Having a car accident abroad can be frightening. In the UK, the rules of the road are pretty simple to understand if you are an experienced driver. Abroad, it can get complicated. After all, the roads are different in and outside of the EU. You will also have to consider the type of vehicle you are driving. Your own car may have been damaged in the process of the accident, however if you have hired out a vehicle, you need to consider what sort of insurance you need to protect yourself against any collisions.
Gowing Law Solicitors are here to help you with your car accident if you are travelling abroad. This informative guide will give you some useful tips about how you can get the compensation you deserve for any sort of car accident abroad.
Protecting yourself from car accidents abroad before the journey
One of most important things you may be worrying about is the impact of Brexit on any costly accidents you have abroad. However, the first thing you need to do is not panic. Although the rules for passports, EHIC cards, pet travel, driving and accident cover may change on the 1st January 2021 in the UK, if you plan for it in advance then you should be fully prepared to deal with any sort of car accident abroad.
Make sure to make preparations before you go on holiday. You should be considering what sort of insurance you should purchase if you intend to go to the EU or further abroad. If you are going to drive in EU countries then you will need to have at least third party cover. However, if you are going to a non-EU country, your “green card” should prove that you have at least minimum cover to protect you from any sort of accidents in the future. Your insurer should be able to know how to issue you with one.
Check the overseas driving rules before you go on holiday
Obviously, different countries have different rules for the road. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with local speed limits and road signs. You may want to consider packing extra equipment that can help you drive safely on the road, especially if you are hiring out a car. This can include:
- Emission stickers (permits) bought weeks in advance
- Headlight converter stickers
- Reflective jackets and warning triangle
- GB stickers
Be careful if you intend to hire a vehicle abroad. The hire company may ask for your driving licence and driving information. You should consider getting a licence “check code”. This can be purchased up to 21 days before your trip.
Accidents in Europe: Your Rights
Car accidents abroad are more common than you might think. If you have had a collision in the EU, then you can use the system in the European Motor Insurance Directive. This should help you reach a fast settlement of your accident claim. However, keep aware that your claim may be under a different time limit as it happened outside of the UK. Make sure to familiarize yourself with this before your holiday. That way you can always be fully prepared for the worst.
If you were the cause of the accident then the victim, in the other vehicle, may be able to pursue legal damages against you through the green card scheme. You can only claim compensation for your traffic accident if you can prove that you were not the person at fault (aka. not liable for the accident). Traffic accidents are very complicated. You may have to accept partial responsibility, aka. that both you and the other driver in some way caused the collision, or it may even turn out that you were liable for the collision. Take a look at our example below to see what could make a victim of a collision a “non-liable party”.
As you can see from our case study, clearly Thomas suffered losses due to his accident. He had a passenger in the car who had whiplash, therefore was physically hurt, and his car suffered damages and was clearly in need of repair. His losses warranted him to make a compensation claim against the drunk driver. As they were intoxicated whilst driving on the road, and were not paying attention, they caused the accident. Therefore, they are the one who needs to pay compensation to help Thomas get his car fixed and potentially help with his wife’s injuries.
What should you do at the scene of a car accident abroad?
Whether you are involved in a car accident abroad or were on a motorcycle or bike, one of the first things you need to consider is your safety. Have you been hurt in the collision? If you are suffering from bad injuries then you should go to the hospital to get treatment, however you may also want to go to get a medical report (aka. proof of your injuries). You should also consider phoning the police to have a police report created about the car accident. This report can be copied so that you can use it as evidence once you take the case to court.
You should also:
- Make notes about the accident.
- Take photographs and videos of the accident (including any images of the car’s number plates and the position of the vehicles and environment).
- Ask the other driver for their insurance driver.
- Take statements/notes from witnesses (make sure to also take down their contact details)
- Ask for a translator if you cannot understand the language
European Accident Statements
Now, this depends on whether or not you are driving in Europe. However, most insurance companies will give their drivers a European Accident Statement (EAS). These are statements that can be provided at the scene of an accident. It is a form that comes in various languages and states standard facts about your rights and insurance claims. Make sure to only sign this form if you fully understand the situation and the accident you have been party. You are entitled to receive a copy of the accident statement to be used as evidence in your claim.
