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Old 15.02.2012, 13:30
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Car crash - Police involved?

Looking at the weather and how much it is snowing combined with the fact that many (Swiss?) drivers love tailgaiting even under these conditions I was wondering if you call the police even for minor damage in a car crash? Is there a limit where police would say "don't bother, we're not coming"? Or do you have to call the police under any circumstances?
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Old 15.02.2012, 13:49
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

If I remember correctly you have to call the police if any insuries arose due to the accident regardless whether it was your fault, the other cars or if it was an innocent bypasser. Furthermore you should also fill in a "Unfallrapport" (crash protocol). So if the other driver does not want to fill in the protocol or claims not be guilty while you think he's guilty - you call the police and tell them that. Then it does not matter if the damage is only small, they will come. To close a long story short you should always call them if you have a bad feeling or feel unsure. It can get very tricky to deal with the "who was guilty" questions afterwards if no protocol / records / witness are available.
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Old 15.02.2012, 17:21
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Looking at the weather and how much it is snowing combined with the fact that many (Swiss?) drivers love tailgaiting even under these conditions I was wondering if you call the police even for minor damage in a car crash? Is there a limit where police would say "don't bother, we're not coming"? Or do you have to call the police under any circumstances?
Avoid calling the police unless someone is hurt. They are not independant & will try to prosicute both drivers. 3 months later you will be found guilty by post & have to go to court to win the case. Been there done that , I called the police where it was clear the other driver was 100% responsible!
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Old 15.02.2012, 20:40
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Avoid calling the police unless someone is hurt. They are not independant & will try to prosicute both drivers. 3 months later you will be found guilty by post & have to go to court to win the case. Been there done that , I called the police where it was clear the other driver was 100% responsible!
Thanks for sharing your experience. I was asking the question because I heard that in Germany the. police don't come for minor incidents any more.

When I was living in Germany I had a minor accident years ago when someone drove out of the parking and into my car. He then said "Oh it's my fault, we don't need the police, here are my details and address" so I said ok, and two days later I received a letter from his lawyer telling me he would be willing to repair his car himself if I paid for the spare parts and I was like WTF??? So I went to the police and reported it and in the end he had to pay for my damage.
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Old 15.02.2012, 20:53
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

A few years ago my wife managed to park her Land Rover on the bonnet of a much smaller car (she said she didnt see it because it was so small). She managed to find the owner and admit it was all her fault but he insisted on calling the police. As it was on private land and not on the street and no injury they told him they were not going to come out and to settle it between them.

Christopher
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Old 15.02.2012, 21:21
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

In Canada, your not supposed to contact the police unless there was an injury, a crime committed (hit and run) or if the damage was more than I think 5000. Anything else went straight to MPI (our public insurance) without any police.

Maybe there is a similar situation here?
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Old 15.02.2012, 21:46
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Maybe there is a similar situation here?
The only difference is in general every Swiss person thinks it's their duty to report it to the police, as every Swiss man is in the military, it's comes under the same department.

Strangly enough Basel Art fair comes under the police & military dept as well!
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Old 15.02.2012, 22:32
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Avoid calling the police unless someone is hurt. They are not independant & will try to prosicute both drivers. 3 months later you will be found guilty by post & have to go to court to win the case. Been there done that , I called the police where it was clear the other driver was 100% responsible!

Been there, done that also. I have paid for minor damage to other vehicles when not guilty rather than involve the police who are only interested in maximising the fines for all involved parties.
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Old 15.02.2012, 22:43
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Looking at the weather and how much it is snowing combined with the fact that many (Swiss?) drivers love tailgaiting even under these conditions I was wondering if you call the police even for minor damage in a car crash? Is there a limit where police would say "don't bother, we're not coming"? Or do you have to call the police under any circumstances?
ALWAYS call the police!

My wife was recently rear-ended, with no visible damage, but the car that hit her had major damage. As she had no visible damage, they didn't call the cops (or even exchange details )

Turns out, she also had damage to the whole rear, particularly the closing of the rear hatch.

Beware.

Tom
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Old 15.02.2012, 23:04
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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ALWAYS call the police!

My wife was recently rear-ended, with no visible damage, but the car that hit her had major damage. As she had no visible damage, they didn't call the cops (or even exchange details )

Turns out, she also had damage to the whole rear, particularly the closing of the rear hatch.

Beware.

Tom
I'm not totally sure how reporting that accident to the police would have helped. The problem was your wife didn't get the details (and presumably the registration of the other vehicle).

The police here and in most other countries are simply too stretched to bother with road traffic accidents where there are no injuries. Only if the other party gets stroppy or says they are not at fault when they are, should the police be called.

I managed to write of a car driving into a stone wall and the police were not informed and the insurance company paid up...
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Old 15.02.2012, 23:22
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

My friend called the police after a crash on an unmarked junction in Basel.
It wrote his car off so must have been a bit of a shunt.
The police asked if anyone was injured, which they weren't, and said if both parties were happy for them not to come out they won't.

As fatman says, if no-one is injured, and the other guy isn't drunk or unreasonable, then don't call them.

Fully comprehensive insurance and Legal cover (that covers motor accidents) are nice to have, of course.
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Old 16.02.2012, 07:53
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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ALWAYS call the police!

My wife was recently rear-ended, with no visible damage, but the car that hit her had major damage. As she had no visible damage, they didn't call the cops (or even exchange details )

Turns out, she also had damage to the whole rear, particularly the closing of the rear hatch.

Beware.

