It happens quickly and unpredictably: the car accident. Keeping your cool in a situation like this is difficult. What must injured parties do who have been involved in a car accident?? Must the police be informed?? And what does it look like if an accident happens abroad??
These and other questions are answered by attorney solen izmirli and attorney dr. Claudia von seck LL.M. In the expert guide.
Expert authors of this topic
How to behave correctly as an injured party in a car accident
If you are involved in an accident or cause an accident yourself, it is important to keep a cool head and behave as correctly as possible from a legal point of view. If you behave correctly after an accident, the chances are better that the accident will be settled. Accident settlement – whether it’s an accident with property damage only or an accident with (your own) personal injuries – should happen as smoothly as possible.
A traffic accident is not only a car accident, but also an accident with a bicycle, between bicyclists or an accident with a pedestrian or wild (wild accident).
But when are you involved in an accident?? This is regulated by § 34 stvo:
"involved in a traffic accident" is any person whose behavior, under the circumstances, may have contributed to the accident."
this means that not only the person who caused the accident is involved in the accident: any person whose behavior may have had an influence on the accident in any way is involved in the accident. So is z. B. A pedestrian who carelessly crosses the street and forces a motorist into an evasive maneuver that leads to a car accident, also accident victim.
If you are "involved in an accident", this leads to some rights and obligations. The essential duties of all parties involved in an accident are:
- Remain at the scene of the accident until the emergency services or the. The exchange of personal was possible.
- In the event of personal injury: obligation to provide first aid.
Tips on how to behave at the scene of an accident
Is one z. B. As a driver directly involved in a car accident, you should also follow the rules/tips at the scene of the accident:
- Keep calm and stop
- Self-protection (warning vest, etc.).)
- Secure the accident site (warning triangle, warning vest, etc.).)
- Providing first aid when people are injured
- Call emergency services if injured or. Ask passers-by/witnesses to do so
- Call the police if the damage is not minor
- Personal details of witnesses (z. B. Passers-by) and people involved in the accident, additionally record license plate numbers of all drivers involved in the accident
- Do not make any statements about the course of the accident – not even to those involved in the accident
- Do not admit guilt
- Photograph if possible:
- Damage to all vehicles
- License plate
- Accident scene, if possible with fixed objects (lane strip, light pole, traffic light, curb)
- Splinter fields, skid marks
- vehicle documents, identity cards
What is the correct course of action after the accident??
- If no doctor was at the scene of the accident and/or you have new complaints: go to the doctor promptly, make a note of your complaints and take photos of your injuries.
- Inform your vehicle insurance company about the accident within one week at the latest – in the case of serious injuries to persons involved in the accident/deaths within 48 hours.
- Contact a specialist lawyer for traffic law as soon as possible, so that he or she can quickly take care of the legal aspects of the accident: settlement of damages, regulatory offences, if necessary. criminal proceedings.
- Ignore "free" accident assistance resp. Free assistance with accident settlement, v. A., if you have to give up your claims for this.
- Do not enter into any agreements with opposing insurance companies until you have obtained legal advice.
- Inform immediately if necessary. The lessor (owner)!) of a leased vehicle. Failure to do so may have adverse contractual consequences.
- If the damage to your car is higher than 750 euros, the damage should be evaluated by an expert.
Effectively avoid hit and run
An accident can also occur if no other person(s) is (are) on the scene or. Are, one z. B. If you hit another car while parking, or if you hit a parked vehicle. Then it is important not to simply leave the scene of the accident: anyone who leaves the scene of the accident in this situation may be liable to prosecution for hit and run (§ 142 stgb, unauthorized removal from the scene of an accident).
If you could not notice the accident (no vibrations, no noise, etc.), you should contact a lawyer.), the offence of hit-and-run may possibly not be fulfilled.
Could or. If you have noticed an accident, you must wait at least a reasonable time at the scene of the accident to see if z.B. The driver of the other vehicle appears. Leaving a note on the other vehicle with your own data is not sufficient from a legal point of view! At best, contact the police to report the accident, or drive directly to the nearest police station.
Accident with personal injury: what to do now
An "accident involving personal injury" is defined as an accident in which a person suffers physical injury or damage to health or dies as a result of a traffic accident.
Even if a person does not suffer any physical injuries as a result of an accident, for example, but suffers a shock, this is legally regarded as "damage to health". An accident that leads to shock or other mental illness (post-traumatic stress disorder, depression) in someone involved in the accident is therefore also an accident with personal injury.
