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Road Traffic Accident Claims Abroad
If you have had a road traffic accident while abroad that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation. Whether you were a driver or a passenger, our expert solicitors can help you through the claims process, providing excellent legal advice throughout so you can get on with what’s really important - recovering from your accident.
About Road Traffic Accidents Abroad
Being involved in a road traffic collision is always upsetting, but when this occurs abroad, it can add to your stress and anxiety. You won’t immediately have an understanding of the next steps, and cultural and language differences may make it more difficult for you to quickly access advice and help.
Many people don’t realise that if you have been injured as a result of a road accident abroad, whether you were travelling in your own car, a hire car, on a coach or if you were involved in an accident as a pedestrian or cyclist, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation for your injury and losses back home in England or Wales.
It is crucial that you seek specialist expert advice as soon as you know you’d like to make a claim, as different rules can apply and they need to be navigated carefully. For example, the time limits for making a claim when a road traffic collision has happened overseas can be much shorter, even as little as one year. While in some European countries, unlike in England and Wales, it is not necessary to prove that the other driver was at fault in order to secure compensation. Our team will be able to guide you to ensure you receive the advice you need to make a claim.
The value of your case following a road traffic accident abroad may be assessed under English law or may involve the local law, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. We have a network of reputable and experienced local experts who we can call on when necessary to ensure you receive the best advice for your specific situation.
What To Do If You’ve Had a Road Traffic Accident Abroad
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident abroad, here are some tips on what you should do. Some of these measures can be used to support a compensation claim.
- Make sure you take photographs of the vehicles/damage/location as soon as you can - if possible, before the vehicles have been moved.
- Report the accident to the local police and ask for the police reference number, the name of the station they are from and the officers’ names to assist in obtaining the formal police report later.
- Complete any paperwork the police provide to you, ask for an interpreter if you cannot read or speak the local language.
- Ask if there is any available CCTV or dash cam footage and, if so, ask for a copy.
- Make a note of the details of the drivers involved; their names, address, contact details and registration plate number.
- Seek local medical advice if you are injured, and ask the hospital for a copy of your medical records and any X-rays or scans to assist you seeking follow-up medical attention at home.
- Notify your travel and motor insurer as soon as you can - they may be able to provide you with assistance.
Driving in Western Europe: what you need to know
Each country in Western Europe has its own laws, and this also applies to the roads. To make sure you stay on the right side of the law and drive abroad with confidence, explore our guide, Driving in Western Europe: what you need to know.
As well as general advice for the continent, read detailed breakdowns for:
The Most Common Mistakes Made By UK Drivers in Europe
Driving in a foreign country can be tricky as there are many different rules and regulations compared to the UK. There are a number of mistakes that are commonly made by UK drivers abroad that could result in an accident. To help you understand what these are, we've created an infographic outlining the mistakes and how to avoid them. Take a look at the infographic here.
Can I Pursue My Claim in England or Wales?
In many cases, even though your accident happened abroad you can bring your claim back home in England or Wales. Each case depends on certain factors and we will guide you through the process, with our expert team well-equipped to advise you on your options.
For example, if you had a road accident within the EU, or as part of your package holiday, it is often possible to bring your claim here.
What Are The Time Limits to Bring a Claim Following an Accident Abroad?
The time limits differ depending on the circumstances of your case. The normal English time limit of three years does not always apply. In some countries, and for some types of accident, the time limit is much shorter.
We would always recommend you seek expert advice as early as possible so you can make a decision as to how to proceed.
What Compensation Will I Receive?
There are complex laws to determine the law that applies to making a claim for any accident that happens abroad. Often English law will apply, so you will receive the same amount of compensation as if your accident had occurred in this country.
In other cases, the local law will apply. These may be more generous than English law in some cases, but less generous in others. As this is the case, it is impossible to say how much you may receive initially.
Our team will use their skills to ensure you receive the best possible compensation for your injuries and keep you informed as to what it is likely you may receive, at regular intervals throughout the case.
How Long Will My Claim Take?
To make sure you get the best compensation for your injuries, there are various factors that need to be taken into account. These differ on a case-by-case basis, but include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether your claim can be brought in England and Wales
- Whether fault has been admitted for your accident
We ensure that you receive regular updates on the progress of your case so that you can understand what the timescale may look like, and the key factors in how it is progressing. If your symptoms and rehabilitation are ongoing, we will tailor the case around your recovery to ensure settlement is only considered at the right time for you. By way of example, if you have sustained a modest injury during a package holiday, your claim may resolve in less than a year. However, if you have ongoing complex injuries, or there are criminal proceedings pending in a foreign country stemming from the circumstances of your accident, it may take a number of years to reach a final settlement. We will do everything we can to make sure you aren’t suffering financially as a result of the accident, such as looking at whether or not we can seek interim payments for you.
Why Choose JMW?
Our accidents abroad specialists will take a look at your claim and discuss the next steps with you, explaining the claims process in a clear and concise manner.
The team’s expertise means we understand how to put together the best possible case for you. It also means we can make the process as hassle-free as possible for you by providing practical and reliable legal advice.