What are my rights in a traffic accident?
Nowadays the car is a necessary convenience. However, nobody really is insured against accidents and responsible behavior is always required, especially when on the road as a driver. Caution and precision are sometimes lifesaving not only for me but for the others involved in the traffic. Here are some guidelines that might be helpful if I’m involved in a traffic accident.
In case I am involved in a car accident:
1. I have to stop and find out what are the consequences of the accident. If I leave the scene or act as I don’t know what happened, the other driver(s) may file a complaint against me. Soon the police will come to inspect the vehicles. If there are marks on my vehicle caused by the accident, act of administrative violation is drawn up. The consequences may vary.
NB! If I “tactfully” leave or escape from the scene, the law will treat me as if I’ve committed a crime “while being drunk or after taking drugs.” This will lead to penalty provided in the Criminal Code.
2. I must inform the police, if someone is injured or property damage is caused.
3. I have to stay at the scene and wait for the arrival of the police. Until they arrive, it is desirable to take measures for the road safety and to assist the victims, if any.
4. It is important that I should NOT move the vehicle IF it doesn’t interfere with the traffic, and not to change its position until the arrival of the police officer. If it’s necessary to transport the injured to the hospital, then I must immediately return to the scene afterwards.
These actions should be taken even if I’m not directly involved in the accident!
Once the police arrive at the scene they will draw up a act of road accident against me, if it is determined that the accident was my fault.
• If I have any objections, they will be marked in the statement.
• In addition, under the statement, I can submit objections within three days of its issuance to the Head of the Police Department! If I don’t file the objections in time, then a penalty decree is issued.
• I can appeal against the penalty decree within 7 days before the District Court, determined by the area where the offense was committed.
When the police arrive, they will draw up different kinds of protocols, reports, statements and other documents. Transcript of the documents relevant to the accident I can obtain even if I’m a third person who is injured by the accident or if I’ve lost the scripts. This would be possible by making a written request to the body that issued the report. If I have insurance prepared, I will require the documents to prove the occurrence of the event to my insurer and to have a claim on the insurance company.
The police authorities do not come to the scene and draw up documents when:
1. damage to the vehicle resulted from natural disasters;
2. the vehicle was damaged in fire;
3. damage to the vehicle originated while it was parked;
4. damage to the vehicle wasn’t caused by another vehicle;
5. the windshield was damaged.
(*) The article aims to explain basic rights under Bulgarian law and it is not to be considered as a legal advisor. We strongly advise you to hire a lawyer, if you experience trouble understanding and using these rights. (*)
Translated and edited by:
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§ The Road Traffic Act
§ Regulation on the documents and procedures to establish them in road accidents and procedure for information between the Ministry of Interior, the Financial Supervision Commission and the Information Centre to the Guarantee Fund;
§ The Administrative Violations and Sanctions Act