It may be trickier to make a car accident injury claim when it happened abroad, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done: Being involved in a car accident at home is surely among the worst things that can happen to you, whether or not you’re injured as a result. But what if it happens when you’re driving abroad? Different language, culture, laws and regulations – how on earth do you go about making a claim for compensation?
Here’s what you need to know to avoid injury on foreign roads, damage to your vehicle and, if you have to, making a car accident injury claim.
1. Be Prepared
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be fully prepared before setting off on a long-distance, cross-border journey in your car, or hiring one along the way. But how many of us are tempted to just hop into our cars and motor off without a care? After all, the vehicle is in fine shape and you’ve got a licence and insurance. What could possibly go wrong? As we all know in the back of our minds, the answer is plenty.
You might find, for instance, that you’ve arrived in a destination outside the European Union – or Europe, given that we’re in the process of leaving the bloc – and your British driving licence is not enough. In places like the United States, Hong Kong and parts of South America, you will be required to also carry an International Driving Permit. In fact, it’s required in more than 140 countries around the world. The good news is it’s easy to get from the Post Office and doesn’t cost much.
If you are travelling under your own steam, for your own sake and those going with you, have your local garage give your vehicle a once-over before you leave. If not, you could be among many drivers looking at No Win, No Fee holiday claims for something that happened on the road.
2. Disaster Strikes and May Lead to a Car Accident Injury Claim
You’re driving on a road in unfamiliar territory and the unthinkable happens: you’re involved in an accident. It’s easy to panic and lose your head, but calmness is required to deal with this critical situation – even if there are no evident injuries among those involved. Try to keep as cool as possible.
First of all, it may not be evident which party was at fault — and if the other driver is local, they may be tempted to blame the person unfamiliar with the roads in their country (especially if they drive on the other side). So make a firm point of not even apologising, or admitting any liability, as it may be used against you. Then, take out your phone and take photographs of the vehicles involved, showing their number plates and positions if possible.
If there are any witnesses to the accident – passers by on a small road, for instance, or other motorists who saw what happened and stopped to offer assistance – get their names and addresses, as they may be extremely useful later on with a No Win, No Fee holiday claim. You will also have to give your insurance details to the other driver, and they will have to hand theirs over to you.
3. Call the Cops
Don’t know the number of the police in the foreign country you’re in? Don’t fret; Google it – and certainly don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get away without calling the police to the accident site. That’s because it’s a legal requirement in most countries where a road accident involves a vehicle from another country.
4. Have Documentation at the Ready
When the police turn up, you’ll need to show them your driving licence (along with your International Driving Permit, if you’re in a related country); vehicle registration, to prove the car is yours; and your insurance certificate. Again, don’t admit any wrongdoing on your behalf and, if you’re in the EU (for now), don’t sign anything other than a European Accident Statement. That document only ensures both parties give each other important information, such as insurance details, and facilitates agreement as to what happened to cause the accident.
5. Get the Best Legal Advice You Can (and for Free)
It stands to reason that if you’re going to go ahead and make a claim for a car accident injury claim and contest the other party’s claim that they were not at fault, you’ll need the very best legal advice you can get. It’s all the more essential when the accident happened abroad, as you’ll need expert motoring accident assistance. Thankfully, many solicitors in the UK nowadays handle No Win, No Fee holiday claims, including for car accidents abroad, meaning your personal finances are not at risk.
Then, you’ll be firmly on the road to successfully claiming compensation for a car accident injury claim, easing the worries caused by your accident abroad.