Tom
Simply getting exchanging details and noting down their registration and remembering the colour of their vehicle, date and time of day would have been enough. Maybe take a couple of photos. No police need to be involved - one call to your insurance company should be all that is needed. I wouldn't have the time to hang around for the cops to arrive plus it peeves me when I see cars in minor accidents blocking the road waiting for the cops
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Old 16.02.2012, 08:51
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

There are special accident report forms ("Europäisches Unfallprotokoll" IIRC) that you can obtain from your insurer. After an accident both parties can fill in all the details required by the insurers and sign the form. This ensures that both insurers get all the information they need. Make sure you always have one in your car's glove compartment.

Do not call the police unless somebody has been injured. Even if you think that the other party is 100% at fault, some judge might decide for some obscure reason that you are partially at fault and slap you with a fine and even a license suspension.

EDIT: just found this link for additional information on the accident report form.

Last edited by Mark75; 16.02.2012 at 08:57. Reason: link added
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Old 16.02.2012, 09:14
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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My wife was recently rear-ended, with no visible damage..........


Must........not........post.........must.........n ot.........post.......



cheers
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Old 16.02.2012, 10:47
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Simply getting exchanging details and noting down their registration and remembering the colour of their vehicle, date and time of day would have been enough. Maybe take a couple of photos. No police need to be involved - one call to your insurance company should be all that is needed. I wouldn't have the time to hang around for the cops to arrive plus it peeves me when I see cars in minor accidents blocking the road waiting for the cops
It should be enough, but since I had the problem in Germany where the lawyer wrote his client was generous enough to repair the car himself instead of going to a garage... I must admit I got a kick out of it at the police station when they called him up at work LOL
I mean my car was damaged at the side and his at the front, so there was no doubt who had crashed into who, but I guess he thought, yeah let's try to rip off that auslander.
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Old 16.02.2012, 11:08
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

We had an incident recently after hubby clipped a rock on the side of the road as we were pulling back onto the road.

Noone was injured. We had a flat tyre and a minor scratch and some dents on the bottom of the doors.

As we were waiting for the tow truck the police drove past and stopped.

I think he got a bit ticked-off because my hubby can't speak German. He told us that whenever you have an accident you must call the police.

But in the end it made it a very painless event with the insurance company.
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Old 16.02.2012, 11:09
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

You only have to call the police if someone is injured.

You do not have to call the police if there are no injuries and you both agree who is responsible. But just exchanging details is not enough - if you both agree on facts, put it in writing at the scene. Either fill out the Accident Form helpfully linked or i you don't have the accident form, write down what happened and who admits responsibility, in duplicate, both should sign.

Note though, even if there are no injuries, if one party does not agree and calls the police, then the other one cannot leave either until police has arrived and allowed them to go. according to this: https://www.tispol.org/guides/switzerland.pdf
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Old 16.02.2012, 11:24
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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I think he got a bit ticked-off because my hubby can't speak German. He told us that whenever you have an accident you must call the police.
What he told you is not true. You only have to call the police if someone is injured or if you damage third party property and are unable to notify said third party.

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/741_01/a51.html

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Art. 51 SVG

1 Ereignet sich ein Unfall, an dem ein Motorfahrzeug oder Fahrrad beteiligt ist, so müssen alle Beteiligten sofort anhalten. Sie haben nach Möglichkeit für die Sicherung des Verkehrs zu sorgen.
2 Sind Personen verletzt, so haben alle Beteiligten für Hilfe zu sorgen, Unbeteiligte, soweit es ihnen zumutbar ist. Die Beteiligten, in erster Linie die Fahrzeugführer, haben die Polizei zu benachrichtigen. Alle Beteiligten, namentlich auch Mitfahrende, haben bei der Feststellung des Tatbestandes mitzuwirken. Ohne Zustimmung der Polizei dürfen sie die Unfallstelle nur verlassen, soweit sie selbst Hilfe benötigen, oder um Hilfe oder die Polizei herbeizurufen.
3 Ist nur Sachschaden entstanden, so hat der Schädiger sofort den Geschädigten zu benachrichtigen und Namen und Adresse anzugeben. Wenn dies nicht möglich ist, hat er unverzüglich die Polizei zu verständigen.
4 Bei Unfällen auf Bahnübergängen haben die Beteiligten die Bahnverwaltung unverzüglich zu benachrichtigen.
Quick translation of the relevant parts. (bolded above)

1 After an accident with a motor vehicle or a bicycle, everyone involved must stop.
2 If people are injured... the involved persons, first and foremost the drivers, must notify the police.
3 If property is damaged and the person who caused the damage is unable to contact the owner of the damaged property immediately and leave his name and address, he must notify the police.
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Old 16.02.2012, 11:50
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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Either fill out the Accident Form helpfully linked or i you don't have the accident form, write down what happened and who admits responsibility, in duplicate, both should sign.
I don't know about Switzerland, but in the UK it is expressly forbidden by your insurance company to make any admission of guilt concerning an accident, and certainly don't sign anything (especially if you are in the wrong).
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Old 16.02.2012, 12:02
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Re: Car crash - Police involved?

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I don't know about Switzerland, but in the UK it is expressly forbidden by your insurance company to make any admission of guilt concerning an accident, and certainly don't sign anything (especially if you are in the wrong).
In this case, if I did think it was your fault and not mine and you disagreed, I would indeed call the police. Investigating what happened days or weeks after the accident is not that easy.

To add, it's a valid point though. Could someone check their Swiss insurance terms, does it have such a clause? If so I will have to revise my post above.
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