An innovative decree (Executive Order 39146-MOPT), allows car owners involved in minor car accidents to settle out-of-court through the use of a new collisions form, starting on January 7, 2016. This eliminates the need to call the police to the scene of the accident, although for insurance purposes, the normal insurance procedures must still be followed.
The form, called the Declaration of Minor Accidents (DAM, for its Spanish Acronym), is currently available for download in the webpage of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation. As its name implies, this document is not applicable for all collisions, and may therefore only be applied under the following conditions:
A. The accident may only involve two motorized vehicles or one vehicle that collides with another object.
B. One of the parties must accept responsibility for the accident.
C. As defined by the decree, a minor accident is that in which only material damages to the vehicles are present, and where the severity of the collision does not affect the ability of the vehicles to move on their own, for example, without the use of a tow truck.
D. There must be no physical injuries caused by the accident, be it to the occupants of the vehicles or to third parties.
E. Those involved in the minor accident must fill out and sign the form only when all parties wish to reconcile.
It is important to note that the parties must call their respective insurance company and take the necessary photographic evidence before moving the vehicles from their original position.
Given that the desire for reconciliation is the basis of this form, if any of the parties involved does not wish to sign the DAM, the parties must call both the insurance company and the Traffic Police, as the regular procedure dictates.
Please take into account that the use of this new form, if not addressed properly, may produce difficulties for car insurance claims later on. In order to prevent you from any future inconveniences, if you are considering using this new instrument, Arias's Traffic Law specialists are ready to advise you and your company so you may decide if the new collision form is ideal for your business.