Road traffic accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. We probably all know someone who has been in a car accident or perhaps we ourselves have been unfortunate to be involved in one.
Serious road accidents have significantly reduced in Spain over the last 30 years. This is a result of a number of factors. Improved motorways and interurban roads. More social awareness about the risks of drink driving and speeding. New road traffic laws introduced reducing speed limits between towns and cities and also reducing of speed limits in city centres. More cameras and road checks by the Police and Guardia Civil.
The main causes of accidents are excess speed, drink driving, and distractions such as using a mobile phone whilst driving.
By 2020 Spain had reduced its road fatalities to less than 3 per 100,000 habitants. This is better than Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and many other European neighbours.
What to do after a car accident in Spain?
Some useful information on what to do if you are involved in an accident.
- Stop the car.
- Switch on your hazard lights
- Put on the reflective jacket you should have within reach inside your car
- If you are still carrying the red triangles then place one 50 metres behind your car (only if it is safe to do so). If you are on a two-way road then place the other red triangle 50m in front of your car.
- If you are carrying the V16 emergency light then place it on top of your vehicle and switch it on. If you have one of these then you do not have to worry about the warning triangles mentioned above.
- If there are any injuries call the emergency services.
- Exchange insurance information with the other vehicle (s). If the other person refuses to do so then make a note of their registration number as a minimum. You can also call the police to attend.
- If you complete the DAA (declaracion amistosa de accidente) accident report form then only sign it if you are sure you agree with the information on it. Never change your copy of the form later. This document should be provided to your insurance company if completed. If you sign it then you agree to the information on the DAA form. It is not a legal requirement to complete and sign a DAA but it can speed a claim up if you complete one.
- If the police attend then ask for a copy of their report. If they are unable to give it to you at the time then note whether they are from the Guardia Civil or Local Police as this information will help your insurance company later.
- Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible but within 7 days.
- Ring your insurance breakdown service to move your car if it is no longer safe to drive.
- It is also very important that if you feel you may have been injured that you go to the hospital for a check-up as soon as possible. If you leave this even just a few days then it might be difficult to ask for any compensation for treatment needed later. Sometimes we feel OK in the immediate aftermath of an accident and only start to feel pain later on. If that is the case then get yourself down to the hospital straight away and provide all the medical reports to your insurance company.