European Road Accidents
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.
Cross Border Specialists
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.
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.
Making a claim
Firstly, the question of liability (blame) and quantum (how much) is still decided by the law of the place where the accident happened, unless the driver who hit you was another UK citizen abroad. The English judge would award you the same 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 strict liability – meaning that you do not have to prove blame. However, damages may well be lower, as the award of compensation will depend on what claims you are allowed in that nation.
Secondly, there are time limits; In English law, you have 3 years (usually) to bring a claim. In France, it’s normally 10, but in Spain it’s normally 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 work 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 insurance cover with your home or travel insurance.
What about Scotland and Ireland?
Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legal systems but they are also part of the UK, so if you have an accident in Northern Ireland and Scotland you can bring your claim in England if you are resident in England.