In the event of an accident resulting in death, shock to relatives of the deceased party involved in the accident can also lead to shock damage and thus to a claim for pain and suffering compensation – even if the relatives were not involved in the accident! However, this shock damage must be based on the fact that the person witnessed the accident or that the news of death led to the shock (clearly beyond the "normal measure" of a grief!) has led.
But what exactly are the consequences of a personal injury accident?? What distinguishes this accident from an accident with property damage only?? If there is a (car) accident with personal injury, this has a direct effect on the tips and rules for behavior at the scene of the accident itself:
- Call the emergency/rescue service even if you are injured yourself or ask uninjured persons/witnesses to do so. Thus, it is possible that your state of health resp. The other person involved in the accident is professionally assessed and recorded.
- Provide first aid if other persons are injured! If you do not do this, even though you can do so without endangering yourself, this may have legal consequences: you may be liable to prosecution for failure to render assistance under § 323c of the German Criminal Code (stgb).
It is important to know here: if you make mistakes during first aid, you usually do not have to fear any (criminal) legal consequences, e.g. B. If you break ribs while performing cardiac massage. In addition, personal injuries caused by a car accident may also have considerable legal consequences.
- On the one hand, an accident resulting in personal injury can lead to criminal proceedings z. B. the duration of the proceedings initiated for (negligent) bodily injury (§ 229 of the German penal code) or negligent homicide (§ 222 of the German penal code). If this is the case, a specialist lawyer for traffic law should be called in very promptly, who can ensure that the proceedings are concluded if necessary. or penalties are kept to a minimum.
- Furthermore, in addition to claims for damages due to property damage, claims for pain and suffering can be asserted as compensation for so-called "injuries". "immaterial damages" are added (§ 253 BGB). These requirements can be met in the case of minor injuries, such as. B. A minor whiplash injury (cervical spine syndrome) is low. In the case of severe physical injuries (loss of a limb, loss of sight, disability to walk, etc.), the compensation.) and severe psychological consequences and long-term consequences (persistent anxiety, depression, etc.).), however, these claims can also be very high. The compensation for pain and suffering is also paid by the person who caused the accident or. your liability insurance.
When it comes to determining the amount of a claim for pain and suffering, the circumstances of the individual case – i.e. the specific injuries and their consequences – are decisive.
As a guideline for the calculation of pain and suffering claims, so-called "contributory negligence" is often used. The compensation is based on tables of compensation for pain and suffering that have evolved over many years from the case law on certain injuries as consequences of accidents. However, these tables are NOT binding and are only a guideline for certain injuries. The concrete extent of the injury must be considered individually in each case and, if necessary. Be professionally assessed.
In detail are u. A. The following criteria are decisive for the extent of pain and suffering claims:
- Nature of the injury(ies)
- Duration and intensity of the injury(ies) and of the (inpatient) treatment
- Contributory negligence of the injured person
- Duration of the work or. Disability
In addition to the type and severity of the injuries, there is another important factor that influences the amount of a claim for pain and suffering compensation (as well as a claim for damages in general): the contributory negligence of the injured person in the accident. If the injured person is partly to blame for the accident – this is usually determined in the court proceedings on the basis of a so-called "accident report" – the injured person is liable for the accident. If the extent of fault is determined, this reduces the claims for damages and also the claims for compensation for pain and suffering proportionately.
Here is an example: in the course of a court case, it is determined that the pedestrian injured in a car accident is 30 % partly to blame. His claim for damages and pain and suffering "without contributory negligence" would amount to 1000 euro without contributory negligence. If one now takes into account his contributory negligence i. H. V. 30 %, your own claim for damages and pain and suffering is reduced to 700 euro.
The amount of pain and suffering claims after an accident with personal injury is often the subject of tough and bitter disputes, especially in the case of serious injuries that affect the victims for months and years. In addition, the calculation of pain and suffering compensation combined with claims for damages resulting from injuries (medical expenses, physiotherapy, medication, care costs, loss of earnings, reduction in earning capacity, etc.) can be very difficult.), can actually be very costly and complicated.
Especially after a car accident or. accident with personal injury, it makes sense to hire a lawyer or. to hire a specialist lawyer for traffic law. With the support of such an expert or. It is possible for such an expert to effectively assert one’s own claims to the full extent out of court or in court. to enforce claims in court or to fend off unjustified claims by the other party to the accident.