Road Traffic Accident Abroad Claims

How to Claim for Road Traffic Accident in The EU

If you are involved in a road accident in a European Union state, you may be entitled to bring a claim for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.

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Driving is relatively safe in most EU countries, but accidents do happen and there are rules in place to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.

This page explains what you should do at the scene of the accident and explains how you can start a road traffic accident abroad claim when you return home.

What should I do if I have a road accident in the EU?

If you’re involved in a road accident in the European Union, call the police and ask for a copy of their report or reference number. Ask for an interpreter if you don’t understand what the officer is saying. You should also seek any medical attention you need.

Fill out the European Accident Statement (EAS) if you have one. Your insurance company may have given you this form or one may be produced at the scene of the accident. This form has different names in different countries such as the Constat Amiable in France and the DAA in Spain.

The EAS is a standard form that establishes an agreed set of facts about the accident to help with insurance claims. You can use it to record the date and place of the accident, vehicle registration numbers, driver contact details and your version of events. Only sign the EAS when you’re sure that you understand the situation. Make sure you’re given a copy.

Whether you have an EAS or not, it’s a good idea to:

  • Make notes about what happened in as much detail as you can
  • Get photographs of the scene (licence plates, vehicle damage, injuries, pictures of the road and driving conditions)
  • Exchange insurance details with the other driver
  • Take the names and contact details of any witnesses
  • Don’t admit liability as this could void your insurance and harm your personal injury claim

Do I have to report the incident to my insurer?

Yes, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible. Certain policies have a time limit for reporting incidents, even if you are making the report for ‘information only’ and do not wish to make a claim.

If you were driving a hire car, contact the hire company as soon as possible. Rental companies have their own procedures for dealing with insurance companies and anyone else involved in the accident. Once you are home, write to the company with a full report of the incident.

Which law is applicable to European Union road accidents?

It depends on how you booked your holiday. If the accident happened while you were travelling in a hire car that was included as part of a package holiday, and the accident was not your fault, you can make a holiday accident claim against the tour operator under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992.

This means you can make your claim in the Courts of England and Wales, even though the accident occurred in the EU.

If you booked your car hire independently, or you were travelling in your own car, then different rules apply. You may still be able to start a personal injury claim in England and Wales, regardless of the nationality of the other driver or where the accident occurred. However, your claim will be governed by the law of the country where the accident happened. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to make your claim abroad.

Overseas accidents can be complicated, so it is important to get help from an experienced personal injury solicitor to ensure the claim is managed effectively from the outset.

Who can I claim against?

The claim will be against the person whose actions or negligence caused the accident. This will depend on the circumstances, but could include:

  • The tour operator, for road accidents that occurred as part of a package holiday
  • The other driver and their insurers, for collisions where the other driver was at fault
  • The authority responsible for road maintenance, where your accident was caused by the condition of the roads

What if my accident was a hit and run?

As the victim of an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run, you may be able to claim compensation through the foreign equivalent of the Motor Insurers Bureau. Your solicitor will explore this possibility with you when deciding whether you are able to make a claim.

Claims must be brought in the EU country where you had your accident. The laws of that country will also determine how much compensation you receive.

How do I make a claim for a car accident in Europe?

The first step is to seek legal advice from a solicitor who is experienced in European traffic accident claims. Do this as soon as possible after you get home. Your claim may be under a different time limit to the UK, so it is really important to act quickly.

You can only claim compensation for your EU traffic accident if you can prove that you were not the person at fault. This can be complicated. Often, the other driver’s insurers will seek to prove that you were wholly or partially responsible for the accident because you did not understand the driving laws in the country.

As specialist EU traffic accident solicitors, we can go through your case and tell you if you have a claim, and alert you to any pitfalls you may encounter. We can also make a rough estimate of what you could potentially be owed. Get in touch with our friendly solicitors and we will be happy to advise you further.


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