If your vehicle was involved in an accident in Germany that wasn’t your or the driver’s fault (“unverschuldeter Unfall”), you can assert various claims against the other party to the accident, respectively the insurance of the accident perpetrator. The German ruling and tort law says that the injured party must be placed in the position he or she would have been in if the traffic accident had not occurred.
Following claims are possible, among others:
First of all, you can claim compensation for the necessary repair costs (Reperaturkosten, some call it Schadensersatz).
A difference is made between fictitious repair costs and actual repair costs incurred after a car accident or road crash. If the accident didn’t lead to a write-off of your vehicle, you can decide whether to have it actually repaired, claim the resulting costs and continue to drive, or sell it in unrepaired condition. In the second case, you are entitled to get the estimated repair costs. These can be determined by obtaining an expert opinion or a cost estimate.
In case of a write-off, i.e. the repair is technically impossible or economically unviable because it is too expensive, you can demand the so-called replacement cost from the other party (usually the automobile insurance). This is the difference between the value of your vehicle before the accident and the current value of the vehicle in its accident condition. You can easily have these values determined by a motor vehicle expert.
Reduction in value
If, as a result of the accident, your vehicle is worth less than it was before the accident, you also have a claim the compensation for the reduction in value. This can also be determined by an expert.
If you have commissioned an automotive expert to assess your vehicle and determine the above values, then the costs of the expert are also generally reimbursable.
Obtaining an expert opinion is generally recommended, since the injured party must proof the damage and the costs to be expected.
Rental car costs or loss of use
If you are unable to use your vehicle because it is being repaired or is no longer drivable, you can either rent a car for this period and claim the costs for this or claim compensation for loss of use. The amount of the claim is based on the model, specification and age of your vehicle as well as the repair time or, in the case of a total loss, on the time it takes to buy an equivalent replacement vehicle.
Personal injury compensation
If you were injured in the accident, you are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. The amount depends on the specific individual case and the given circumstances. Among other things, the extent and severity of the injuries, the intensity and duration of the pain suffered, the number of operations or the duration of medical treatment as well as permanent impairments and consequential damage are taken into account. It is therefore important that you document your injuries and complaints, as well as the exact course of treatment, with certificates or medical reports.
The medical costs that you incur as a result of the treatment of injuries caused by the accident are also eligible for reimbursement. This also includes the costs that your treating doctor charges for the preparation of a medical certificate.
In addition, you are entitled to what is known as a “Unkostenpauschale” for expenses or ancillary costs. This includes the costs that are inevitably associated with a traffic accident, such as telephone, postage, internet or travel costs. These are generally estimated at an average of € 25.00.
If you would like to claim additional costs occurred due to the accident, it is possible to submit those with concrete evidence (damage proof, bills, etc.).
Legal / lawyer’s fees
Finally, the other party must also bear your legal fees.
Since you are entitled to many different claims after a traffic accident, but liability insurance companies often refuse to cover the full costs, make unjustified cuts or delay settlement for a long time, it is advisable to consult a lawyer (Anwalt für Verkehrsrecht) at an early stage.
Were you involved in a traffic accident and would now like to claim compensation for your damage, or does the other party’s liability insurance refuse to cover your costs? Then please contact us. We will advise you comprehensively, examine all possible claims, assert them for you and, if necessary, enforce them in court.
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Our lawyers are specialized in traffic law (German “Anwalt für Verkehrsrecht“).
Our COM Legal law firm specialized in traffic law monetary fines (speed tickets etc.). We have a multilanguage team. Beside German and English speaking lawyer we have also team members speaking Turkish and Arabic speaking lawyer.