Road traffic accidents can happen anywhere but when they occur while you’re away on holiday or abroad on business, they are even more troubling, especially when you might not speak the language and don’t understand the procedures involved.
Firstly, and most importantly, you need to have the right insurance even before you get behind the wheel in another country.
For most European countries all UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third-party cover to drive in the EU (including Ireland). Post Brexit, green cards were required however, in 2021 the European Commission announced it had waived the obligation for EU country and those listed below:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
However, for other countries including Albania, Belarus, Turkey and the Ukraine you still need to carry a green card, as well as have the minimum insurance cover specified by that particular country. Extra insurance may also be needed if you have a certain kind of vehicle, a trailer or caravan, for example, so you need to check what each country’s requirements are before you travel. You also need to be aware that requirements may change when you are crossing borders too.
What is a green card?
A green card is proof that you have insurance when driving abroad. To secure one you need to contact your insurance company. They can issue one by post or you’ll be able to download one and print it yourself. You must carry it all times while driving in a foreign country.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident whilst abroad and it wasn’t your fault, then you could be entitled to compensation. This is whether you are a pedestrian, riding a bicycle, motorbike, or are in a motor vehicle.
If it happens in Europe, you can settle your compensation claim in a UK court and you will at the be protected by EU law.
Outside Europe, the situation can become a little more complex but when you hire one of our solicitors your case will be in the hands of someone with knowledge of the law in other non European countries.
What to do if you have a car accident abroad
There are certain things you can do to help you with your claim, however we are aware that under certain circumstances this might not be possible, for example if you are injured. It may be reassuring however to learn that although your accident has occurred away from home shores, the information that is required is the same as it would be in the UK.
If you have an accident abroad you should:
- Get immediate medical attention if you need it.
- Call the police as soon as the accident happens.
- Request an interpreter if it’s a non-English speaking country and you aren’t fluent in the language.
- Following the accident, call the police and get a copy of their report or a police reference number.
- Exchange details with the other party involved.
- Make a note of the driver’s vehicle details, including their vehicle registration and a contact number.
- Take photographs of the scene if you can do so without endangering yourself or others.
- Take down the names and addresses of any witnesses.
- Note down the date and time the accident occurred.
- Contact a legal adviser as soon as you possibly can.
Following the accident you should get legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in road traffic accidents which happen abroad. They will be able to assess whether it is worth going ahead with a claim and be able to support you through the various stages of the process. You actually have up to three years to make a claim, however the sooner it is done the better. Always be aware that different rules and laws will apply in different countries.
If you’re injured in a car accident as part of your package holiday and you weren’t to blame you can claim against the tour operator, while if the condition of the roads was at fault you can claim against those responsible for the roads and if the accident was a result of another driver’s negligence it is possible to make a claim against their insurers.
We are here to help
If you had a road traffic accident abroad within the last three years and think you might have a claim why not follow the link below and speak to one of our legal team? We will be able to connect you to the right person who can give you free initial advice.