Can I make a personal injury claim if I had a road traffic accident abroad?

Driving car in Spain

Being injured in a road traffic accident while travelling abroad can be very distressing and bring what is meant to be a great holiday to an upsetting conclusion.

Not only is it difficult and unsettling dealing with foreign police and medical professionals when you might not speak their local language, it can also result in unexpected expense.

Whether you were a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian in a road traffic accident abroad, you may be eligible to compensation for your injuries and financial losses.

You may also be able to claim even if the other driver was uninsured, or even untraced. We have  specialist Foreign and Travel Lawyers who help people in exactly these types of situations.

Claims for road traffic accident in Europe

At the moment, the United Kingdom is still classed as part of the EU which means that if you have an accident in another EU member state and are resident in Scotland, you would be entitled to make a claim for compensation in the Scottish Courts, avoiding the additional expense and uncertainty of having to claim in a foreign country.

What will happen if the UK leaves the EU with no deal?

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, Scottish residents will lose their legal right to compensation in the Scottish courts for road traffic accidents in other European countries.

You may have to instruct a foreign lawyer to pursue a claim abroad. However, our specialist Foreign and Travel Lawyers work with and have access to a network of specialist personal injury lawyers throughout Europe who can help people in exactly this type of situation.

What happens if there is a deal?

If there is a deal, the UK and the EU have reached an agreement that there should be a transition period until at least 31 December 2020 to allow more time for negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

During this time, all EU law would continue to apply in the UK. That would mean that citizens would have exactly the same rights and guarantees they do currently.

Claims for road traffic accident outside Europe

If the accident happened outside Europe, you may not be able to pursue a claim through the Scottish courts but we may be able to assist if this is the position you find yourself in.

We have access to a global network of specialist personal injury lawyers who can help guide you through the compensation process.

Are there any differences to making a claim for an accident abroad than in Scotland?

Yes, making a claim for an accident abroad will be slightly different to making a claim for an accident which occurred in Scotland.

If you have the right to pursue your case in Scotland, often the Scottish courts will have to apply the law of the country where the accident occurred.

For example, every country will have laws governing the time limit for making a personal injury claim after an accident. In Scotland, the time limit for making a claim is 3 years from the date of accident but in some countries this period can be as short as 1 year.

It is recommended that you seek expert legal advice as soon as possible after an accident abroad to ensure that your potential claim is protected from becoming time-barred. 

The compensation you are entitled to may also be determined by the laws of the country where the accident occurred rather than Scottish law.


Specialist personal injury lawyers for road traffic accidents abroad

Whatever the circumstances, if you have been injured as a result of a road traffic accident abroad, our specialist solicitors are here to help you.

This is a complex and evolving area of law and you need prompt, expert and informed advice.