Traffic accident: when to call the police

Traffic accident: when to call the police

If an accident has occurred, the question arises for many whether they have to call in the police or not. Experts explain in which cases it is absolutely sensible to call the police and when it is possible to refrain from doing so.

It is not only important to call the police in the event of traffic accidents involving injuries or serious property damage. Even in the case of accidents with minor body damage, it may be necessary to notify the police under certain criteria, as can be seen from information provided by the police and the Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft e.V. hervorgeht.

Last year, police were called to nearly 2.67 million traffic accidents in this country. But this is not necessary in every accident. For example, according to the German Insurance Association e.V. in the case of minor accidents, i.e. accidents in which only minor fender benders have occurred, the police do not usually have to record the accident in order to settle the claim.

It makes sense for the parties involved in the accident to jointly prepare an accident report with at least the following information and send it to the motor vehicle insurers: Name, address and license plate number of the parties involved in the accident, location and time of the accident, as well as a description and sketch of how the accident occurred, names and addresses of witnesses, and pictures of the accident location and the accident damage. A European accident report, which is usually available free of charge from the motor insurer or on the GDV Dienstleistungs-GmbH web portal, helps to ensure that no important data is forgotten in the accident report.

When to call the police in case of minor damages

But there are also accidents, even if only minor damage has occurred, in which it may be necessary to inform the police, for example by calling the emergency number 110. For example, if one has hit a parked motor vehicle and the driver or owner of the damaged vehicle is not present, one must wait a reasonable time until the owner or driver of the damaged vehicle arrives.

How long one should wait depends on circumstances such as time of day, location and extent of damage. 30 minutes are however the minimum, so the data of the police in Bavaria. If the injured party does not come, the police must be informed immediately about the incident. In addition, the person responsible for the accident must leave his or her name and address at the scene of the accident. Who removes itself also with such a small accident as an accident causer without permission from the accident place and besides does not inform the police, commits hit and run.

He must then reckon with criminal consequences, the revocation of the driving license and with disadvantages under insurance law such as the loss of the (full) comprehensive cover with regard to his own damage to the motor vehicle. Although the motor vehicle liability insurance of the person who caused the accident, even if he or she has committed a hit-and-run, will cover the damages of the other party involved in the accident, it can cover up to 5.000 euros to be reclaimed from the party responsible for the accident.

In these cases, the police should always be notified

In principle, according to GDV, the police should always be called in the event of an accident if a vehicle is no longer roadworthy as a result of the accident, or if people have been injured – whether slightly or seriously – or even killed. According to police information, it is also advisable to notify the police in the event of significant property damage.

The same applies if the circumstances of the accident or the question of who was at fault are not clear, or if a witness or person involved in the accident believes that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are driving a rental car, a company vehicle or a friend's vehicle and are involved in an accident, it is also advisable to call in the police for liability reasons.

It is also advisable to call the police in the event of an accident with an opponent who lives abroad or whose vehicle is registered abroad. Tip: If you don't know the other party's insurer, you can find out by calling 0800 2502600, the central call for car insurers, using the vehicle's license plate number.

When another ..

If another motor vehicle driver is at fault for the accident, the motor vehicle liability insurance of the vehicle used to cause the accident must usually pay for the damages. The injured party should immediately contact the motor vehicle liability insurer of the other party involved in the accident, whom he or she believes to be the party responsible for the accident, in order to claim for the damage suffered.

If a cyclist or pedestrian is to blame for the accident, claims for damages can be made against the person who caused the accident himself or herself. If the tenant has personal liability insurance, this policy usually covers the damage caused.

In the event of a motor vehicle accident, the victim should always inform his or her own motor vehicle insurance company within one week, irrespective of whether the accident was his or her own fault, so that the insurance company can take prompt action against possible unjustified claims by other parties involved in the accident.

… or you yourself have caused an accident

If you believe that you caused an accident yourself, you should also inform your own motor vehicle liability insurer quickly so that it can check the extent to which the claims made by the other party are justified in terms of their cause and amount.

Anyone who wants to receive an agreed compensation from their own existing partial or fully comprehensive insurance for accident damage suffered to their own vehicle must also report the accident to the motor vehicle insurer within one week.

Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for accident damage to your own vehicle for which no one else is liable, provided you did not cause it intentionally, among other things. Partial cover insurance, which is also included in comprehensive cover, reimburses damages to the agreed extent in the event of motor vehicle damage caused by wildlife accidents, theft, storm, hail and fire.

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