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… YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT OR AN ASSAULT

All persons who have been assaulted or in an accident must report the incident to the Police. This is called making a denunica, and is required by law for all cases, ranging from bag snatching to more serious crimes and accidents.

HOW TO MAKE A DENUNCIA

Denuncias can be made by phone in Spanish and English, by calling 902 102 112, as well as on the Internet in Spanish at www.policia.es/denuncias/entrada . Otherwise, they can be made at the nearest Comisaría de Policia.


If necessary, and in major incidents, the Police will provide an interpreter.


FURTHER ACTION

The completed statements together with police reports are submitted to an Examining Magistrate for their consideration and further action if necessary.

CLAIMING DAMAGES
There are two methods for claiming damages: through criminal and civil proceedings. Reports must me made within two months of the accident or assault if criminal proceedings are to be taken. For civil proceedings, reports must be lodged within one year of the incident

COURT ACTION
The Examining Magistrate decides if further action is to be taken, and it is their sole decision to order an arrest or further investigation. The Magistrate will summon witnesses as necessary. Their costs should be recoverable, but reimbursements are usually less than expected. It can take up to two years or longer for a case to be brought to trial.

Injured parties may engage private lawyers to help prosecute their case and look after their interests in court. There is not provision for this expenditure to be reimbursed other than as part of a general judgement on costs - which would then depend on the accuser's ability to pay.

Spanish courts usually recess from the end of July to mid-September and over the Christmas and Easter periods. Exceptions are sometimes made for major trials.

RELEASE OF INFORMATION BY THE COURT
Police reports are considered to be court property and are not readily available to the general public. Prosecuting (including those privately engaged) and defence layers, together with their clients, may have access to the papers. Copies are rarely made available but it is possible for legal representatives to apply to the Examining Magistrate for a copy of a particular report, although in practice it is seldom released.


INSURANCE CLAIMS

For visitors to Spain, UK or other overseas insurers will normally negotiate directly with the other party's insurers. Residents should lodge the claim directly with the Spanish company involved. Anyone suffering physical injury or other major damages as a result of a motor accident is strongly recommended to obtain legal advice before accepting any compensation

COMPENSATION

Applications for compensation are made to the court within whose jurisdiction an accident took place. In cases involving physical injury, and examination by the court's doctor will be necessary. The Examining Magistrate decides whether compensation is payable by the defendant and how much it should be. Compensation claims can take a long time, and payments are generally lower than in the UK.

COMPENSATION FUNDS

Motor Accident Compensation Fund
The various local insurance companies have established this. In cases where the guilty party is uninsured or unknown, the Examining Magistrate decides the amount of compensation payable.

The Criminal Compensation Fund Law
This became effective in 1996, and provides for compensation in cases of death, serious injury, and serious damage to mental health or sexual abuse. Claims for criminal acts must be submitted within one year of the incident or Court ruling on criminal prosecution to the Spanish Tax Office (Hacienda) (www.minhac.es), the Finance Ministry of the relevant Administrative Authority Registry (State/ Local Authority or Autonomous region government), Spanish Consulates or the Courts themselves. In cases where economic hardship as a result of the incident can be proven, provisional financial help can be requested. Any appeals against decisions must be lodged within one month, with the Comisión Nacional de Ayudas y Asistencia a las Víctimas de Delitos Violentos y Contra la Libertad Sexual. If their decision is unfavourable or not resolved within three months, it can be appealed against before the Tribunal Contencioso-Administrativo.

Damages for acts of terrorism are covered by other legislation. Claims should be made to:The Subdirección General de Asistencia a las Victimas de Terrorismo
(http://www.mir.es/indeyayu)
C/ Rafael Calvo, 33
28010 Madrid
Tel.: 91 537 1000


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