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I got into a small fender-bender yesterday and did not really know what to do. I want to know the proper actions one should take when dealing with such situations.

I'll first describe in short my incident: I was backing out of a parking spot of a gardening store. When I was completely out of the spot and on the driveway, the car that was in the opposite parking spot started to back out as well and hit me. What I really want to say here is that it was not my fault. This is a minor incident: I have a small dent and a lot of small scratches. Nevertheless, this lowers the value of the car and needs to be fixed.

Therefore, what I really need to know is:

  1. Should the police be called for such minor issues?
  2. Does it suffice to take the other driver's insurance details or must one also get something else, like a short statement?
  3. Must the incident be declared somewhere?
  4. Which insurance company must be first contacted about the incident?
  5. What's the maximum amount of time one can wait until requesting that the cost of the repairs be supported by the insurance?

The above aspects of such a situation are the ones that came up later during the day. If there are any other things one should know or do, please list them.

  • 1
    Be careful with the wording, in some jurisdictions "accidents" means that there were casualties, while incident w/o casualties is called "collision". – vartec May 26 '14 at 12:38
  • @vartec, thank you. I edited the question in hope that it'll be more close to the "semantic" of the issue described. – Andrei V May 27 '14 at 6:57
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The form @Nostradamnit refers to is called the European Accident Statement. You can download it in various languages from this site, and usually you can also ask for a copy from your insurance company. It is worth having at least one copy in your car all the time.

The cover page (rotated 90 degrees, so it might be a bit hard to read) contains all of the information what you need to do in case of an accident. If all parties fill out this form, then all insurance companies inside the EU should accept an accident statement and declaration made using this form.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the form (replace the number that needs to be dialled with the local emergency number. Usually 112 in mainland Europe and 999 in the UK):

What to do in case of accident?

If there are injuries:

  • If the severity of the injuries justifies it

    • Dial 100 which alerts the hospital authorities and the Police.
    • Contact the Police immediately - your are legally obliged to do so
  • In those cases when it is not necessary to dial 100

    • Make a note of the name, address and telephone number of the injured persons before they leave the scene (on the inside cover of this report form).

If damage to vehicles only:

  • If you are impeding traffic, traffic regulations require you to remove your vehicle as soon as possible. However, take the precaution of marking on the ground the four corners of the vehicles with chalk or otherwise. Make a note, if appropriate, of brake marks, mud or debris. Photographs are always useful.
  • Call the Police if you think it will be in your interest, for example if the other driver refuses to give his version or to sign the report form.

(...) some details about how to fill out the form

When you get home

  • Complete the details which your insurer requires, by filling in the accident report on the back of the form.
  • Do not forget to state precisely where and when your vehicle will be available for inspection in order that an assessor may be able to inspect the damage as quickly as possible.
  • Under no circumstances alter anything on the face of the form.
  • Forward this document without delay to your insurer
  • In Germany, 110 is police. 112 is ambulance etc AND police, if necessary. If you only need the police, 110 is fine. – Freddy Sep 12 '16 at 21:22
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I found a brochure with what to do in this cases issued by the ADAC. I will try to summarise the answers to your questions:

  1. Should you call the police:

    Bei Verletzten, hohem Sachschaden, fehlender Einigung, wenn der Unfallgegner sich unerlaubt von der Unfallstelle entfernt hat oder ein Fahrzeug mit Kennzeichen außerhalb der EU ohne Versicherungsnachweis (z. B. grüne Versicherungskarte) beteiligt ist, sollte die Polizei gerufen werden (Tel. 112).

    You only need to call the police if there somebody got injured, there's big damage, you can't agree with the other party (not quite sure what that entails), if the other party has left the scene or if a vehicle from outside the EU is involved.

  2. What information do you need to take? As Nostradamnit mentioned there is a form you should fill out. You can find the form at the end of the brochure. This is not to declare who's at fault but just to document what happened. Usually this form is a push-through form and both parties can get a copy of the same form. The brochure also recommends that you take pictures and note down the address of any witnesses to make your case.

  3. Who to contact Since you are sure that it is not your fault you need to claim your damage at the other's party's liability insurance. They say that only if you some of the blame is on you, you should contact your own physical damage insurance.

I couldn't find out how long you have to submit your claims. However everywhere they state that you shouldn't sign any agreement with the other party or their insurance without the consultation of a lawyer, as they might try to trick you.

2

What Drivers Should Do Right After an Accident in Germany

  • After most accidents, call the police, especially if people were injured. Exception: With smaller sheet metal damages the police does not necessarily have to be on the spot for accident recording.
  • Make a note of the license plate of the accident opponent.
  • Make a note of the names and addresses of the drivers involved. The persons involved in the accident should have the identity papers shown, the insurance company and the number of the insurance certificate.
  • Write down the location and time of the accident.
  • Write down names and addresses of witnesses.
  • Tip: To record the accident, you can use the European Accident Report.
  • Take photos of your own and your opponent’s vehicle damage. Photograph the entire scene of the accident from different points of view and make an accident sketch.
  • Very important: Inform the insurer as quickly as possible and never give a debt acknowledgment!
  • "never give a debt acknowledgment" 1. I think you mean "never admit liability" ("debt" means a specific monetary amount owed: rent, or a loan, or something; "liability" is more general, and is the word used in this context). 2. Saying "Sorry" or "Entschuldigung" is not admitting liability, but can dramatically reduce the tension (particularly if it was your fault). – Martin Bonner Jun 12 '18 at 12:01
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Normally in Europe there is a form that both parties complete and submit the their respective insurance companies, who then sort it out amoungst themselves. That's how it works in France anyway, and the form clearly states that it's for all EU countries.

Did you complete some sort of form, or at least get the other person's contact info?

Good luck, Sam

  • I did not complete any form but I did get their contact and insurance information. We both submitted the incident to the insurance companies. The other party is claiming that I am to blame. We are awaiting technical analysis of both cars. The question, however, still holds. – Andrei V Jun 6 '14 at 13:56

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