Road Traffic Accidents

The victims of road traffic accidents, whether pedestrians or drivers or passengers of a vehicle involved in an incident, are often entitled to compensation from the liable or partly liable person, as well as from the respective insurance company of the liable vehicle. Exceptionally in road traffic accidents the law allows for direct action against the liable vehicle’s insurer, in conformity with the relevant European legislation.

It is very important for the victims of road traffic accidents to be represented before the investigating police and public prosecution authorities by a skillful and experienced lawyer, right from the very beginning, and to make sure that their rights are duly respected, by participating in witnesses’ examinations and technical investigations.

The quantum of compensation awarded by Courts may vary greatly, depending on the presentation and proof of the circumstances and the establishment of liability for the accident. This is where the representation by a law firm with knowledge and experience in this field plays a very significant role.

Pavlakis – Moschos & Associates are experts in the handling of complex road traffic accidents, acting always on the side of the victims and playing a significant role in the development of the jurisprudence in this field.

Members of our law firm participate regularly in seminars and conferences, in Greece and abroad, staying updated of the last international developments in the road traffic accident law and jurisprudence. See presentation on Greek law on damages in RTA accidents entitled “Claims for Damages Following Fatal Accidents in Greece” by Ioannis Pavlakis at the Pan – European Organization of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) RTA & Whiplash Conference held in Turin, Italy in March 2013 (PowerPoint – pdf).

Note: Foreign citizens who suffer a road traffic accident in Greece enjoy the same rights for compensation as Greek citizens, irrespectively of whether they have been staying legally or illegally in the country.

Illustrative Cases

A female pedestrian was crossing a main avenue in Athens at a long distance from the designated pedestrian crossing and was hit and instantly killed by a motorcyclist. According to the official road traffic police report which was based on the statements of eyewitnesses, the pedestrian jumped into the avenue, notwithstanding the oncoming traffic. Our office was retained by the family of the deceased pedestrian just a few days after the accident, and was able to secure footage from a road traffic camera which was never examined by the police before the data was erased. At court we proved that the accident took place after the pedestrian had already crossed more than two out of the tree avenue lanes and had already been on the road long enough for the liable driver to notice, had he been careful, thus overturning the data recorded by the road traffic police in their report. The Court found the driver of the motorcycle exclusively liable for the death of the pedestrian and the bereaved family, namely the husband, children and siblings of the deceased, were fully compensated for their loss and for the psychological damage and grief.

A 34years old French national riding a motorbike on the national road (highway) Athens – Patra, was killed after a passenger vehicle coming from the opposite direction, in an attempt to avoid tires retread debris of a preceding bus, lost control, suddenly entered the motorbike’s lane, and collided with it. Our office judicially pursued the case in the Courts of Athens against the liable vehicle’ s insurer and its responsible driver, and the family of the deceased, namely the father, mother and brother of the deceased, French nationals and residents of France, received substantial amounts as moral damages under Greek law, notwithstanding the fact that they were not financially dependent on the deceased.

Two immigrant workers, riding a motorcycle, were fatally injured by a private car driven by an Italian national, resident of Mykonos, when the motorcycle emerged from a side-road without adequately checking that there was no traffic on the main road. Our firm represented the families of the deceased Egyptian nationals, and filed compensation lawsuits before the competent civil courts. Although the motorcyclists had violated the applicable priority rule at the cross-way, our team proved that the private car had violated the speed limit and was speed driving in the circumstances, and subsequently the Court found the driver of the car co-liable for the death of the motorcyclists and awarded compensation to the beneficiary relatives of the deceased motorcyclists (widows, children, siblings and parents).

Two Norwegian tourists taking a walk on the island of Crete were seriously injured by an oncoming private vehicle the driver of which hit them and then abandoned them and disappeared. On the basis of the descriptions given by the two victims, the vehicle and driver were located by the local police three days later. Our office represented the victims of the road traffic accident before the Courts of Athens, and, after completion of a medical examination by a court appointed expert, both victims were awarded compensation for their monetary loss as well as for their moral damage

A foreign illegal immigrant from Morocco entered the northern borders of Greece escaping the border control, since he did not possess the required legal documents of identification and permits. He was offered a lift to the next town by a private car which he hitch-hiked after he had entered the Greek territory, but a few minutes later the car crashed into another vehicle and the foreign immigrant was killed. An action for compensation of the family of the victim was filed in Greek Courts against both cars’ insurance companies, based on the fault/negligence of both drivers and the illegal immigrant’s family, consisting of parents and a number of brothers and sisters, living in a village of Morocco. All the aforementioned relatives of the deceased illegal immigrant were awarded substantial amounts as recovery for their mental pain and sorrow for the loss of their beloved relative, as it was immaterial whether the victim was lawfully or not in the country

A pedestrian Egyptian national was seriously injured in Athens after being hit by a private passenger vehicle. The victim was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, but a few weeks after hospitalization there was a complication with a hematoma that he had suffered in the course of the road traffic accident that caused him a heart attack, and he subsequently died. A compensation lawsuit was filed by our firm on behalf of the victim’s family before the Court of First of Instance of Athens which found the driver of the vehicle liable for the death of pedestrian. Upon appeal, the Athens Court of Appeal raised considerably the amount of compensation that was initially awarded to the mother, the children and each one of the brothers of the deceased by the Court of First Instance.

Our office represented the families of the six passengers of two opposite moving vehicles which crashed on a national road in Komotini as a result of which both drivers and all passengers of both vehicles were instantly killed (6 persons). Although one of the drivers was found exclusively liable for the accident, the relatives of both vehicles were awarded substantial amounts as moral damages for the loss of their beloved relatives.

A 32years old woman was fatally injured whilst being a passenger in the car driven by her husband. Her husband lost control of the vehicle, which went into a ditch and caused the woman’s death. Notwithstanding the fact that the husband was solely responsible for the accident and the resulting death of his wife, we were successful in judicially pursuing the case against the vehicle’s insurers arguing that the husband has been responsible for the accident of his wife-passenger. We acted for the minor daughter of the deceased woman, who was however in this instance -paradoxically- legally represented by her father and sole guardian, i.e. by the responsible driver, as well as on behalf of other close relatives of the deceased. Compensation was awarded and finally paid by the responsible driver’s insurers. The victim’s minor daughter’s compensation was paid to her father, whose capacity as the minor’s guardian coincided with him being the person responsible for the accident.

The First Instance Administrative Court of Ioannina in Northern Greece, awarded a total of Euro 1.400.000 as moral damages to our clients, the parents and siblings of two lieutenant captains of the Greek Army who died tragically under an armored combat vehicle BMP-1 during military training exercises.

The terrible accident which happened in May 5, 2004 at a military training camp in Ioannina Northern Greece, and which caused the injury of another 19 officers was the reason for which the Chief of the Greek Army General Staff was immediately relieved of his duties. Court Marshall criminal trials are still on and while the driver of the fatal armored vehicle has already been convicted the trial for the maintenance personnel may still continue before the Supreme Court of Greece.