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Claiming for a personal injury accident abroad and the different regimes

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Sun Awareness 2018 - 14th-20th May

When planning a trip abroad the last thing holiday-makers want to think about is getting hurt or sick, however as more of us choose to travel abroad each year it is unfortunately inevitable that accidents will happen whilst away from home.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence then you may be entitled to compensation. The regulations that will apply depend on the way your holiday was booked, for example, when booking a package holiday you are covered by the Package Travel, Package Holidays, and Package Tours Regulations 1992. This means that if you have suffered an illness or injury you can pursue a claim against the tour operator.

It is also possible to make a claim for an accident which occurred on a self-booked holiday; the correct defendant to pursue will then depend on the circumstances of the accident.

Accident abroad

If you are involved in an accident abroad then it is important to bear in mind that the compensation recoverable will depend on the country in which the accident happened. The law of that country will apply; therefore it is particularly important to seek specialist legal advice.

Not only do levels of compensation vary between each country, but also the way in which liability for an accident is determined; for example, in road traffic accidents. In the UK, we have a fault based system in which the claimant must prove (on the balance of probabilities) that the defendant was negligent. This system is also used in other countries such as Ireland, Cyprus and Romania, however this is not the case in many other countries. In France, there is a presumed liability on behalf of the vehicle driver, which allows a claimant to recover compensation from the other driver involved. Other countries such as Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain also operative a strict liability system similar to that of France.

Under the French ‘Loi Badinter’ this can often lead to both parties being paid in full by the other’s insurance company, something which is unlikely to happen in most countries. This has also led to some interesting settlements in French claims, such as a cyclist being compensated for his injuries after riding into a parked and unattended vehicle!

What should I do if I'm involved in and accident abroad?

Whether it be a road traffic accident, an accident whilst working abroad, or holiday sickness, our personal injury solicitors have a wide range of experience acting on compensation claims abroad and our knowledgeable team can help with most sets of circumstances - just give us a call on 01616 966 229 and we will go through the whole process with you ensuring you get the kind of compensation that you deserve.

By Katie Plappert, claims handler in the personal injury department