Questions of law all about hitchhiking in Germany
Insurance coverage and compensation
If an accident occurs it's important that the hitchhiker is insured. In particular liability questions, e.g. damages, are often a matter of ignorance.
It's differentiated between three cases:
1. A third party is responsible
This is the simplest case. If a third party (therefore not the driver who has given someone a lift) has caused the accident, than that person or rather his third party liability insurance is liable for the hitchhiker like for all other victims. Therefore the hitchhiker has claim on damages to the third party.
2. The driver is responsible
If the driver who has given someone a lift has caused the accident, he or rather his third party liability insurance is also liable for the hitchhiker unless he has asked the hitchhiker for a waiver of liability. In that case the driver asks for a relinquishment of all claims against him or his insurance if an accident occurs. If the hitchhiker agrees to this, also orally, the hitchhiker doesn't have any damages claims.
However something like that was never required of me.
3. Nobody is responsible
If an accident is caused by an act of God, for example by a burst tyre, the third party liability insurance doesn't pay compensation. Only the comprehensive insurance may be liable in this case, if one exists.
However, this case doesn't differ from joining a friend in his car.
A private accident insurance is always a good idea not only for hitchhikers.
Thanks a lot to the police authority of Lower Franconia for the friendly support.
All given information doesn't act as legal advice and shall only serve as rough clue and not as binding facts. Despite careful investigation I cannot accept liability for errors and mistakes. This site handles German law only. For other countries please consult other sources.