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Accidents Abroad

When suffering an accident abroad it may be confusing as to how to go about making a claim and whether you should use a UK solicitor or a foreign solicitor in the country in which you had the accident.

 There are three main types of accident abroad you should familiarise yourself with.

Package holiday accidents

If your accident occurred on a package holiday you can make a claim in the UK against the company that offered you the package. There are specialist solicitors for package holidays and it is strongly recommended you seek their assistance if you fall under this category. These professionals will specialise in hazards such as in the hotel of travel, accidents involving a hire car or taxis from the airport.

Accidents abroad caused by UK nationals

The second type is an accident abroad that was caused by somebody from the UK. In this case you can also make a claim in the UK courts providing the person who caused it was themselves travelling abroad. To seek a claim you should contact a solicitor to get expert advice and experience on your accident.

Other accidents abroad

The third type is an accident which occurs while you are living and working abroad but cannot be linked to the UK. If you cannot link the accident back to the UK in any way then your claim will be subject to foreign law, which will depend on the country you are in. You cannot seek a UK lawyer as it is out of their jurisdiction, so you will have to find a solicitor in the country you were in when you had the accident. It is recommended you search the British Embassy website to locate solicitors that speak English.

Aeroplane accident claims

After suffering an injury or loss on an aircraft it is important to know when you can claim, where you can claim and what different types of aircraft injury there are.

Types of aircraft Injury

Firstly, you may suffer an injury on a domestic flight where you may be flying within the country to a different city, for example. If you have some sort of accident during the voyage you can make a claim using UK law. The second type is when you have an accident on an international flight whilst travelling on a package holiday. In this case you can claim against the tour operator or even the airline. The third type is when you are on an international flight which was booked by yourself. In this case, if you have an accident you have to rely on international law which is known as the Montreal Convention. It is important to know not all countries are signed up to the Montreal Convention so if you fly to a different country it may not be considered as international travel if it is a one way flight. However if the flight is a return it will be considered an international flight.

The Montreal Convention

The Montreal Convention is international law and takes priority over other laws. It concerns personal injury or the death of passengers and also passenger and baggage delay/loss. An important difference to note between an ordinary claim in the UK is that the Montreal Convention only allows you 2 years from the date of the accident as opposed to 3. When deciding where to make a claim the Montreal Convention allows you to either start your claim where the carrier is based, the country where you bought the flight or the country where your flight ended.

Legionnaires' disease claims

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia which can be fatal. It can affect anyone but in particular people who smoke, suffer illness, age and immunosuppression. It is caused by a bacterium that can be naturally found in environmental water sources such as rivers, reservoirs and lakes. If you contract this disease while on holiday you are likely to be entitled to compensation.

Claim criteria

When making this claim as a result of contracting the disease on holiday you must be able to prove that the disease was in fact contracted abroad and that the fault has been accepted. It is important to know that compensation can still be offered even if fault has not been accepted.

Legionnaires' compensation claims

If you have suffered this disease to the extent that you have not been able to work when you arrived back in the country and as a result have lost potential earnings, you may be able to claim these financial losses back. This would be part of your holiday accident compensation along with other losses you may have suffered. When you have proved the money you have lost along with the person responsible for the disease it is important to know the defendant is not legally bound to pay for the loss of earnings even if they have taken the blame.

If you have suffered this disease abroad, either way it is better to claim using a solicitor that especially deals with UK package holiday claims. They will give you the best advice using their experience and expertise and hopefully claim back a large reward which should be at least £1000 to compensate for your losses.

Road traffic accidents in Europe

If you are involved in a road traffic accident in another European country you can still make a claim for compensation in UK court. It is important to familiarise yourself with the Motor Insurance Bureau and the Green Card Scheme when going about making a claim.

Starting a claim in the UK

There are certain types of road traffic accident where you can start your claim directly in the UK. For example, if you have an accident abroad involving another UK citizen or somebody who resides in the UK, the claim can be started in the UK. The same goes if you are involved in an accident in a car that has been arranged and provided by a tour operator as part of a package holiday based in the UK. You can also make your claim in the UK if you are a UK citizen temporarily travelling in Europe or you are with an employee driving as part of a business that has offices in the UK. The same goes if the person at fault for the accident works in the UK but is not necessarily a UK citizen.

Road traffic accident compensation

Although your claim can be made in the UK, the process of being awarded compensation is less straightforward. As the road traffic accident happened in another country the compensation is awarded based on the law of the country the accident occurred in. Witnesses are asked to give a written document of their view of the accident and who was to blame during the process of the decision. So if the accident involved citizens from the UK, the case proceeds in UK courts but the compensation is decided upon the law of the country the accident was in.

If you wish to make a claim against somebody who is not a UK national you must have a representative from your motor insurance company who can speak the required language. Under the Green Card Scheme the motor insurance bureau will locate the insurer's representative and assist you with making your claim

Travel accidents

If you suffer an accident or form of illness while travelling overseas it is important to know in which country to start your claim for compensation if it cannot be started in the UK. You are known as an independent traveller if the trip is not a package holiday and you have arranged it yourself, or if the trip was arranged independently. In this case a tour operator cannot be held responsible as you are arranging the trip of your own accord.  

Making travel accident claims in the UK

It is important to know that if you suffer an injury or illness overseas you can still start your claim in the UK. For example, if you are involved in a road traffic accident driving a vehicle or as a pedestrian or passenger you can make your claim in a UK court, especially if the accident involved somebody else who was a UK citizen. For more information see our section on Road Traffic Accidents in Europe. For information and specific laws on injuries on an aircraft you should consult our section dedicated to aircraft accidents. The same goes for information on cases such as criminal injurieslegionnaires’ disease and package holiday claims.

Travel accident claims overseas

It is also useful to be aware of travel accidents where you may have to start your claim in another country. For example, if you suffer food poisoning as a result of dining in a restaurant you chose and is not part of the holiday package, you will not be able to claim in a UK court. The same goes if you slip or trip causing an injury. If it occurred somewhere in the package such as a hotel, you may be able to start the case in the UK, however if you arranged accommodation yourself the claim would have to be made in that country. This is also the case for sporting activities such as skiing.