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What to do in a car accident

What to do in a car accident

Even the most vigilant road user can be involved in an accident or just witness an accident. An accident generally results in damage to the bodywork. In rarer cases, personal injury also occurs, but in any case, this is always associated with stress and excitement. In order to keep your nerve and be able to act correctly in the event of an accident, you should deal with the situation in the event of a traffic accident in advance. Because here, too, there are not only tips on correct behavior, but also obligatory behavior in which you can make yourself punishable by omission!

Checklist accident

  1. To secure the scene of an accident

(Switch on the warning lights, put on the safety vest and set up the warning triangle. Is it a minor damage to the bodywork, you should also move the vehicle off the road or park it in a way that does not obstruct traffic)

  1. Get an overview

(Are there any injured persons and/or sources of danger?)

  1. Dial emergency call

(Describe the location and situation of the accident and the injured person briefly and precisely)

  1. Provide first aid

(Immediate life-saving measures: cardiac massage with ventilation, pressure bandage and stable lateral position)

  1. Exchange insurance and personal data


To secure the scene of an accident

Securing the scene of the accident is the top priority. Your own safety and that of all other road users must be ensured in order to avoid consequential damage and minimize other sources of danger.

This also includes moving the vehicles off the road immediately in the event of minor damage (property damage up to EUR 2,000). If the vehicles were severely damaged, they must also be moved to the side, but only when all traces (take photos using a mobile phone) have been secured.

Failure to secure the scene of the accident or to drive the vehicles to the side immediately is punishable by a warning fine of 30 euros according to §34 StVO.

Get an overview

Getting an overview is the next important point in order to be able to weigh up your further course of action in the event of an accident. If there are indications that explosive, flammable or oxidizing chemicals are leaking out (e.g. in the case of truck accidents), you must ensure that you protect yourself.

In this case, you are not obliged to provide assistance, but make the emergency call as quickly as possible, get yourself to safety and wait for the rescue workers to arrive. In all other cases, according to §323c StGB, you are obliged to provide assistance if this is necessary. Even if you are only a witness to the situation! So if you don't help, you're committing a crime.

Dial emergency call

The next step is to dial the emergency number, 110 in the case of minor damage and 112 in the event of accidents involving injuries (the police are automatically notified by the fire brigade). It is important to provide brief and precise information about the scene of the accident, such as the name of the street, house number or sections of the route on the motorway, as well as information on the number of injured people and their condition.

Provide first aid

Self-protection also applies to first-aid measures. For example, if a vehicle occupant is trapped and the airbags have not deployed in a collision, this can still happen during a subsequent rescue operation. In such a case, it is therefore important not to hold your head near the airbags, as this could result in serious injuries.

Exchange insurance and personal data

Now that you have taken all the necessary immediate measures, you can take care of recording the accident. There is no obligation to call the police after an accident. However, it is often helpful because the local police then creates an accident report with all the necessary data and the facts of the case. Above all, the police should be notified if people have been injured, if it is not clear who caused the accident, or if alcohol or drugs are involved. If you handle the accident without the help of the police, the accident involvement, name, address, place, time as well as license plate number and insurance must be recorded. If necessary, the insurance can also be inquired about by stating the number plate at the central call of the car insurers.

The person who caused the accident must report the accident to their insurance company within a week and you, if you are not responsible for the accident, should hire an independent and neutral expert to settle the claim.

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