August 27, 2014

What to do if you’ve been in a road traffic accident abroad

Being involved in a road traffic accident is difficult and traumatic enough when it happens in your home country. Things can be even worse if the accident happens while you are abroad and you don’t know what to do next.

Steps to take before you go away
• Try to familiarise yourself with the local driving laws such as the speed limits.
• Check whether there are any particular items you have to have in your car such as a warning triangle.
• Make sure you are covered on your motor insurance if you are taking your own car abroad.
• If you are going to be driving outside the EU, you should apply for a Green Card as proof you have third-party liability insurance.
• Take all of your key driving documents with you such as your full driving license, your insurance documents and your vehicle registration documents.

What to do if you’re involved in an accident
• Make sure that the local Police are notified of the accident. It may be a local legal requirement to do this. Make sure you get a copy of any reports that the Police produce. If you’re driving in Europe, you may have been given a European Accident Statement (EAS) at the scene of the accident.
• Notify your motor and travel insurance companies of the accident as soon as possible.
• If you have hired your car notify the car hire company as soon as possible.
• Get the full details of the other party or parties involved in the accident.
• Take photographs of the accident scene and the parties involved, including the number plates of all the vehicles.
• Approach any witnesses and take their contact details.
• Don’t be tempted to apologise or admit liability at the scene of the accident.
• Don’t sign any documents unless you fully understand their content. Do not be afraid to ask for an interpreter if you need one.

What to do if you’ve been injured
• If you have been injured, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. It may be that for you to be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim for your injuries you must receive medical treatment.
• You should also notify your travel insurance company as soon as possible to find out what medical expenses they will cover.
• Generally speaking, a personal injury claim has to be pursued in the country where the accident occurred. However, this does not apply to accidents that happen in Europe as the European Insurer will appoint a UK handling agent to deal with the claim which means that you avoid the possible language and cultural differences of pursuing a claim abroad.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident in Europe and would like some advice on whether you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation please contact us on 0800 923 2068 or email [email protected].

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