What to do if you are involved in a car accident
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In general, these rules also apply to EU citizens in Austria.
As of 31 March 2018, newly approved vehicle types in classes M1 and N1 (passenger cars and HGVs with a maximum gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 tonnes) must be equipped with an eCall system. eCall is a Europe-wide emergency call service for motor vehicles. If the eCall unit in the vehicle is triggered (either automatically when the airbag is deployed during an accident or manually by pressing a button), an emergency call is automatically made to the nearest control centre. The control centre is notified of the position of the vehicle and other vehicle data, allowing it to provide rapid and efficient assistance.
Whenever there is a road accident, all parties involved must stop immediately and inform the closest police department. The site of the accident must be cordoned off, and the parties involved must cooperate in determining the circumstances of the accident.
If an accident only results in material damage, the police do not need to be informed so long as the parties involved exchange names and addresses. If the police is notified when no personal injuries have been sustained, the person having made the call is liable to pay a "call-out fee"German text. If the other party involved caused the accident, this fee will be reimbursed by the third-party liability insurance of the person who made the call.
In the event of personal injury, the first priority is to provide first aid or call for help.
Any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident who fails to stop, fails to offer assistance or call for assistance, or fails to inform the nearest police department is deemed to have committed an administrative offence. In such cases, an administrative penalty of between EUR 36 and EUR 2 180 may be imposed, depending on the degree of fault.
If an accident results in personal injury, individuals may not only be subject to an administrative penalty, but may also be charged with a criminal offence. Under certain circumstances, they may also be charged with committing a ‘hit-and-run’ in accordance with Section 94 of the Austrian Criminal Code (StGB), bodily harm (Sections 83 and 84 of the StGB) or manslaughter (Sections 80 and 81 of the StGB). Persons witnessing an accident or the aftermath of an accident who do not provide the kind of assistance that could reasonably be expected of them may, under certain circumstances, be charged with failure to provide assistance (Section 95 of the StGB).
The parties involved in the accident should ensure that they record the main circumstances of the accident as well as any injuries, skid marks, the position of the vehicles after the accident, and the names and addresses of any witnesses.
It is advisable to fill out a European Accident Statement at the site of the accident, and to have it signed by those involved in the accident.
If you do not have this form to hand, you should at least note down the following information:
- Names and addresses of those involved in the accident
- Names and addresses of witnesses
- Names of the relevant third-party liability insurance companies
- Insurance policy numbers
If there is a legitimate legal interest in obtaining the name of the registration holder of a vehicle involved in a road accident, the competent authority will provide this information. More detailed information on the subject of "Registration holder information"German text can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.
If you are involved in an accident, you must immediately (within one week at most) inform:
- your own third-party liability insurance company;
- the other party’s third-party liability insurance company;
- where applicable, your own comprehensive insurance company; and
- where necessary and applicable, a legal expenses insurer.
Even if you are involved in an accident for which you do not believe you are at fault, you should still inform your own third-party liability insurance company. In this case, you should expressly tell your insurer that the notification is a precautionary one, and should be documented as such.
It is possible to check which insurance company the other party involved in the accident is insured with online by entering their registration number into the vehicle insurer search tool of the Austrian Association of Insurers (Versicherungsverband Österreich, VVO) – see below for link. If the accident in question is a work-related accident, you must also inform your accident insurance company (General Accident Insurance Institution, AUVA). You will need to provide the following information:
- as precise an account as possible of the course of events during the accident;
- any claims by injured third parties;
- any notification of the initiation of court or other official proceedings.
If there are fatalities, this must be notified within three days, even if the accident has already been reported.
Accident report forms are available from insurers, usually online. You should also provide a European Accident Statement that was completed at the site of the accident and signed by all parties.
If the other vehicle was uninsured or you have suffered personal injury caused by an unknown vehicle (hit-and-run), in Austria you are able to contact the Austrian Association of Insurers which offers protection for victims of road accidents (→ VVO)German text. In such cases, and in certain other cases, aggrieved parties involved in an accident may claim compensation from the Austrian Guarantee Fund.
Reporting a road accident in another EU country to insurance companies
If you are the aggrieved party in a road accident in another EU country, or in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, and if that accident involves a vehicle registered in that country, you can claim compensation in your EU country of residence. Every vehicle insurer operating in one of these countries must appoint a ‘claims representative’ in the other EU countries (including Austria), who will process compensation claims in collaboration with the competent foreign insurer and take responsibility for any out-of-court settlements. The Austrian Association of Insurers provides information on claims representatives. Usually, compensation claims are processed in accordance with the laws of the country in which the accident took place.
- To obtain information about the name of the registration holder of a vehicle:
- District administrationGerman text or state police departmentGerman text
- In Vienna: → Traffic Department of the Vienna State Police DepartmentGerman text
- District administrationGerman text or state police departmentGerman text
- To report a road accident: the relevant insurer
- To obtain information about the company with which the other party involved in an accident is insured: vehicle insurer search tool (→ VVO) (German text (online)
To obtain information about the name of the registration holder of a vehicle:
To obtain information about the name of the registration holder German text of a vehicle: EUR 14.30
- European Accident Statement (BMEIA)German text
- Vehicle insurer search tool (→ VVO)German text
- FAQ on the eCall automated vehicle emergency call service (BMK)German text
- Interactive traffic accident map (→ Statistic Austria)German text
- Road accidents in Austria (→ VVO)German text
- ‘Green card’ – insurance cover abroad (→ VVO)German text
- Insurer search tool – claims representative (→ VVO)German text
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- oesterreich.gv.at Editorial Staff