Q & A

How long do I have to claim compensation for injuries resulting from a traffic accident?

If the accident happened in Catalonia, three years to claim before the action to claim prescribes, this time begins to run from the date the injury has been healed or stabilized. Also if you have previously performed any legal claim from the date that procedure is filed, if that date is subsequent to the stabilization of injuries. If the accident happened in the rest of the country, there is a civil claim for ONE YEAR.

This year is only to claim directly to the insurance companies or the Insurance Compensation Consortium, but if you claim only the responsible driver or owner, the prescription period remains three years. If the accident happens in any other country, the regulation depends on its own laws, but in practically all neighboring countries, the limitation periods are over 3 years.

What should I do if having had a traffic accident, the other party involved does not want to sign or complete the friendly settlement declaration?

Fill correctly the friendly settlement declaration allows the processing of any accident to be easier and normally faster, if we agree in the guilt of the accident, we can activate the protocols and conventions signed between the insurers that can accelerate the repair of vehicles. This friendly settlement declaration, as long as it is properly filled and signed, may serve as evidence in legal proceedings in case we discuss its responsibility, so it is necessary to pay attention to include as many details as possible to minimize the risk of denial of responsibility by the guilty or his insurance company.

In case someone involved does not want to sign or fill out the friendly settlement declaration, it is advisable to call the authorities (local police, urban police, Mossos d’Esquadra, Guardia Civil, etc…) so they could do a report and if they refuse to intervene, it will be essential to collect data from witnesses in the scene to ensure the viability of the future claim.

Do I have the right to claim damage if the guilty driver that caused the accident flees or has no insurance?

The Insurance Compensation Consortium is a public entity attached to the Ministry of Economy, through the Directorate General of Insurance and Pension Funds, with legal personality and full capacity to act, being its main activity, among others, to cover all traffic accidents where the vehicle causing the accident is unknown, stolen or had no insurance. Since its activity is ruled to private law, the complaints procedure as well as the compensation that pays this entity are, like the rest of the private insurance companies, under the Regulation and Supervision of private insurances Law, and the Insurance Contract Law, so that, even with some special peculiarity, these problems must be claimed at this entity as if it were any other insurance company.

Do I have the right to choose a lawyer to defend my rights and to claim compensation on my behalf and that those fees would be paid by my own insurance company?

One should carefully check their own policy. If there is legal defence, we will have to see how much coverage the policy applies, because in some cases is so small and ridiculous that the right of coverage lose all its sense. Moreover, in cases where the limit of coverage is broad, it should be noted that even though the lawyer has full freedom to charge what it is considered appropriate for the work done or agreed with the client, many insurance companies apply sub-limits in this coverage that were the former guiding criteria of the Bar Association, as they are today already repealed, and apply a criteria of valuation that is lower than currently. All disputes with the company itself can be handled by the departments of Defence of the Insured or by arbitration or at court.

Do I have the right to claim compensation to the insurer of a vehicle responsible for the accident if its driver failed an alcohol test?

Some companies refuse to pay compensation to third parties injured in a traffic accident when their insured has tested positive in a control for alcohol or narcotics after the accident, but that is illegal. Insurers are required to indemnify third parties harmed in any case and cannot subordinate this payment to the contractual breaches of its policyholders. These breaches of the policy may be claimed back by the insurer to its policyholders that includes all the amounts paid to the third parties injured in the accident.

Can I be forced to undergo an alcohol test when I ride a bike?

Yes, whenever required by the agents of the authority responsible for traffic control, in the same circumstances as drivers of motor vehicles and motorbike: when you are involved in a traffic accident, when driving with obvious symptoms of intoxication, when reported by any traffic offense or in a preventive alcohol test.

The rate of alcohol permitted to ride a bike is the same as for drivers of motor vehicles (not applied to novice drivers or vehicles with dangerous cargo): 0.5 g/l of alcohol in blood or 0.25 mg/l of alcohol in breath. It would not mean any breach to overcome alcohol levels provided in the Criminal Code (exceeding 0.60 g/l in breath and 1.2 g/l in blood) because the crime is committed only when driving motor vehicles and motorbikes.


Committing an administrative offense with the bike, could it mean a loss of driving license points?

Since driving license is not required for riding a bicycle, you cannot lose points for offenses committed as a cyclist, but obviously all the penalties of the Traffic Code would be applicable.

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