A recent survey made in different countries from a consortium of insurance companies came to the conclusion that on average 60% of European car drivers do not know how to use (or do not want to use) the standard “European accident statement” form (in Spanish “parte de declaración amistosa de accidentes” or sometimes “Declaración Amistosa de Accidente de Automóvil”).
It’s a real pity because using these forms can greatly reduce the length of the compensation process and improve the legal protection of the parties involved in the accident.
In Spain the relationship between the insured and the motor insurance companies is regulated by Royal decree 8/2004 “Ley de responsabilidad civil y seguro en la circulación de vehículos a motor” (Law on civil responsibility and insurance in the usage of motor vehicules”). Article 8 states that in order to speed up the compensation of the material damages by the insurers, the companies will have to provide the insured with European accident statement forms and the drivers will have to use them in case of accident. Failure to fill the form will greatly increase the length of the administrative procedures that from a few weeks can then last up to several months.
If the accident is involving physical injuries it is always recommendable to call the emergency number 112 or alternatively, the Policia National (telephone number 091) if the accident was in a urban area or the Guardia Civil (telephone number 062) if the accident happened on a national road. The police or the Guardia Civil report will have priority over any other form.
Otherwise filling the “parte de declaración amistosa de accidents” will be sufficient. If you don’t speak Spanish your insurance company can provide you with forms in English. Except the language the Spanish and English forms are strictly identical therefore if you decide to fill Spanish, you can still use the English version as a guide, (you can also file it in English if you wish).
Once the form is filled each party will keep a copy and send it to his insurance company.
The important data
The procedure to follow in case of accident in Spain is much of the same as in any other EU country. In the “parte de declaración amistosa de accidentes” it is fundamental to fill the details of the drivers and the insurance policy numbers.
If there are witnesses it is quite important to get their details, as they will be called to testify in case of dispute.
It’s particularly important to place extra care in ticking the right boxes in point number 12 and to make a clear drawing of the accident in point number 13 as the insurance companies will determine the party responsibility based on this information. Number 14, the space reserved for extra information can be filled in English as well and will be used to complement information from points 12 and 13.
Unless there is disagreement between the two parties related to the information in the accident statement form, the document will have to be signed by the two parties. If no agreement can be reached, it is a good idea to call the Guardia Civil or the Police that will help determine how the accident happened.
Over the years we have seen several English publications recommending, in case of road accident in Spain, to fill but not to sign the European accident statement form. This is plainly wrong. A statement form without the signature of the two parties loses any legal validity and won’t be considered by the insurance companies making the compensation process difficult.
In any case if you have a camera (or even a mobile phone with a camera) it’s a good idea to take pictures of the cars in the accident scene and a close up of the damages. Make sure that the registration plates of the vehicles are in the pictures. This information can be sent to the insurance company as complementary data.
In case the accident is very light and the parties are not deeming necessary to report the damages the pictures will ensure that one of the parties doesn’t subsequently denounce the other claiming imaginary injuries and damages.