Whether you have travelled abroad on holiday or for work, you expect to be safe and free from hazards to your health and safety. But accidents sometimes occur, and some of them can be life-changing. If you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to make an accident abroad claim.
An accident abroad can cause a wide range of injuries, from cuts and bruises to severe fractures and brain injuries. If you have a valid claim, you can receive compensation for your pain, suffering and related financial losses, such as lost wages and medical bills.
To find out if you are eligible for accident abroad compensation, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a trained legal adviser. Alternatively, you can enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
Can I claim compensation for an accident abroad?
The easiest way to find out if you are entitled to compensation is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. Typically, accident abroad claims are possible whenever:
- You have suffered an injury or injuries in an accident for which someone else who owed you a duty of care was to blame; or
- You were injured as a result of a criminal act in which you were a blameless victim
It is essential to remember there are strict time limits for starting a personal injury claim. Under UK law, you can begin a claim within three years after an accident, but the time limit can vary considerably in other countries.
You could also seek accident abroad compensation on behalf of a loved one who cannot claim for themselves due to either:
- Their young age
- The severity of their injuries
- A pre-existing condition affecting their mental capacity
- They have since passed away
If you have a valid claim, you don’t have to worry about the financial risk of hiring a solicitor. The personal injury solicitors we work with will offer you a No Win No Fee service, so there are no upfront costs, and you won’t be left out of pocket if your case fails.
What should I do if I am injured abroad?
Wherever you have travelled, if you were involved in an accident, it is crucial to have evidence of where and how the injury occurred to pursue compensation successfully. Some of the things you should try to do directly after an accident in another country include:
- Seek medical attention and make sure to get a copy of any medical records and diagnostic tests you received;
- Take photographs of the location of the accident and any relevant factors that have led to your injury, such as a wet floor or other hazards;
- Take photos of any visible injuries and damaged property;
- Secure any CCTV or dash cam footage of the events if available;
- Get the names and contact details of witnesses for future statements to support your accident abroad claim;
- If you were involved in a traffic accident or an assault, call the authorities and get a copy of the police report;
- If you booked your holiday through a travel company, inform them of your accident;
- If your accident was in a hotel or other public area, alert the staff at the location and make sure they make a record of the events;
- If you were injured while working abroad, make sure to file an accident report with your employer and ask for a signed copy of it;
- Write down everything you can remember about what happened, the injuries you suffered and how they have affected your life;
- Keep evidence of all your financial losses and expenses, such as receipts, invoices and wage slips.
If you believe your injury was due to someone else’s negligence, consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They will ask you a few questions and evaluate the available evidence to determine if you have a valid accident abroad compensation claim. If they can assign liability to a third party, they will contact the other side and help secure compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
Can I make my personal injury claim in the UK?
If you suffered an injury abroad, there are many cases where you can still make your claim in the UK, including when:
- You had an accident abroad while on a package holiday booked through a UK tour operator;
- You were involved in a road traffic accident in an EU country, thanks to the EU Fourth Motor Insurance Directive;
- Your claim is against a business or individual based in an EU country;
- The defendant is based in the UK.
However, it is essential to note that you may not always be able to claim under UK law. That may be the case if the accident occurred in a non-EU country or you were injured on holiday while travelling independently. In such circumstances, the laws of the country where the injury occurred will typically govern the claim. This can sometimes be beneficial and may result in more compensation being awarded.
The rules for making an accident claim abroad can be complex, so it is essential to speak to an experienced solicitor as soon as possible. They will be able to offer legal advice on how to proceed and represent you overseas if necessary.
Common accidents or illnesses abroad leading to a claim
Common accidents that happen abroad for which you could seek compensation include:
These can occur in various settings, such as hotels, restaurants, shops or public spaces. They are usually preventable and are due to factors like wet or slippery floors, poorly lit areas, objects left in walkways, or lack of warning signs.
Road accidents involving cars, motorbikes, bicycles, or pedestrians are common when travelling abroad. Factors such as poor road conditions, defective rental cars or reckless driving can contribute to these incidents and can lead to a valid compensation claim.
Accidents during recreational activities
Adventure sports and recreational activities such as skiing, scuba diving or hiking can often result in injuries. Common causes include inadequate safety measures, equipment failure, or lack of proper instructions or supervision.
Receiving cosmetic surgery and other medical treatment abroad can sometimes lead to medical errors, misdiagnoses, complications, or inadequate care. These can result in avoidable injuries and potentially entitle you to make a medical negligence claim.
Defective equipment, negligent security, or unsafe hotel premises can cause various injuries. These include those caused by falls, swimming pool accidents, elevator malfunctions, or injuries caused by defective furniture.
