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  #1  
Old 01.06.2007, 15:24
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Traffic Accident

I need advice from someone who has been a victim of a traffic accident:
A car ran into me from behind quite hard while stopped on my vespa at a pedestrian crossing. So far;

Police filled in a standard accident report.
Doctor put me in a neck brace and gave me load of pills to take for the pain.
Insurance company have arranged to assess the bike.

Now I'm wondering what else I need to do and what my rights are. I don't know the ins-and-outs of the system here, but I'm trying to find out while I'm laid up at home.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 01.06.2007, 15:48
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Re: Traffic Accident

The doctor should've given you a medical certificate (Arztzeugnis), right? He probably attested you full/partial work incapacity for a certain period of time.

If you're employed, inform your employer as soon as possible of your medical situation and show them your Arztzeugnis.

If your condition prevents you from going to an examn at school/university or from adequately preparing for one, or if you'll miss lessons of mandatory courses, you'll need the Arztzeugnis too. And you should inform the respective organisers.

I can't help you much at the legal end for now, the rear-bumper usually gets 50%-100% of the guilt for the accident, and should this case go to the courts, this number will influence your right for compensation.

I hope you make a fast and full recovery!
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  #3  
Old 01.06.2007, 16:04
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Re: Traffic Accident

Thanks Nathu.

My doctor had given me a letter which I presume is this cert and I have sent my employer this letter.

The motorist has accepted 100% responsibility for what happened. I don't know much about the legal end neither.
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Old 01.06.2007, 16:09
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Re: Traffic Accident

let them assess it and the car driver will be collecting the bill on this, I'm sure.

You should also be entitled to a temporary runabout too, at his cost.
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Old 01.06.2007, 16:31
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Re: Traffic Accident

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The motorist has accepted 100% responsibility for what happened.
That's good news, there probably won't be any legal frictions about this accident.

Mh Lob, I think it's very uncomfortable to drive a car with a neck brace!
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Old 01.06.2007, 16:44
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Re: Traffic Accident

Actually, they gave me a replacement vespa, but a smaller one! Don't feel like I'm ready to use it yet though...

Insurance told me he will pick up the tab for all costs. I just hope they don't cut corners and I end up being worse off than before. For example, I would at least expect them to replace the bike if it is totalled and not pawn me off with a repair job.

More importantly though, I'm still waiting to see if any of my normal activities will be affected. I'd be very upset, for example, if I was advised not to play football anymore. :'(
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Old 01.06.2007, 17:53
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Re: Traffic Accident

I think you have to be really careful with this; I mean that neck injuries are extremely tricky, or can be I should say. In other words, it may seem you heal reasonably well quite quickly, but if you are unlucky and maintain some form of chronic pain that requires long term physiotherapy, you want to make sure now that this is somehow paid for. Hopefully by his insurance!

What I mean is that if it affects your long term health prospects and outlook on jobs, this could become a costly affair.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how the system works. I assume invalidity insurance might be of use, but doubt this would compensate for money lost due to having to take on a part time job etc...
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Old 01.06.2007, 18:06
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Re: Traffic Accident

Hi,
Do not let the insurance company of the one who caused the accident to you pawn you off. This is not well know to foreigners in Switzerland, but you should contact a lawyer as you are entitled to some form of monetary compensation and also all of your Medical bills including your Vespa should be covered by the individual who caused the accident. I know from personal experience as my wife was involved in an accident. Sorry but I cannot recommend a lawyer as the one who pursued our claim has since passed away, he was the husband of my sister in law.
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  #9  
Old 01.06.2007, 18:18
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Re: Traffic Accident

Thanks Muze7 and Coolio,

Can anyone recommend a lawyer located in or near the Zurich area who can deal with this case?
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  #10  
Old 01.06.2007, 18:20
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Re: Traffic Accident

please don't push up our insurance premiums with an ambulance-chaser case.

are you injured or not? What is wrong with you given you were punted along the road by the car?
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  #11  
Old 01.06.2007, 18:46
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Re: Traffic Accident

I understand you are worried about a couple of your hard earned swiss francs, but that is quite ignorant. You know nothing about what happened yet dismiss it carelessly anyway.

Just as I will let my doctor determine the extent of my injuries and their consequences, I will also let a lawyer determine my rights in this case.
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Old 01.06.2007, 19:05
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Re: Traffic Accident

The medical costs will be paid by your normal medical insurance under the accident cover or by the insurance of your employer if you work for more than 8 hours per week.
It's best to consult a lawyer who will be able to judge what you would get if you went to court and he/she can negotiate accordingly.
For an injury like this don't be in a hurry to settle. 20 years ago I also had a neck injury and after a couple of months all was fine. I waited 3 years without further trouble and then settled on the basis I had suffered for 2 months. Just after I settled I woke up one morning with neck trouble which lasted for 2 weeks and that's happened to me almost every year since. Had I have known that this was going to happen obviously I would have looked at a far larger settlement ! So don't be in a hurry to settle !
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Old 01.06.2007, 19:43
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Re: Traffic Accident

I fully agree with your statement in that you should not be in a hurry to settle. In the case of my wife the person who caused the accident "his insurance company was in a rush to settle and so was I - However my brother in law was adamant about not settling or should I say settling with future recourse should problems arise at a later date due to the accident. About a year later down the road my wife was in therapy and in serious pain due to the accident. We were able to go back to the insurance company as she ended up being off for about a year from work , plus medication etc,etc. So be aware...
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Old 01.06.2007, 20:38
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Re: Traffic Accident

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I understand you are worried about a couple of your hard earned swiss francs, but that is quite ignorant. You know nothing about what happened yet dismiss it carelessly anyway.

