- By Paul SITGES
What and how much can claim as compensation per a traffic accident?
Taking into account the regulations of the Civil Code (Código Civil Español), the articles of the Law on Civil Liability and Insurance in the Circulation of Motor Vehicles ("Law on CR and Insurance" hereinafter), the CICOS module, as well as the modification of some of its Articles from January 1, 2016, at which time Law 35/2015 of September 22 came into force, reforming the system for the assessment of damages caused to people in traffic accidents (also known as “Baremo”/ “Scale” ), we will deal with the concepts that can be claimed and the deadline for the corresponding claim.
The importance of the date of the accident to determine the applicable scale.
In the first place, we must bear in mind that, by virtue of article 49.1 of the consolidated text of the Law on CR and Insurance, the amounts and compensation limits set in these regulations are automatically updated each year in the percentage of the revaluation index of the pensions provided by the General State Budget Law, so it is important to be able to specify the date on which the accident and injuries occurred, in order to quantify the damage suffered by weighing the amounts updated according to the year of the accident.
Likewise, factors such as the age of the victim and / or injured party, such as their personal, family and work circumstances on the date of the accident, will be a relevant factor to take into account when assessing the amounts.
No guilt of the injured party
Second, Law 35/2015 modifies the Law on CR and Insurance and specifically its article 7.1, so that its wording establishes that the insurer, quoted hereinafter: “[…] The injured party must be paid the amount of the damages suffered to his person and property, as well as the expenses and other damages to which he is entitled [...]"(translated from Spanish). This means that, if it is proofed that the accident was not caused by the injured party, there will be the possibility to claim the Civil Responsibility and, therefore, the damages caused can be claimed as follows.
Which damages can be claimed?
The following may be claimed:
1. Damage caused to the vehicle (car, motorcycle, moped ...)
2. Damage caused to the helmet and suitable clothing for riders
3. Injuries to the injured party
4. Material damage (clothing, accessories, mobile phones, laptops, etc.) due to the accident, as long as it can be shown that the damage, or subsequent repair, was caused by the accident
5. The expenses of parking, public transport, or taxi, derived from going to rehabilitation and trips to the doctor
6. Depending on the circumstances, extraordinary sports activities in which the injured party is Federated may also be claimed
In particular, with regard to the damage or uselessness of the helmet due to the accident, it will be valued, compensated and processed in a more agile way thanks to the CICO module, enabled by the Spanish Direct Indemnity Agreement and the complementary agreement of the Supplementary Agreement to the Direct Compensation Agreement, in those cases in which the Friendly Declaration of Automobile Accident has not been completed or is not valid because it lacks the legally established requirements. It should be added that the amount of the value of the helmet or clothing will not be included in the value given on the motorcycle, but will be made through an independent valuation/exam.
What deadlines do you have to take into account to go to the doctor and claim the compensation?
By virtue of article 135.1.b) of the Baremo Law (Law 35/2015), the chronological criterion is established in relation to compensation for minor injuries to the spine, consisting of that a doctor must be consulted within a period of 72 hours after the accident or that the symptoms have manifested in that period and can be medically proven.
Therefore, since most accidents involve some type of minor injury to the spine or whiplash, our recommendation is to go within this period of time in order to be able to prove it in the claim.
Regarding the fact of the claim itself, article 7.1 of the aforementioned Law, in its second paragraph, requires that the direct action to demand the insurer to pay for the damage caused to be carried out within a year, and either by the injured party or his heirs. In other words, the prescription to claim the damages and the corresponding compensation is one year.
Said period of time will be counted from the date of the healing of the injuries or the date of medical discharge or at the moment in which the consequences could be determined depending on the case.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, in advance, and as soon as possible after the accident, you must notify your insurer about the claim (the policies usually establish a period of 24-72 hours).
Communication to the insurance company and appointment of a lawyer
Even if the insurer assigns you an attorney who can handle your claim, you have the right to choose an attorney of your choice or that you trust and that you prefer. Therefore, if you choose to have the claim brought by your personal or preferred lawyer, you must notify the insurer, and it will be the Insurance Company the one that will reimburse you for the costs that you have to face in order to claim the damages caused (with the economic limits set by the policy).
In case you have doubts about the deadlines, the necessary documentation to provide or the assessment of your compensation or you need our office to deal with the extrajudicial and / or judicial claim of the injuries or damages that have been caused to you in a traffic accident, contact one of our expert lawyers in traffic accidents through our online consultation service, videoconference, or by making a prior appointment in our office
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