Car accident – what should I do?

Source: / tommaso79

Accidents can happen – even to proficient drivers taking care on the roads. And maybe it's been a while since you completed the first aid course as part of the Swiss driving test, if indeed you took it. So here's what to do in the event of an accident.

Despite driving with due care and attention, you have still had an accident?

Keep calm and follow these instructions.

Immediate action in case of damage or injury

1. Assess the situation

Stop the car, switch on the hazard lights and headlights (dipped). Make an assessment of the situation: note the number, type and position of the vehicles involved in the accident. Consider whether there is any risk of fire or explosion.

2. Warn other road users

Place your warning triangle at least 50 metres before the location of the accident – at least 100 metres before on fast roads.

3. Administer first aid

Has anyone been injured? Move them to a safe place and administer first aid. Ensure that the scene of the accident remains unchanged where possible.

4. Notify the emergency services

If necessary, call the ambulance (144) and the fire brigade (118). Always inform the police (117). They will take care of reporting the events leading up to the accident.

5. Look after any injured persons

Take care of anyone who suffered an injury. Observe them carefully and talk to them. 

Special case: collision with an animal – inform the owner, gamekeeper or the police.

According to road traffic law, animals are generally considered “property”. So as in the case of property damage, you must notify the party suffering the damage (e.g. the owner of the cat). If you have a collision with a wild animal you must first of all notify the cantonal gamekeeper. What if you can’t contact the animal’s owner or the gamekeeper? In this case, you should inform the police. Failure to report the incident will result in a fine.  

Making a claim

Was there any damage to your vehicle? If so, bear in mind the following points:  

1. Document the accident

Avoid moving the vehicle if possible. Take photos of the accident and vehicle damage from all angles if possible. 

2. Fill in the European accident report

Note the names and addresses of any witnesses and describe what happened in a way that is easy to understand. Don't forget to sign the document on the back. Important: Never admit sole responsibility.

3. If it’s not clear who is at fault, involve the police

Should you not agree on where the blame lies or how the accident came about, involve the police.

4. Report the damage to your insurer

Report the damage to your insurance company without delay. Also state whether or not the police are involved with the case. Your insurance company will take care of the next steps. Depending on the extent of the damage, a loss adjuster from your insurance company may examine the vehicle before it is repaired. Make sure you get a written quote for the cost of the repair. 

Most insurers allow you to report the damage online. The links are listed below, along with the claims hotline for each insurance company:

  • Allianz Suisse: 0800 22 33 44 (online service available in German, French and Italian only)
  • Axa: 0800 809 809
  • baloise direct: 00800 24 800 800
  • Dextra: 058 521 11 11 (online service available in German and French only)
  • Elvia (no online service): 0800 666 222
  • Generali: 0800 82 84 86
  • Helvetia: 058 280 30 00 (online service available in German, French and Italian only)
  • Mobiliar: 0800 16 16 16 1 (online service available in German, French and Italian only)
  • 0800 848 488 (online service available in German, French and Italian only)
  • Vaudoise: 0800 811 911 (online service available in German, French and Italian only)
  • Zurich: 0800 80 80 80

Good to know: If, to make matters worse, you have problems processing your claim, remember that you are allowed to cancel your policy in the event of a claim and take out a new one.

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