Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Filing a Personal Head Injury Claim in Spain

After each holiday weekend or fiesta there is always a large accident rate and a high death toll on Spanish roads. Authorities in Spain are clamping down on drunken drivers and reckless driving but enforcement of the traffic laws is not yet having a direct impact on reducing the high number of deaths and injuries on Spanish roads.

One of the most prevalent types of injury from these accidents involves head trauma and resultant brain injury. In fact, one recent study involving Spanish coastal property indicated 61 percent of traffic accidents resulted in some type of brain injury. These accidents included autos, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians hit by vehicles.

With more and more British citizens expected to retire in Spain and other European countries it is important for these expatriots to understand the local laws involving injury. Here is a summary of what you should know about

Similar to the UK there is an obligation on the drivers to remain at the site of the accident until the police arrive. If the injuries suffered and damage to the car is minor then the other driver may ask you to sign a form accepting who was responsible for the accident. This is known as a "declaracion amistosa" and should not be signed unless you are absolutely certain of what you are signing and accepting. If the other driver wishes to leave the scene try and obtain, as far as possible, his insurance details, full name, identity card number and details of the vehicle before he does so. If the injuries suffered require hospitalisation then on leaving the hospital ensure that you obtain a discharge certificate, which will set out the injuries that you have suffered, the amount of days in hospital and the treatment prescribed.

Usually after a road accident the Police will visit the scene, prepare a report and then send it to the local Court. The report will contain details of the drivers insurance companies, names of the drivers, witnesses, if any, statement from the parties involved and an objective assessment of how the accident occurred.

Once you have been discharged or in the event of a death after the funeral, the relatives or victim should seek legal advice as the claim has to be brought within 1 year of the accident. If you have a valid motor or other insurance policy then read the policy carefully to see if you have legal expenses cover. If you do then contact the insurance company, notify them of the claim (if they have not already been notified) and ask them how much cover you have and whether or not you are permitted under the terms of the policy to use your own lawyer rather than their huge claims department, which may not offer the personalised service.

When instructing a lawyer ask him for details of his charges and an explanation of the action that he will take on your behalf.

The first steps a lawyer will take is to contact the Court and obtain a copy of the Police report which will contain some important information. He will also notify the Court if proceedings are ongoing that his Firm is instructed and appoint a Procurador. A Procurador is a Court Official employed by the lawyer to present documents to the Court and notify the lawyer of progress of the claim in the Court.

Following these instructions should make it easier to make a personal injury claim following an accident in Spain.

1 comment:

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