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Accidents in the USA and Canada

North America offers some of the greatest travel opportunities. The Alaskan wilderness. The lights of Las Vegas. The culture of Quebec. The paradise of Hawaii. Or maybe simply an exciting place to visit with work.

But it only takes one accident or one injury for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to become a life-changing incident.

Foreign injury claims can present unique challenges but in reality the process is broadly the same as if your accident happened in Scotland. We fully investigate your accident and consult top medical and financial experts to fully assess the impacts of your injury to make sure you obtain fair damages.

How we help with US and Canadian travel injury claims

Digby Brown Solicitors has specialised in personal injury claims for more than 110 years and is top ranked in this field by the two most prestigious global ranking bodies – Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.

Mark Gibson, Head of our Foreign & Travel Team, is Scotland’s only Accredited Specialist in Accidents and Illnesses Abroad, as recognised by the Association for Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). He is also a UK and Ireland Governor of the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”).

The Foreign & Travel Team is further supported by in-house and dual-qualified foreign language speakers who can communicate in: Polish; French; Spanish; Italian; German; Russian; Georgian; Romanian; and Urdu.

With the right experience, reputation and international contacts, Mark and his team can ensure injured travellers get the best possible legal support for their travel accident compensation claim no matter what the accident is linked to:

  • Pedestrian and sidewalk injuries 
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Cruise ships and marine vessels
  • Flights – whether onboard or during the embarking/disembarkation process
  • Hotel-related injuries
  • Package holiday compensation claims 
  • Theme park incidents
  • Water sport accidents
  • Defective products (where North American companies are involved)
  • Military accidents (including those involving US-based contractors)

Whether it’s a Scot injured abroad or a visitor injured in Scotland and whether the accident happened on land, in the air or over the water…Digby Brown’s Foreign & Travel team do just about everything, for just about everyone.

It’s not just a travel injury claim – we can help with treatment, rehabilitation and benefits

Due to the high cost of medical treatment it’s likely the financial loss you experience will be felt back home in Scotland rather than during your travels in North America.

In serious cases, your travel insurers may even fly you back home as soon as you are medically stable as a way to keep costs down. But we know your recovery and rehabilitation can often depend on making sure you access the right aftercare.

That’s why – if needed – we will seek to get you private rehabilitation or deploy our in-house welfare rights team to support you with the benefits process.

The dangers of employing a US attorney on your own 

Sadly, some clients – before they come to Digby Brown – have been previously approached by a US or Canadian lawyer while they’ve been receiving medical care in that country.

We advise against engaging with such agents because once they assume control of your case it can be difficult, and sometimes costly, to transfer your file to a Scottish law firm when you return home.

Waiting until you return home to speak with a reputable Scottish personal injury solicitor will help ensure:

  • You deal with a locally available solicitor and can actually meet them face-to-face
  • You don’t need to worry about sending medical records or sensitive information oversees
  • You aren’t affected by time differences when trying to speak to your solicitor
  • You don’t need to worry about returning to US or Canada to go to court

Yes, we often communicate or consult with US or Canadian attorneys to help with your holiday accident claim, but we do so in a special way to protect you from the above issues and at no extra cost.

Frequently asked questions

Will you always need to involve a US law firm or attorney?

No, not always. In some cases, such as if you booked a package tour, we can seek to make a claim through the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. In other situations such as being injured on a cruise or a flight we can raise your holiday compensation claim in Scotland.

What happens if the US driver was not insured?

Lack of insurance can be a problem in North America but working with a US or Canadian lawyer will help us investigate the possibility of making a claim against another liable party such as the driver’s employer (if they were a professional driver like a courier) or even a local US authority if it turned out they were responsible for designing and building a road with a poor layout.

Can I sue a US-based employer for a work-related accident?

Many States operate a system of “Worker’s Compensation” – this is a statutory scheme that will provide you with compensation but prevents you from filing a civil claim against an employer. However expert solicitors will be able to find out if there is another way of recovering more complete damages without the need to use the worker’s compensation scheme. 

Can I sue a US-based employer for an accident at a US military base abroad?

