Working abroad but injured in a work accident?
Nowadays, it is required in many careers to work in a different country than the one you live in.
This might have to do with the industry you are working in, such as offshore, receiving a better job offer for your area of work abroad or the company you work for might be globally interconnected with different bases and offices.
But what if you are involved in an accident while working abroad?
Worker’s rights abroad
Like Scotland, in other countries you are entitled to work in a safe environment.
This means that your employer has legal responsibilities and duties of care regarding your work environment to prevent you being involved in an accident at work.
These protections may vary between countries of the EU and non-EU countries and as a result presents a complex legal area.
Exercising your rights as a worker might have different legal requirements in different countries, thus if you are involved in an accident at work, you require a specialist solicitor with legal expertise in foreign law.
Compensation in Scotland for work accident abroad
If you are Scottish, but you are involved in a work accident in another country, you may be entitled to compensation and to make that claim through Scottish courts.
It can sometimes be possible to make a claim through Scottish courts in instances where the employment contract specifies Scots law or the main company is based in Scotland and is simply sending employees abroad to work.
However, the legal system of the country you work in might have a different view on the amount of compensation you deserve.
Therefore, it is a big plus if you have a solicitor that is experienced in helping people claim compensation in exactly this type of situation.
Compensation overseas for accidents at work
It may not be possible to pursue a claim in Scotland if you have been injured at work in a non-EU country, for example if the worker isn't living in Scotland and the company is based in a different country.
However, a specialist solicitor who has experience with claims in other jurisdictions and access to a worldwide network of personal injury lawyers and experts in foreign jurisdictions can help with your claim for compensation.
What can you do to help with injury claim for work accident abroad?
To improve the chances of success with an injury claim for a work accident abroad, there are a few simple things you can do to help.
- Witnesses: Please make sure you write down any names and numbers of witnesses of your accident at work, even if they do not speak English.
- Scene: If you have the chance to provide pictures of the scene of the accident this might also help your case as it can give a better idea of the circumstances that caused your accident.
- Medical treatment: Retain a record of the name of the hospital you had to go to abroad.
- Expenses: Keep any receipts for extra outlays that were caused by the work accident.
Beware: time limits for accidents abroad
Be aware that the time limits of your claim for compensation might also be affected by the legal system of the country the accident happened in.
Unlike in Scotland where the time limit for a work place accident is three years from the date of the accident, in other EU or non-EU countries this may vary to a shorter or a longer period.
For example, currently in Greece people have five years to make a personal injury claim and in Spain people only have one year to raise a claim dated from their last medical treatment.
With this in mind it is important to contact a specialist solicitor in foreign law as soon as possible to ensure you do not lose your right for compensation if you were involved in an accident while working abroad.
Digby Brown’s specialist solicitors in foreign law
If you would like to learn more about making a claim, please visit Accidents when working abroad for more information.
Alternatively, if you would like to speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor at Digby Brown who has experience representing people injured abroad, please fill in our online form or call us on 0333 200 5925.