Do I have to pay compensation after a traffic accident?
In Belgium, you are obliged to take out a car insurance. This covers the damage you cause to others as a result of an accident with your car. This includes both material damage to the other party's vehicle and physical injuries to its occupants.
If, despite the legal obligation, you do not have third-party car insurance, the victim of the traffic accident will turn to the Joint Guarantee Fund, which will recover the costs from you.
Of course, a serious traffic accident (think fatality, hit-and-run drunk driving, etc.) can have consequences beyond damages, think (criminal) prosecution.
Why do I need a lawyer?
Sometimes it is not entirely clear exactly who is liable for the accident. A lawyer will help you determine, based on evidence and testimony, who is at fault and therefore liable to pay compensation.
Even if liability is not disputed, there may be a discussion about compensation. In that case, too, a lawyer will help you find out whether the insurance will intervene in your case, calculate the damages and so on. A lawyer can also assist you in your communication with the insurer to make sure your evidence and views come across clearly.
Should the accident lead to a bigger case and end up in court, your lawyer can defend you there too.
A little tip: definitely consider taking out additional legal expenses insurance when taking out your compulsory third-party insurance. The cost of such legal expenses insurance is very low, but this additional insurance will reimburse the cost of a lawyer and other costs that may be involved in an accident, such as experts investigating the accident or the cost of proceedings if it comes to that.
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