In some claims against US military contractor companies, there is a right to claim damages without the need to prove fault. It is therefore vital to seek independent advice before speaking to any lawyer acting on behalf of the contractor company or their insurers. Such claims are called Defence Base Act claims and we have acted for many Scottish electricians, plumbers and other general civilian workers employed by US companies on military related contracts in the likes of Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq (among other countries).

Can I claim compensation if I am a US or Canadian citizen injured in Scotland?

Yes. We have helped many US citizens or residents of the USA claim damages following an accident in Scotland. We have experience in Medicare and other health insurance liens. We know how to protect you from future claims by companies seeking refund of their medical outlays in the US. In some cases we will still be able to apply US law if it will help you obtain a higher level of damages (the classic example is if you are injured in a hire car driven by your partner, colleague or friend who is also a US citizen).By choosing Digby Brown as your Scottish attorney rather than attempting to instruct a US attorney, you benefit from a lower deduction from damages you receive under our no win, no fee plan. We can also use our contacts in the American Association for Justice to obtain medical records and help arrange specialist medical examinations when you are fit to return home.

No win, no fee personal injury solicitors

The expression “No win, no fee” is often used in personal injury cases.  It is used as a way of funding a compensation claim where the accident victim does not have the means to pay for the costs involved as the case progresses. 

A number of solicitors are prepared to handle personal injury cases on a “No Win – No Fee” basis but very few are able to offer their clients complete protection if the case is unsuccessful. 

In that event, the client could end up being liable for many thousands of pounds in legal expenses or the case won't be fully investigated and therefore likely to under-settle.

Compensate 'no win, no fee' funding

Digby Brown has its own funding company, Compensate, which provides the funding to allow the case to be fully investigated, employ the best experts surrounding the circumstances of the accident and/or injuries sustained and where and if necessary go to court.

If for whatever reason the case is unsuccessful, Compensate pays all your legal expenses and those of your opponent – you pay nothing

On average our clients receive over 3 times the pre-litigation offer

Because of Compensate funding Digby Brown's success rate is extremely high and on average our clients receive three times the pre-litigation offer.

In the event the case is successful, a small percentage of your damages will be deducted with VAT to pay for this service. The percentage which Compensate will charge depends on the degree of risk involved. We believe that this is the fairest method of giving clients access to justice whilst ensuring their cases are fully investigated, prepared and funded.

Don’t take our word for it, just read many of the court decisions and case studies on our website.

Beware of compensation offers which may be too good

We know you will have seen many adverts offering 100% compensation or telling you that you will not lose any of your compensation, however we believe there are a number of problems with companies that do this.

  • How do they make their money if they don’t charge you anything?
  • If they aren’t taking any money from you, the client, what incentive do they have to ensure you receive the right level of compensation, appropriate to the injuries you have sustained?
  • Fully preparing a case, finding out exactly what happened and what the consequences of your injuries may mean in the long term, is expensive, how do they do this properly?
  • If they aren’t fully preparing these cases will they just accept the first offer they are given on your behalf by the Insurance company?
  • It makes simple business sense, the less work they do the higher their profit margin is - they simply have no incentive to work harder on your behalf.
  • These adverts in the main are from English firms on national television which operates in a different way and therefore wouldn’t apply to a Scottish person.

We know from the many client cases we mandate from other firms of solicitors (in the main at the request of the client who is extremely unsatisfied with the service received for the other firm) that many shortcuts are taken in preparation and that the first offer received is being recommended for acceptance, regardless of the value. 

Getting something for nothing is usually the first sign of poor service.

Correct level of compensation with Digby Brown

Our experience and statistics show time and time again we will achieve the correct level of compensation which will be substantially more than the insurer is initially prepared to offer.

Even after we have deducted our percentage as a success fee you will gain considerably more than you would have achieved using a 100% compensation model.

Contact Digby Brown's personal injury solicitors

We have offices across Scotland in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Aberdeen and Ayr.

For further information about no win, no fee, or anything else, call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our enquiry form below and someone will get back in touch with you.

0333 200 5926

Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm 
Saturday and Sunday: 12pm - 4pm

(Please note, local rate, even from mobile)

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