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Fined for minor car accident

by Morgan

I was fined by police after a minor car accident in Switzerland. Collision with a van at under 10 kph. No damage to the van but my lights broke so towed car to garage for repairs. Police came, van left, I was taken to police station and fined CHF 1100 on the spot but they could only get CHF 300 on my credit card. I was told UK drivers always get a fine if they are involved in an accident.

Documents arrived in UK now showing balance owed of CHF 800 but no details on payment method. Is this normal?

Answer for

Fined for minor car accident in Switzerland

Hello Morgan,

I am not a lawyer and none of the following is meant as legal advice.

Fines in Switzerland are steep and depend on the seriousness. As soon as you are involved in an accident and police has to handle the matter one gets fined no matter if one is a Swiss national or a foreigner.

Violation of certain paragraphs result in stricter consequences, and fees can be added to the original offence (for example incorrect use of the car, carelessness, momentary inattention, misconduct, your age, failure to adjust to the conditions, even if driving within the speed limit, etc.). This, and additional administration fees can become astronomical, but again, that has nothing to do with the nationality. I even got fined for having to proof that I changed tires after being fined for not having enough profile. On-the-spot payment is normal.

If you feel you have been incorrectly treated I would ask for legal advice from a lawyer or your legal protection insurance (if you have one) to see if you can appeal to have the fine reduced.

I would think that there was some kind of slip attached with specific instructions. If you see IBAN and SWIFT codes you can pay online. You could wire your payment, but I suppose that's the most expensive solution. Why not contact the police (phone, snail mail or email if provided) and ask for payment instructions.

Hope that helps.

- Info on driving in Switzerland

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