European Road Accident Claims
If you are involved in a Road Accident in mainland Europe, perhaps during a holiday or whilst on a business trip, you are entitled to bring a claim for damages for personal injury and financial losses. Many people do not make a claim and it is easy to see why. Usually it’s the language barrier that is the problem along with the inconvenience and the feeling that as a Brit abroad, the foreign legal system will not do you any favours. It can be very daunting navigating your way through a foreign legal system if you are unfortunate enough to suffer an accident abroad.
Many solicitors in the UK do not take on personal injury cases that happen abroad.
Levenes, are no win no fee specialists in cross border personal injury litigation. We speak most of the main European languages and we have access to a network of European lawyers who can be called upon to assist us should the need arise.
If you have a road accident in another European Union state and suffer injuries as a result, you can make your claim through the English courts.
European Motor Insurance directives which apply to all EU states make a number of provisions to help you:
- They give you the right to make your claim in your local county court in England or Wales if you are domiciled (permanent resident) in England or Wales.
- You can make your claim directly against the foreign insurer of the motorist who hit you.
- The foreign insurer is legally obliged to appoint an agent in the UK (usually a British insurance company) to handle the claim for them in the UK.
This all means that you can make your claim once you are back from holiday.
With European legislation things are never simple. Which is why Levenes are here to help.
Firstly, the question of liability (who is to blame for the accident) and quantum (how much you can claim) is still decided by the law of the place where the accident happened, unless the driver who hit you was another Englishman abroad. The English judge would award you the same compensation as would be awarded to a Spaniard whose accident happened in Spain or to a German whose accident happened in Germany.
That can make it easier to claim because in many European countries there is a system of strict liability meaning that you do not have to prove who was to blame for the accident. However, the awards of damages may well be lower, as the award of compensation for your injuries and financial losses will depend on what claims you are allowed in that nation.
Secondly, there are time limits to trip up the unwary. In English law, you have 3 years (in most cases) to bring a claim. In France you normally have 10 years. In Spain it’s normally only 1 year. It’s important for this reason to contact us about making a claim as soon as you can.
The rules about costs are the same for accidents in England and Wales. We can claim your legal costs on a “no win no fee” basis, which means that if we take on your case, you will not have to pay anything, win or lose. In addition, you might have legal expenses insurance cover on your home or travel insurance.
What about Scotland, Northern and Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
The Republic of Ireland is an EU member state and the rules apply to accidents in Ireland as they do to other EU nations.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legal systems but they are also part of the UK which is part of the EU, so if you have an accident in Northern Ireland and Scotland you can bring your claim in England if you are resident in England.
Levenes are specialists in cross border personal injury litigation. We speak most of the main European languages and we have access to a network of European lawyers who can be called upon to assist us should the need arise.
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We offer a genuine 'no win no fee' service, meaning that if your claim is unsuccessful, you don’t pay a penny.
With a nationwide service, we can visit you at home, work or in hospital.
We successfully conclude thousands of cases each year, securing compensation for our clients from £1,000 to over £1,000,000.