of the case, it is hard to comment. Your husbands insurer will have a Solicitor in place dealing with the claim and court case, it would be best to speak to them and explain your concerns and if your husband will loose his licence ect. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Stella Howe

    My car in Spain was involved in an accident not my fault I am now left without a car it’s an old car but in excellent condition as they have wrote it off can they do this

    • Jane

      Hi Stella

      The insurance will assess the cost of repairs versus the value of the car to make this decision.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • John Beech

    My car was hit outside our house and my vehicle was towed off for repair if possible,How long before I should know whether its a write off or repairable as its now been almost 2 weeks with no update despite them accepting liability.Also am I obliged for a rental car from their insurance while my vehicle is unusable.Thanks.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear John, We are so sorry to hear that. Part of the problem may have been that most employees would have been on annual leave in August, so it would lead almost certainly to a delay. You can only really keep asking. The obligation for a rental car from their insurance I think is very unlikely that this would be covered. However if you have to hire one, and can produce the invoice this may be able to be claimed eventually. If you have no joy in a week or so, I suggest that you revert to us and we could do a legal letter to follow up with their insurance. Kind regards Amanda

  • Andy M

    Good afternoon,

    Is it true that the party going in reverse is always at fault in an accident in Spain? I was leaving a parking spot on a street, backing out. The other party, coming forward, was leaving a parking garage onto the same street. They hit me as I was reversing out. If possible I would love to be pointed to some documentation stating this.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Andy, Sorry for the delay, but we studied this properly. Our lawyer said:- As a general rule, the vehicle that is reversing that hits a vehicle coming from behind is responsible for this accident, except in very few cases (according to the jurisprudence):

      the vehicle behind going too fast
      the vehicle behind skips over a traffic sign…

      This is stated in the General Traffic Regulations:

      “Artículo 81. Ejecución de la maniobra.

      1. La maniobra de marcha hacia atrás deberá efectuarse lentamente, después de haberlo advertido con las señales preceptivas y de haberse cerciorado, incluso apeándose o siguiendo las indicaciones de otra persona, si fuera necesario, de que, por las circunstancias de visibilidad, espacio y tiempo necesarios para efectuarla, no va a constituir peligro para los demás usuarios de la vía (artículo 31.2 del texto articulado).

      2. El conductor de un vehículo que pretenda dar marcha hacia atrás deberá advertir su propósito en la forma prevista en el artículo 109.

      3. Igualmente, deberá efectuar la maniobra con la máxima precaución y detendrá el vehículo con toda rapidez si oyera avisos indicadores o se apercibiera de la proximidad de otro vehículo o de una persona o animal, o tan pronto lo exija la seguridad, desistiendo de la maniobra si fuera preciso.” (Number 3 is the important part)

      So, not in all cases the reversing vehicle has the fault. we hope this helps. If you need any assistance with the insurance company or the other party please let us know. And please,we would really appreciate a review on facebook “Spanish Solutions Legal and Tax” if it does! :-) Kind regards Amanda

  • Artyom M

    Hello,

    Me and my girlfriend were involved in a 3-car accident. CAR C (1 person) —> CAR B (2 people) —> CAR A(3 people).

    It was the first rain of the season so the roads were extra slippery with the dust in the air washing down as well due to rain.
    Me and my Girlfriend got on the highway and were headed on the right most lane.

    In front of us suddenly CAR A slowed down and stopped due to a traffic jam.
    CAR B – My girlfriend who was driving slowed down as well and stopped right behind CAR A.
    Suddenly we were hit by CAR C from behind and thrown into CAR A.

    luckily no one was seriously injured and all cars managed to drive away from this accident.

    Police came 20 mins later took statements only from the drivers and released everyone after a medical checkup from the ambulance team.

    In the official police report it states that us CAR B hit CAR A and then subsequently were hit by CAR C which threw us in to CAR B again.

    From inquiries with the police we learned that it is due to the driver of CAR A saying he felt 2 hits on his car.
    And that unless the police officer who wrote this report amends it, it is almost impossible to change this.

    I must add that the report mentions 6 people in the accident – however when looking at the details of CAR B (our car) it mentions that she was the only occupant of the car.

    Is there anything we can do since it is our word against the word of the driver in the first car and as far as we were told, the police officer made his decision based on the first car’s statement only.

    Thank you in advance
    Artyom

    • Amanda Thomas

      Good afternoon. A police report is just another evidence. It is very important but not definitive. So you can continue to say it is not correct. But a police report cannot be changed. Kind regards Amanda

  • Car wreckers Porirua

    What a great source of knowledge upon what to do if in the car accident in the Spain . I am really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. I love this article, thanks for producing such great contents. I love your posts always. Thanks for sharing and look for more in future!!I never thought will get to visit this Cashforcarss.co.nz oh, has some nice content for everyone.

