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The accident report: what you must know

Published on 19.07.2021

Few motorists are aware of the fact that when the versions of the drivers involved differ, certain points of the accident report will have more importance than others.


We all have a document called “constat amiable” (accident report) nicely tucked away, in principle, in our vehicle’s glove compartment. We also know that this document has to be completed and signed in the event of an accident so as to allow the insurance companies to process claims and to have a chance of obtaining compensation to cover any expenses. However, there are still certain not insignificant details about which too little is known.
 
In practice, many users rush to complete section No. 14 headed “My observations” in order to describe their own version of how the accident happened and so seeking to lay the blame as best they can on the other driver. For example: “He went through a red light!” “The other driver didn't give way!” or “vehicle B ran into me while I was stationary!”
 

Rather a good sketch than thousand words

 
By making such statements, the motorists concerned sometimes believe, mistakenly, that they will not be held responsible and that they have solid proof vis-à-vis the other party. While it is preferable not to omit any part of the report and for it to be as complete as possible, it must be borne in mind that in the event of a dispute, such statements - those made under “My observations” - will have only a limited application.
 
Legally speaking, this means that if the other party challenges these statements they cannot constitute proof against the other party, unlike the content of headings Nos. 10 to 13 including in particular the boxes to be ticked “circumstances, No. 12” and the “sketch of the accident, No. 13” given that these elements may have the value of admissions.
 
It should therefore be borne in mind that as a general rule, the personal statements of a driver, however precise they may be, will not be taken into account if they contradicted in particular by the content of the sketch and by that of the boxes of heading No. 12.
 
In short, as regards the “constat amiable”, it’s better to practise your drawing skills than your writing skills!
 
Maître Clément MARTINEZ
Barrister
SOREL & MARTINEZ law firm
 

ACL's advice
In the event of an accident, the motorists involved are often under stress, so ACL recommends that you complete an accident report form in advance, filling in all the details of the vehicle involved, the driver’s identity and the details of the company insuring the vehicle. This will allow you to focus on the circumstances of the accident, the sketch and description of the damage, and to ensure that the other driver has filled in all the required data.

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