Car accident abroad – what to do? Many Italian consumers travel abroad by car, perhaps to see a European capital or to relax on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. But what to do if one of our fellow citizens is involved in an accident abroad?
That people can move freely in the internal market is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union. For some years now, the EU has been trying to ensure that people injured in a car accident are treated equally, regardless of the EU country in which the accident occurred.
What happens, for example, if an Italian citizen on board his car registered and insured in Italy is involved in an accident abroad and suffers a damage caused by a car registered and insured in a country of the European Economic Area. The European Economic Area includes the EU countries, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
According to an EU directive (2000/26/EC), motor liability insurers must appoint a claims representative in every state of the European Economic Area, except where they have their place of business. Thanks to this regulation, Italian residents who have suffered damage as a result of a car accident in a country where the green card system is in force, caused by a vehicle registered and insured in a country of the European Economic Area, can address their claim directly to the claims representative in Italy appointed by the insurance company of the vehicle that caused the accident. The following countries belong to the green card system: Albania, Andorra, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Greece, Iran, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Austria, Moldova, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary and Cyprus.
To illustrate: an Italian consumer waits in line with his car in a Croatian port (a green card system country) to get on the ferry when a French motorist hits him.
To find the foreign insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident and its claims representative in Italy, the Italian consumer can write to the IVASS (the Italian Insurance Supervisory Authority) information center. The request should include the date and location of the accident, as well as any information about the vehicles involved (registration of the vehicle that caused the accident; nationality; insurance of the vehicle, if known).
IVASS obtains the necessary information from the relevant information office and communicates it to the person concerned; in particular, it tells him the name of the claims representative to whom he can turn for the settlement of the claim.
After a traffic accident, it is advisable in any case to obtain the "European accident report" to be filled out. The European accident report is a standard form used throughout the EU, where the same information is requested in the same line each time (so only the language changes).