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Car Accidents Abroad - RTA Compensation

Did you know you can claim compensation if the car accident was not your fault? You must however take urgent steps if you wish to claim compensation for a foreign road traffic accident abroad as time limits for pursuing RTA claims abroad vary from country to country.

Compensation for a Road Traffic Accident on Holiday

Many holidaymakers hire cars or mopeds locally when they arrive in their resort whilst others drive across Europe in their own vehicles often towing a caravan. Unfortunately accidents on the roads across Europe do happen and when they do you need to be aware of your legal rights.

If your car accident happened in Europe or the European Economic Area (EEA) and was caused by another EEA driver or you were the victim of a road traffic accident whether as a passenger or a pedestrian you are protected by European laws and may be entitled to substantial compensation for your foreign RTA.

The 4th and 5th Motor Directives make it compulsory for all European insurers to appoint UK representatives to handle RTA accident claims on their behalf.

The 4th and 5th Motor Directives coupled with the introduction of the Rome II Convention mean it is now as simple to make a claim for an RTA abroad here in the UK for a road traffic accident that happened in the EEA as it would be if the motor accident had happened in Great Britain.

With associates in all European countries Simpson Millar Solicitors have the expertise and resources to ensure that every road traffic accident whether in Germany, Spain, France or elsewhere in Europe receives the highest standard of service.

If your accident happened in America or Canada then our expert team of US Attorneys and Canadian lawyers can deal with your case and make the whole process of claiming compensation for your RTA straightforward allowing you to get on with your life.

Car Accident Abroad - What Should You Do?

Experience has taught us that there are practical steps to take if you are involved in a car crash or motor vehicle accident abroad. We advise the following steps:

  • If anyone has been injured contact the emergency services.
  • Call your insurer and inform them – they will be able to advise you on the spot. In an emergency you should contact your insurer's local representative. Their name and address should have been given to you when you told your insurer you were going on holiday or abroad. If you do not have the representative’s details or they cannot be contacted then phone your insurers in the UK. Most insurers operate telephone lines for people needing emergency assistance.
  • Call the Police. In most countries the Police must attend road traffic accident's which involve a foreign vehicle.
  • If you do not understand the Police you should explain that you need an interpreter.
  • Say as little as possible and try to remain calm. This is very important when speaking with the local Police.
  • Do not admit liability and do not sign any papers, apart from the European Accident Statement or the "Constat Amiable" (See below).
  • Keep all the documentation the police provide. You will need the documents if at a later date you need to contact them to help you to pursue a claim.
  • You may be asked for and should be prepared to produce:
    • Your driving licence
    • The vehicle’s registration document - to prove ownership
    • Your insurance certificate or Green Card

NOTE 1: Be aware that in countries outside the European Union the Police could be in charge of deciding fault at the scene of a road traffic accident.

NOTE 2: In certain countries drivers might be arrested as well as their vehicles impounded when a road traffic accident is serious to enable the police to carry out investigations so that fault can be determined. You should ask to contact the British Consul or equivalent immediately if you are arrested.

NOTE 3: Insurance details of EEA vehicles following car accidents abroad can be obtained from a central database and the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) will provide information.

The European Accident Statement or 'Constat Amiable'

This is a vitally important legal document that's widely used in Europe when there has been an RTA accident, and your insurer will be able to give you a copy of the form if you ask for one. The form is intended to help people who have been involved in car accidents while driving to exchange the relevant information about what happened while the accident is still fresh in their mind, which helps to get claims settled as quickly as possible.

It is perfectly safe for you to complete and sign this document. It is simply a method of ensuring that the parties to road traffic accident exchange the relevant information and if possible agree how the accident happened.

Both drivers involved in the accident should keep a copy of the completed document and make sure that they are happy with what's been written. If you don't understand what's been said, or if you're not happy with it, don't sign it as it's a legally binding document.

Make sure that you are given a copy and that you understand the information written by the other party before you sign it.

Claiming Compensation for a Foreign RTA

You should be aware that compensation claims concerning road traffic accidents abroad will be dealt with in accordance with the law applicable to the country where the car accident happened. Liability may therefore be decided differently and the compensation for an RTA abroad may be different.

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident while on holiday or car crash or coach accident whilst abroad and sustained an injury chat to us today and find out if you may be entitled to claim compensation.

A list of EEA member countries to whom the European laws on motor vehicle accidents apply are listed below for reference purposes:

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