Driving around Italy by car is a great way to see the country and many visitors to Italy do this each year. However having a road accident in Italy is a situation that everyone hopes they will never have to experience but if by misfortune this happens it is good to keep calm and have a clear idea of how to behave.
In the event of a serious accident in which people are injured you need to call the emergency number 112 and 113 for the authorities, and 118 for an ambulance.
Remember to take note of the names and addresses of all parties involved in the accident and also any witnesses. Equally important are the details of the insurance companies of the parties involved, which can be found on the label located inside the windshield of the car. Take pictures and make a sketch of the accident scene. The timely notification of a claim by the person involved to his company is not only required by law but can help evaluation of the dynamics and possible liability involved.
Once Italian authorities are at the scene of the accident they will gather evidence and statements from the parties involved in order to draw up a report on the dynamics of the accident. Piero Mastrosimone, xxxx, always recommends reading carefully the official report before signing it. If the accident brought damages, it is possible to request a copy of the report from the Italian authorities. In case someone was injured in the accident, the official report will be released only after 90 days have passed which represent the term for the submission of any lawsuits for personal injuries.
If the police are not involved as only material damages occurred, I highly recommend using the jointly-agreed statement for insurance purposes, also called CAI, that insurance companies usually issue at the issuing of the policy. It is advisable that both parties involved in the accident sign the above form, as it is normally used as evidence. As well as this it is important to take note of the names and addresses of any witnesses who may provide information on the facts of the accident. Piero Mastrosimone advises not signing the form if you do not understand the contents and especially do not sign if there are different opinions on the facts. In this case contact the authorities, even if the accident brought damages to vehicles only. Alternatively contact Giambrone Law at one of our Italian offices and we will be happy to accept your enquiry.
If the authorities have established that there was a breach of the Highway Code a fine will be made as a consequence of the road accident in italy. The authorities may decide also to seize vehicles in order to carry out further reports (for example in case of suspicion of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs). The Italian authorities may also ask you to undergo a compulsory medical examination. If there were deaths or serious injuries, your driving license may be suspended, the Prefect or the judge will determine for how long this will be. In the case of a fatal accident, the nearest kin must identify the body. A judicial investigation to ascertain the cause of the death may be started and an autopsy may be carried out. The next of kin may appoint a consultant to assist forensic autopsy.
In Italy, medical care is provided free of charge (for EU citizens) by the National Health Service (NHS) through the Local Health Authority (ASL) in all hospitals.
According to Piero Mastrosimone if you follow the suggestions above you will help your lawyer or insurance company in collecting the necessary evidence for your case or claim.
Useful Italian numbers to remember:
- Carabinieri: National Number 112
- Fire Department: National Number 115
- Ambulance Service: National Number 118
- Police: National Number 113