    • Jane

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Jane

  • Humphrey

    We were hit by a vehicle while cycling in spain and received minor injuries. We have paid for the police report a month ago but have yet to receive this. We have not yet contacted their insurance company. Any advice. Humphrey

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Humphrey, I am sorry to here this. We are not sure what you would like to do? Claim against the police to receive the report? Or claim against the insurer? If you let us know by email, where you are also, and copy documents if you would like to engage us as solicitors to represent you, we can assist I am sure. Kind regards, Amanda

  • Daniel

    I hit a pedestrian who was drunk and ran into the road out of nowhere. Luckily for me it was right outside a police station. By the time I was outside of the car they had called an ambulance and asked me to move aside. I was breathalysed, license checked, details taken and photos of my car were done by the police. I asked what to do after and one officer told me to contact my insurer whilst the other said there is no need as I was not at fault (I took his badge number as he witnessed the entire thing).

    I was not given any documentation after the incident which I found strange and was literally told to be on my way. I know I am not at fault but as I am worried about the person and the situation what should be the next steps I take.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Daniel, Perhaps to ease your mind, go back to the police station and ask the situation as if you need to inform your insurer then you need the police report. With kind regards Amanda

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Daniel,

      We understand your concern and worry.

      We would definitely recommend logging an “information only” claim with your insurer, in case they receive any claim from the third party. This way, your insurer will have your version of events and be able to dispute the claim.

      The Police will have no doubt taken details of witnesses ect to confirm you are not at fault for the incident. You may never hear from the Police, as they are satisfied you are not at fault.

      We hope this helps
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Diane Rosin

    I am a US citizen. My husband is an Italian citizen (EU) but is a US resident, he has a green card.
    He was hiking the Camino de Santiago and was walking on the sidewalk in Santiago de Compostela when he was struck by a car. He is severely injured and is in the ICU at the hospital in Santiago. He faces months of recovery and rehab. His insurance is US Medicare Part A & B. 3 drivers/cars were involved. A police report was filed.
    How do we proceed to be compensated for these damages?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Diane, I am very sorry to hear that, you need to contact a lawyer in Santiago de Compostela (the other end of Spain from us, I am afraid), it needs to be someone local. Make sure you keep all paperwork, receipts, photos, everything. I wish him a good recovery. Kind regards,

  • Ms Jenny Newman

    I was reversing out of a parking spot onto a main road. It is a notorious black spot for cars being hit ( cars are allowed to pull in forwards and park both sides of this road.) I started to reverse very slowly in order to see if it was clear. A car came past me quite fast but had to cross the middle line slightly to get past me. He did not stop and there was no damage to my car, should I report it as a near miss? I’m a UK citizen.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Jenny, I am glad you were okay. No there is no need to report this. With kind regards

  • Les Kawoh

    I parked my car and went shopping when I returned the back bumper had been damaged and nobody saw anything what can I do as i am in Spain and can’t speak spanish

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Les, I am sorry to hear that. You need to engage a translator and do a police report for your insurance. With kind regards

  • David Watt

    I am being accused of hitting a car in a private car park. It had nothing to do with me.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear David, Sorry to hear that. Please if our lawyers can help represent you let us know, With kind regards.

  • Brigit

    Hi,

    I had an accident at a roundabout, and the lady who hit my car accepted her fault and signed the papers accordingly. However, she later changed her mind. My insurance company took it to the Arbitration and the Spanish Insurance Authorities. They somehow concluded that it was my fault.

    My insurance company says that both companies are obliged to accept this arbitration under Spanish law, and unfortunately, we cannot appeal.

    Is that true? Do I have to accept my fault even though she signed the papers?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Brigit, That’s terrible but I am sorry but if it went formally to an arbitration process then this resolution stands. With kind regards,

  • Dave Huyton

    Had a crash last week in Spain. I was driving in slow lane when a car crashed into my trailer from behind and then hit the rear of my car.
    Police were called and attended. They provided a report and agreed it was clearly 3rd party’s fault.
    I’ve notified my insurer and given them copy of the report. Report has reg no of 3rd party vehicle but not his name or insurance details. When I contacted my broker I was told that it was ok as long as report had reg. no. My insurer is now saying they need 3rd party insurance details. Police confirmed 3rd party was insured. What do I do?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Good morning Dave, please contact me and we can study the case for a small provision of funds and advise, With kind regards Amanda

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