Accidents abroad


In the past, people have been awarded vast amounts of money in compensation after sustaining injuries through an accident abroad. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident abroad, there may well be the opportunity to recover compensation.

However, this area of law is a complex one, and you should obtain expert legal advice if you are in this situation.

If you call us we can recommend a specialist personal injury lawyer to assess your case, including a referral to an international lawyer if your accident happened whilst under the laws of another country.

Making a claim

If you have suffered from an accident abroad then you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Accidents abroad can occur from the moment you depart, thus you can claim against:

  • The airline
  • Tour operator
  • Hotel
  • Any other individual or organisation that can be held responsible

The only requirement is that the claim be brought within three years (unless it is an aviation accident, in which case it's two years) and be due to the negligence of a third party and not your own.

Injuries that can be sustained abroad vary from minor cuts and bruises to more serious ones such as brain or spinal injuries, paralysis or death. Accidents abroad can happen:

  • While on board a plane or boat
  • Whilst working
  • Whilst playing sports
  • From a slip or fall

The most common accidents abroad are road accidents either in a car or coach journey and there is an EU directive in place to help back up any road accident claim.

Food poisoning is also very common when abroad and is often due to poor hygiene. Restaurants and cafes have a duty towards your health and safety and thus if you have suffered because of their negligence then you may be entitled to claim against them.

Using a solicitor

A solicitor will assess:

  • Where you stayed
  • Whether the person you bought the holiday from is an agent
  • Who is at fault

Your solicitor will assist you by writing to the other party and allowing them a chance to respond and to compensate you; if they do not make an offer that you are prepared to accept your solicitor will negotiate with them. If necessary, they will bring a claim at either the county court or the High Court depending on the value and complexity of the claim.

It may be wise to contact the solicitor while you are on holiday. Solicitors can help with dealing with insurance companies and may need to contact the police in the area you are staying. It may be necessary for your solicitor to be aware of another jurisdiction’s law - we can assist with ensuring that you find the correct solicitor for your needs.

Calculating your compensation

Under UK law, the levels of compensation are often regarded as a lot higher than those recoverable abroad. Although the amount of compensation you are entitled to depends on the type of injury suffered and the specifics of the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for several areas including:

  • General damages for the pain
  • The risk of further complications relating from the injury
  • Financial losses such as loss of earnings, medical expenses and the costs of a ruined holiday

However, in order to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available after an accident abroad you should seek expert advice, as there are certain time restrictions and other detailed procedures that must be followed.

Bringing a claim for accidents abroad can cost a claimant nothing as most solicitors will work on a no-win, no-fee basis and claim back their costs from the guilty party or their insurance company.

You may have to use an international lawyer if your claim cannot be filed against a company with a base in the UK. Visit our page on international law firms for more information.

Have you suffered an accident abroad? Contact Law can put you in touch with a personal injury lawyer who is qualified and insured to handle your international case. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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