What is the legal deadline for declaring a car accident?: Models, tests, reviews and videos 4

No one is immune to a possible car accident. If this ever happens, you must declare it as soon as possible to your insurer so as not to exceed the period corresponding to the guarantee involved. How long is it allowed to wait before declaring the claim in order to be compensated?

Legal reporting deadlines

The waiting period before declaring a car accident is defined by the insurance code with article L.113-2 4 °. This period is set at 5 working days minimum and 8 days maximum, whatever the nature of the damage (accident, fire, broken glass, etc.). However, insurers can demonstrate tolerance in terms of delay, especially if the disaster victim is in critical condition. In the event of theft and attempted theft, this period is extended to 2 working days, i.e. 48 hours. Exceptionally, if the claim is caused by a natural disaster, the claimant has 10 days from the publication of the ministerial decree.

What are the elements to provide during the declaration?

During the declaration, the victim of the car accident, or his representative, must appear before his insurer with the documents and information following:

  • The date, time and precise location of the incident;
  • The nature and causes as well as the circumstances of the accident (collision, leaving the road, chain accident, brake failure, speeding etc.);
  • The nature of the damage suffered by the various parties (the insured vehicle, the adversary, third parties and the public domain);
  • The names, first names, addresses of the people involved or injured (driver, the other driver, the victims, any witnesses, third parties responsible or not), as well as the references and contact details of the insurers of each of them.

It is also important, but not mandatory, to attach photographs taken at the scene of the accident before the police took stock and moved the evidence in order to restore traffic. These photos are valuable supporting documents that can be used for the study of the case. If witnesses (third parties, excluding passengers transported) present can specify the circumstances of the accident, their identities and contact details should be noted. The goal is to collect their statements and use them to support the different versions of the facts.

What are the exceptions?

Although the legislation provides within 8 days to report a car accident, there are cases where this period may be delayed. This is the case in the following situations:

  • The owner of the car was on the trip and did not notice the damage until his return;
  • The person responsible for the incident could not be identified until late;
  • The damage to the vehicle was not noticed immediately;
  • The victim had to be admitted to hospital following the accident.

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