Just as I will let my doctor determine the extent of my injuries and their consequences, I will also let a lawyer determine my rights in this case.
I'm actually not worried about my insurance costs; I just think that if you are injured and affected then claim - if you are not, don't. You don't make much reference to it so I've assumed it is not that bad.
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Old 01.06.2007, 23:54
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Re: Traffic Accident

Lob, the problem is that it might also be a head injury. The severity of both neck and head injuries no one can judge from a far, in fact, head injuries can have a tendency of causing problems years later, like memory problems, hormone problems due to the pituary gland having been damaged, and they can even trigger Parkinson's.

That is why everyone here is suggesting not to take this lightly, and to make sure the poster has options for recompense later, if needed.
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Old 02.06.2007, 08:25
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Re: Traffic Accident

I agree - but based on the vagueness of the injuries, I would not simply suggest going for compo just because.....
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Old 03.06.2007, 21:44
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Re: Traffic Accident

I researched the matter a bit and talked about it to a relative of mine who was rear-bumped twice in a car. There's already good advise for property damage and the medicinal expenses here, insurances should cover them.

The other thing is compensation for immaterial damages (called Schmerzensgeld="pain money" or Genugtuung="satisfaction"). You'd have to prove in court that you suffer psychic or physical damages that exceed the direct medicinal expenses. For example: to suffer pain or panic attacks, having to give up the favorite hobby because of the accident, or having to spend big amounts of time for therapies, other forms of losing life quality etc.

Since you've apparently not suffered anything of the above, I'd refrain from going to court for now. You still can go this route in the future. Should you decide to consult a lawyer, I'd make a budget beforehand.

Although one of the accidents of my relative turned out to sporadically cause him pain later, he decided to stay out of the courts and to move on with his life.
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Old 03.06.2007, 22:04
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Re: Traffic Accident

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Now I'm wondering what else I need to do and what my rights are. I don't know the ins-and-outs of the system here, but I'm trying to find out while I'm laid up at home.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
I've luckily never been in an accident but I recently witnessed one and was questioned by the police twice. What's important here is whether you got hurt or not. If you sustained a serious injury (like whiplash), you'll have to let the police know - otherwise the accident will be treated as a bagatelle, no witness accounts will be looked at and the insurance companies will not be notified about possible further steps beyond paying for your Vespa and your immediate treatment.
Whiplash, if it leads to unfitness for work, can get you hundreds of thousands, depending on your salary and your status (e.g. if you're married, if you have kids etc.). If you were hurt, I'd talk to the police again and then hire a lawyer.
In the accident I witnessed, one person did end up having whiplash and there's a lengthy court battle about to start - I'm actually waiting to be called up for a court appearance.

regards,

peter
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Old 04.06.2007, 00:27
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Re: Traffic Accident

As you said, it's the future consequences that are of concern. If I simply get better in the next days/weeks and my neck and back never bother me again then that would be the best outcome for me. No doubt. I don't want to unnecessarily involve the courts and really just want to have my life the way it was before the accident.

As you say, the police have to be informed about an injury. I didn't know about this technicality. In fairness to them, they are methodical and followed up with a call to me this weekend to check.

So, in the coming days, as long as I don't have to waive any future rights to recourse, I will be happy for now just to get back to full health and have the medical expenses paid and a replacement vespa on the road again (although, I'm not sure if I'll feel so secure on one out there anymore...). Fingers crossed.

Thanks for the replies guys.

P.S. I know this is perhaps a comment for another thread, but many car drivers need to be more aware of how vunerable other road users are and should give them the required safety margin. This last month, I don't know how many jerks I had on my tail glaring at me as if to say "how dare this lesser vehicle impede my progress", despite driving at the limit... A momentary lapse from them, and I'm toast. ...as happened. Lucky for me he was only travelling around 30-40kmh and not more.
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Old 04.06.2007, 17:09
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Re: Traffic Accident

I hope your injury is just temporary but, just in case, it’s better to find out now what precautions you should take if you have to pursue this later.
I needed some legal advice so I contacted the local British Vice Consul who gave me a list of local lawyers who spoke English and recommended one of them. I phoned them and asked if they could indicate the cost of consulting them and described the problem. By the time we finished chatting I got all the information I needed to know and that cost me nothing !.
There’s a lot of talk here about going to court. I’m not qualified to advise on the Swiss system but, in the UK, most cases never get near a court. This only happens when the two parties can’t agree and the injured party feels that they want to take it further.
Try your Vice Consul or Embassy and they may even be able to give you the legal advice themselves.
For the future have a look at your own insurance. Most companies offer a cover for legal expenses if you have an accident and if you have this you have no worries.
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