Accidents can happen due to unsafe working conditions abroad, inadequate training, lack of safety equipment, or other causes. Employers have a duty to follow the relevant health and safety legislation to keep workers safe from injuries. Failing to do so would make them liable in an accident claim abroad.
Being the victim of physical violence, threats, or attacks in a foreign country can be very distressing and have severe consequences, resulting in physical injuries and emotional trauma. These assaults can occur in various settings, including public places, bars, nightclubs, hotels, or even on the street.
The above list is just a few examples of possible accidents that can happen abroad, but many others could also result in compensation. If you were involved in any type of accident abroad, you should speak to an experienced solicitor as soon as possible. They will assess the circumstances of your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation.
Time limits to claim accident abroad compensation
Under the Limitation Act 1980, there is a general time limit of three years from the date of an accident to start a claim. However, certain exceptions or extensions may apply, such as:
- When the injured person is a minor, the three years do not start to run until their 18th birthday. You could claim on behalf of a child at any time, regardless of when the accident occurred.
- There is no claim limitation date when the injured person cannot handle their legal affairs due to a lack of mental capacity.
- In this case, a litigation friend could seek compensation on their behalf anytime, and the three-year time limit would only start to run if they regained mental capacity.
- With fatal accidents, the limitation period is generally three years from the date of death.
If you must make your accident claim abroad, it is essential to remember that other countries have different laws and time limits to start legal proceedings, which can often be much shorter than in the UK. For example, you have one year to begin a personal injury claim in Spain and two years in Ireland and Canada.
Any claim requires an investigation period to obtain evidence and witness statements. This process can naturally be more complicated for accidents abroad, so you should seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor as soon as possible.
How long do accident abroad claims take?
The time it takes to resolve a claim for an accident abroad can vary depending on several factors, including:
- The complexity of the case
- How severe your injuries are
- The value of the claim
- The cooperation of the parties involved
- The legal procedures in the country where you pursue the claim
Pursuing a claim abroad can often be more time-consuming than claiming in the UK due to the different legal systems and potential language barriers. The exact duration of an accident claim abroad can vary significantly, ranging from several months to several years. You should start the claims process as soon as possible to ensure the gathering of relevant evidence and witness statements and build the best case possible.
How much compensation for an accident abroad claim?
No two holiday accident claims are the same. Some factors that will determine how much compensation you may receive if your claim is successful include:
- The circumstances of the accident
- The type and extent of the injuries you suffered
- How these have affected your work and personal life
- The jurisdiction where you pursue the claim
- The financial losses and expenses you incurred
Your solicitor will consider everything you have been through to make sure you are fully compensated. Usually, you can recover two types of damages in an accident abroad claim:
General damages refer to compensation for the physical and emotional pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the accident. These are calculated based on the extent and severity of the injuries and their long-term effects.
Special damages cover the specific financial losses and expenses incurred due to the accident. These may include:
- Medical fees
- Cost of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Travel expenses
- Loss of earnings or earning capacity
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident and injuries
Special damages are assessed based on evidence such as receipts, bank statements and invoices. Ensure you keep every document related to your expenditures, so you can recover all your costs if you have a valid case.
General damages aim to compensate for the non-monetary aspects of the injuries and their consequences and are usually harder to calculate. They are mostly based on previous similar cases and the guidelines offered by the Judicial College in the UK. Our online compensation calculator can give you a good idea of how much you could receive for general damages in an accident claim abroad.
No Win No Fee accident abroad claims
No Win No Fee, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is a legal arrangement where you only pay your solicitor if your claim is successful. If you have a valid accident claim abroad, the personal injury lawyers we work with will offer you a No Win No Fee service, so you do not have to pay any charges upfront or throughout the case.
This service provides access to legal representation and potential compensation without the financial risk of being left out of pocket. Due to the After the Event (ATE) insurance your solicitor will secure on your behalf, you do not have to worry about covering any legal expenses if your case fails, such as:
- The cost of the defendant’s solicitors
- Court and counsel fees
- The cost of medical and police reports
- Travel expenses associated with the case
- Expert witness fees
- Barrister fees if the claim goes to court
In a No Win No Fee claim, you only have to pay anything if and when you receive accident abroad compensation. The only deductions made from the amount of compensation you are awarded are:
- The cost of the ATE insurance premium, which you do not have to cover if you lose;
- A fee is paid to your solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a CFA. This is known as a success fee and cannot exceed 25% of your compensation for general damages and past financial losses.
To start a No Win No Fee claim for an accident abroad, call 0800 678 1410 today or use our online claim form. An experienced legal adviser will offer you a free case assessment and will be able to answer any questions you might have about the claims process.