A traffic accident took place

Driver’s duties in the event of a traffic accident

After the accident, the driver must stop the vehicle as quickly as possible without causing any further danger and switch on the vehicle’s hazard warning lights. Next, what kind of danger the vehicles involved in the traffic accident may cause to other road users has to be assessed. Thereafter the driver has to act according to the situation, for instance wear a high-visibility vest after dark when leaving the car and set up a warning triangle.

After safety on the scene has been ensured, the driver has to check whether anyone was injured or needs assistance. If someone was injured, the Rescue Service and the police have to be immediately informed. If you have the expertise, you should provide first aid to the injured until assistance arrives.

A driver may not drink alcohol or use narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances except according to a doctor’s prescription for emergency care before the facts have been ascertained.

Documentation of the traffic accident on the scene

The police should be informed of the accident on the scene, if:

  • the traffic accident resulted in injured persons or casualties;
  • it is not possible to document the facts on the scene, for instance if one party refuses documentation of the accident; and
  • the person who sustained damage is not on the scene (e.g. the owner of a parked vehicle, traffic sign, fence or street light poles).

If the police are informed of the traffic accident, the instructions given by the police should be followed.

If the parties involved in the traffic accident document the event themselves, a form (pdf, 147 kB) prepared by the motor insurance fund can be used. The claim forms are also available in insurance agencies and gas stations.

If you do not have the form with you, the accident has to be documented so that it is clearly indicated:

  • when and where the accident took place;
  • who were involved in the accident and with which vehicles;
  • what happened, i.e. the scheme of the accident; and
  • who caused the accident.

While documenting the accident, you should make sure that

  • the more accurately the documents are prepared on the scene, the simpler it will be to proceed with the matter – sometimes it may happen that compensation will not be paid due to the fact that the documents are incomplete or not accurately prepared;
  • while the parties involved in the traffic accident are preparing the documents, the vehicles must be in the same positions as they were after the accident;
  • in documenting the names of persons and the data on vehicles, their correctness has to be checked against documents;
  • each party should also read the text documented by the other party and correct the mistakes if necessary, and
  • it would be wise to take photos of the scene or film it.

Contacting the insurance company

After the insured event has been documented and the damaged vehicle has been parked at a location where it can stand for some time, you should call your insurer for further instructions.

As a rule, the injured party may choose whether to file the damage report and claim for compensation with the insurer with whom they have entered into the motor insurance contract for the damaged vehicle (insurer of the injured party, or in other words, to their own insurer) or with the insurer with whom the party that caused the accident had a contract.

Dispute with insurance company

As in other spheres of life, disputes are also common in insurance. In most cases, the parties of the insurance relationship settle their disputes by way of negotiations. If these fail, parties can refer the case to the motor insurance conciliator.

Last amended: 15-03-2018 00:00 | Compiled by: Estonian Traffic Insurance Fund