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What does a no-deal Brexit mean if you have an accident on holiday in Europe?

If you have an accident whilst on holiday in Europe this summer Brexit may affect your ability to bring a claim for compensation for your injuries once you are back home in England.

If we leave the European Union (EU) without a deal your ability to bring a claim is likely to be significantly impaired.

This is because we currently rely on EU regulations which provide the right for you to bring a claim in your home court. They are favourable to injured people, and in many cases allow you to bring a claim against foreign insurers in your home court and protect consumers. English and Welsh citizens also benefit from the protection under the regulations which provides a system of compensation for victims of road accidents, including those injured by uninsured or untraced drivers across the EU, via the Motor Insurers Bureau. Driving in Europe after Brexit may mean you need a green card from your insurer and an international driving permit.

If we leave the EU without a deal these favourable provisions will be lost as the regulations will be revoked. You will need to seek specialist legal advice to see if you are still able to bring a claim back home, or may have to find a local lawyer in the country where your accident occurred, which may be more difficult for you if you don’t speak the local language. You may have to pay the lawyer privately.

Leaving the EU without a deal also means there are likely to be practical issues in enforcing any judgement you may secure against a defendant in another EU country.

Personal Injury lawyers have been lobbying to preserve access to justice – the importance to individuals, including those who are seriously injured, to have the ability to bring a claim in their home court, in their home language with a local lawyer and the understanding that brings cannot be overstated. I am concerned that it is a time of legal uncertainty for clients who are injured or contract an illness whilst holidaying or working in Europe.

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