If you do not have an EAS then you will need to write down the following information about the accident and driver:
- The date, country and place of the accident
- Contact details and name of the other driver
- The contact details of the other driver’s insurer
- Registration number of the other vehicle
- Registration country of the other vehicle
- Type of vehicle involved in the accident
- Names & contact details of the witnesses
- Information from police reports
- Circumstances behind the accident and whether the parties agree on them
Hired Cars vs Your Own Car
Another thing that you will need to consider during your accident is the type of vehicle you are driving. It is likely that you will not be driving your own vehicle, and will most likely have hired a car. That’s why if it gets damaged it is your responsibility to tell your insurer and the hiring company precisely what happened. That way they can make preparations for you to get a different vehicle and make sure your insurance pay-out is fully arranged.
As you can see, there are a few differences when it comes to dealing with an accident claim in a hired car vs your own car. In any sort of rented vehicle, you need to remember that this is not actually your car. It is a loan. Think of it like you are renting a flat. The only way to get your deposit back is to make sure that that flat is in tip top condition or in the way that you left it. A rented car needs to be in a similar condition. If there are any problems then it will need to be reported immediately. Do not try to do any repairs on a rented vehicle. Instead, tell your rental agency about the problems with the vehicle. They can sort out the repairs for themselves or approve of any repairs you want to make.
How can a lawyer help you with your car accident abroad?
Road traffic accidents are some of the most common cases that lawyers deal with. However, these claims can get more complicated if they happen abroad, due to differing legal codes. This is why they can be extremely difficult to deal with on your own. Not only could you be suffering from your injuries, but adding on the extra stress of a claims case can really have an impact on your mental health and recovery time. This is where an experienced traffic accident lawyer can come in handy.
Your lawyer will know exactly what sort of compensation you could be looking at. Their main aim is to prove that you suffered losses due to the accidents. This includes:
- Physical Injuries
- Emotional Trauma
- Damages to your vehicle
- Financial losses
- Medical expenses
A trained traffic accident solicitor will go through your case and pick out important evidence to support the fact that you were not at fault for the accident. Any compensation claimed will be to return you to the place you were before you had the accident. Therefore, they will be able to make a rough estimate about what you could potentially be owed. It is useful having this experience on your side. It will help you avoid any potential pitfalls that could invalidate your claim.
Gowing Law’s traffic accident solicitors can help you!
If you are ready to get the compensation that you deserve, it’s time for you to get in contact with Gowing Law Solicitors. Our trained car accident specialists know exactly how to get you the outcome that you deserve. Let them know as much as possible about your claim and they can get started.
Gowing Law’s specialists can offer you free advice and consultations about your claim. We can do this remotely if you are worried about Covid-19. This means that we can communicate over a phone or video call. We can also send you important documentation over email to ensure that we can lessen the spread of the virus. If you decide to work with us, our experienced solicitors can offer you their services on a ”no-win no-fee basis”. That means even if they do not win your case, you will not need to pay out for any fees. There is no risk, therefore you should get in contact with us as quickly as possible.
Make sure that you get your claim in as quickly as possible. Covid-19 has created a long backlog for the judicial system in the UK. That means there is a higher chance that it will take longer for your claim to process. So, let us know how we can help you as quickly as possible! Call 08000418350, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our direct messaging chat located on our contact page. From there, a member of our team will be in contact with you as quickly as possible to answer your questions.
Ready to learn more about traffic claims?
If you want to learn more about traffic accidents in the UK, our blog has a number of interesting articles that cater to your interests! This includes information about traffic accident claim evidence and accidents on public transport. We also talk about financial mis-selling, personal injuries and accidents at work. These blogs are the perfect thing to brush up your knowledge on any sort of claims case. They will also help you understand your claim before you get in contact with your solicitor.
Keep an eye on our blog. We update it every week with new content! If you want to see us cover a certain topic or want to sign up to our weekly newsletter, let us know! Email email@example.com and we will listen to all of your suggestions. Our helpful team will be in contact with as quickly as possible to answer any additional questions.
We wish you the best of luck with your traffic accident claim and look forward to seeing you in our next blog.