Victim of a road accident, what to do?
After a car accident, what to do? For the victim of a traffic accident, the priority is physical and emotional health. However, certain steps must be taken quickly. These actions will first of all preserve the rights of the victim.
What to do after a road accident, the first legal steps
In the event of a road accident resulting in bodily injury, the police or gendarmerie authorities come to the scene of the accident and draw up an investigation report. This report describes the circumstances of the accident through the findings, statements, witness statements, sketches and photographs. Then, and as soon as the victim can, the deposition takes place.
In the event of a bodily accident, we advise the injured parties to engage a road accident victims lawyer.
A – The police report
The investigation report makes it possible to determine the responsibilities during a car accident:
- criminal liability which will then lead to the sanctioning of the perpetrator of the offence.
- Civil liability which will oblige the victim to be compensated.
B – The statement of the victim of the traffic accident
This deposition takes place as soon as the state of the victim allows it. The police or gendarmerie service assigned to the investigation will hear the victim about the facts. She gives her version of the facts to the extent of the state of her memories.
During the hearing, the authorities ask if the victim wishes to file a complaint. The victim can in any case give his answer, positive or negative, later. Indeed, the road accident victim can then either go to the investigation services again to have the complaint registered, or send a letter to the territorially competent public prosecutor.
It should also be noted that it is always possible to file an additional complaint. This complaint will be recorded in a report.
Note that if there is no filing of a complaint, this does not mean that the victim will not be compensated for his injuries.
Statements after the road accident
It is important to remember that the victim of a road accident remains responsible for the declaration of his claim. Thus it must declare the claim within five working days to the car insurance and inform the health insurance fund or the social protection body.
A – Declare the claim to the insurance
When the victim has bodily injury following a traffic accident, he must send various documents to the insurance: the medical certificate or hospitalization certificate, the work stoppage notice accompanied by a letter explanation of the damage suffered and a copy of the completed accident report.
Note whether or not there is an amicable accident report, there is, to date, an obligation to report the traffic accident to the insurance company.
This is an obligation, as specified in article L113-2 of the Insurance Code, which must be satisfied within the period set by the contract in order to be taken into account.
This period cannot be less than 5 working days. The declaration can be made by mail, by telephone on the line number indicated on your contract or via the website of your insurer. We also recommend doing this by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
B – Inform the health insurance fund or the social protection body and the employer or Pôle emploi.
In the event of bodily injury, the victim must, regardless of its severity, report the accident to the health insurance fund within 15 days. The process can be done by telephone or by sending the CERFA form “Declaration of bodily injury caused by a third party” to your fund by post.
If your attending physician or the hospital department responsible for providing you with first aid has been prescribed a work stoppage, you must send, within 48 hours:
- sections no. 1 and no. 2 of the work stoppage notice to the medical service of your health insurance fund;
- Section 3 to your employer, or if you are unemployed, to Pôle emploi.
The right reflexes after the road accident
It is important immediately after the injury accident, as far as possible, to collect testimonies and note the changes in the state of health. It is equally important to seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.
A – Collect testimonies of the road traffic accident
After the accident, we recommend that the victim or his relatives collect statements from people at the scene of the accident. It will indeed be necessary in certain cases to prove that the driver victim, for example, has not committed a fault. Thus the witness can be a tradesman, a passer-by at the scene of the accident.
Ultimately, the main thing is that he describes precisely the events he witnessed. Also he must respect the form provided, and attach a copy of his identity document. In this regard, the model appears on the following Public Service page →
B – Choose an independent and competent lawyer
Generally, justice compensates the victims of a bodily accident much better than the insurance companies. It should also be mentioned that the victims of traffic accidents very often suffer from serious sequelae lasting for years, and sometimes their entire lives. But the insurance company is not required to make any other payments than those appearing in the transactional act.
We therefore advise the victim to be assisted by a lawyer for the defense of his rights. It should also be remembered that only a legal professional is authorized to assist a victim of a traffic accident during the amicable phase.
It is also necessary to ensure that the lawyer is independent of the insurance companies. That is to say, he must only intervene to defend the victims. It is a condition for obtaining fair compensation.
The lawyer selected must also have knowledge and real practice in matters of personal injury. This highly technical field requires specific knowledge and skills.
C – At the hospital, start keeping a notebook and compiling your road accident compensation file.
We advise the victim or his relatives, as soon as possible, to keep a notebook in order to record the evolution of his state of health every day. It is about both his physiological and psychological state of health.
Similarly, when leaving the hospital, the hours of human assistance can be listed in detail, clearly specifying the task concerned (eg: toilet, household help). The costs incurred and related to the accident may also appear on this booklet.
Relatives, or beneficiaries, in the event of the death of the victim, must take care to keep all the supporting documents for the expenses incurred: travel expenses, taxis, hotel if applicable. Without proof, the refund is compromised. It is also necessary to keep the receipts for the expenses of accompaniment of the victim.
Finally, the victim or his relatives will ensure that all the medical documents are gathered: the initial medical certificate or CMI, but also the emergency medical form, the imaging, the reports and in particular the hospital discharge report, the prescriptions , medical analyses, among others.
All of these elements will make it possible to compile the file that the lawyer will need for compensation.
The constitution of the medical file of the victim of the traffic accident
On leaving the hospital, the victim of the bodily injury or his relatives must recover the entire medical file from the hospital, as he is entitled to do.
The law of March 4, 2002 gives the victim the right to request their medical file from the health establishment or the doctor. The victim must obtain his file within eight days for information dating from less than five years and within two months for older information. Communication is free, except in the case of postage (costs may be charged in this case). The lawyer eventually seized will make the request, if necessary.
In the event of refusal to hand over the medical file, the road accident lawyer possibly in charge of compensation may initiate an appeal.
What are the essential medical documents for road accident compensation?
As pointed out, among the necessary medical documents, the CMI or initial medical certificate, is an essential element. It is in fact a medical document drawn up on the day of the accident, or shortly after, which mentions the injuries of the victim when he arrived.
These injuries may then be attributable to the accident. It is therefore easily understandable that care should be taken to ensure that all lesions are included. Otherwise, it will be more difficult to impute to the accident, the damage not mentioned.
What other documents are essential for road accident compensation?
The fire department report
Any lawyer in charge of the case will be able to obtain the firefighters’ report, when they have intervened.
The police report
The police report is also an important document. The insurer must inform the victim that he can obtain from him, on simple request, a copy of the police or gendarmerie investigation report.
My firm aims to help victims of road accidents. I intervene in the event of an accident both in Paris and throughout France to support victims in defending their rights.
Lawyer for personal injury victimsI often intervene in traffic accidents and I have several skills in this area:
- traffic criminal law;
- civil liability law;
- and insurance law.
I also take part in all stages of the procedure: administrative, legal, amicable, or contentious, from the moment of admission to the hospital.
Listening, trust and responsiveness are inseparable from my support and general advice. Lawyer at the Paris BarI assist victims in all administrative and legal procedures concerning this field of law and my aim is to obtain the best possible compensation for the damage suffered.
In the case of traffic accidents, the victim does not have to pay any fees. My firm will charge its fees:
- upon payment of the first provision;
- and on future provisions and compensation.
For this type of accident, the result fee is set between 8% and 10% excluding taxes. 20% VAT must be added.
Located in Paris, in the 17th arrondissement, you can contact me using the information request and appointment request forms, by phone at +33(0)1 88 32 81 27 or by email: contact @rsl-avocat.com. I will answer you as soon as possible.