Making A Personal Injury Claim In Spain

Filed under : Personal Injury in Spain

Anyone who switches on the Spanish news from time to time
will be alarmed to see that after each holiday weekend or fiesta there is
always a high death toll on the Spanish roads. Whilst steps are being taken by
the Spanish authorities to clamp down on drunken drivers and reckless driving
which are welcome, enforcement of the traffic laws is not yet having a direct
impact on reducing the high number of deaths on Spanish roads as compared to
the UK.

If you have been involved or know someone who has been
involved in a road traffic accident then set out below is some general advice
on how to recover compensation. However it is always advisable to instruct a
lawyer, preferably someone who speaks your language, as soon as possible after
the accident.

 The accident

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.

The Police

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.

The Claim

After the review of the Police report and legal proceedings
the victims injuries should be valued to assess the amount of compensation that
will be sought. The valuation can either be based on the hospital discharge
report or on a report prepared by a Court appointed doctor. The value of the
claim will be assessed using what are known as the Baremo tables. These tables
split the valuation of the claim into two. The first part is for loss of
earnings, time spent in hospital and recovering for which a fixed daily amount
is awarded. The second part is for long lasting injury and physical loss. In
addition if the victim has receipts for the costs incurred then these can also
be claimed so long as they were incurred by the victim or on behalf of the
victim. Flights for visits by relatives will usually not be recoverable.

Once the value of the claim has been prepared and agreed
with the victims or relatives then a settlement can be negotiated with the
other side, usually their insurance company also known as the defendant
insurer. If negotiations fail then legal proceedings should continue in
parallel with any negotiations. If an out of court settlement is reached then
bear in mind that legal costs will usually be met by each party.

Please note that presently, a No-Win, No-Fee approach to Personal Injury is being considered by the Spanish Government.  Please contact us for more information.

 For more information on this subject, or to make an appointment for a
private consultation, please contact us at De
Cotta McKenna & Santafé

Tel.: +34 952 931 781
Fax: +34 952 933 547