Car Accidents Abroad Needn’t Drive You Around the Bend with Injury Claims

When on your travels, you may be fearful of making a car accident injury claim if it happened abroad, or simply not know what to do. But it’s not always a difficult road ahead.

Accidents waiting to happen. That’s probably how best to describe the average Brit driving on roads abroad. With just one exception in Europe (the Republic of Ireland), people drive on the so-called “wrong” side of the road. How inconvenient! Trying to wrap your head around flip-side driving, on unfamiliar roads in a foreign land, with road signs you don’t understand; you might as well be talking about a car accident injury claim.

How about the vigorously youthful who hop on mopeds or powerful motorbikes in tourist hotspots – for the first time, possibly after a few drinks – and end up in the ditch? These troubling scenarios, and more, unfortunately result in accidents, injuries and deaths right throughout the year.

Indeed, the statistics had become so alarming a few years ago that the Foreign Office devised and launched a road safety campaign to, as it said, “help British nationals drive safely abroad and stay on the right side of foreign road laws”. It pointed to Thailand, Australia and Spain as countries where British people were particularly at risk on the roads. Driving standards in some of these countries (such as Thailand, where there were 9,205 road traffic fatalities that year) were far worse than in the UK (1,901 road traffic deaths in the same period).

Putting the Brakes on the Familiar

At the most basic level, it’s wrong to assume that driving abroad is the same as in the UK. It’s clearly not, yet many people still make this erroneous assumption “It’s a car; it’s a road – what could possibly go wrong?” This mentality can, unfortunately, often come with disastrous consequences. As part of the Foreign Office’s advice when driving abroad, it says people should be aware of the different – if not downright unusual, compared to the UK – laws for driving on the roads.

For example, drivers in France have to keep a breathalyser in their cars. In Spain, if you’re driving and you wear glasses to do so, you’ll be required to keep a spare pair in the car. If you find yourself driving in Scandinavia, you’ll have to have your headlights on all the time, even in the middle of a gloriously bright day. Knowing facts like this and being prepared will help British drivers stay on the right side of the law — but it won’t necessarily prevent accidents from happening.

For Brits involved in road traffic accidents in Europe, there are rules that cover claims – for now. After Brexit, who’s to say how much more complicated it might be? Until the UK’s separation from the EU comes to pass, British drivers can still claim compensation via the EU Motor Insurance Directives. These regulations essentially make claiming compensation as easy as if the accident had happened back home.

Steering a Foreign Car Accident Injury Claim to Success

Brexit or not, British legal and personal injury firms dealing with a car accident injury claim for an incident that happened abroad will be greatly aided by steps the driver and their passengers may have taken at the time. These include immediately calling the police, which is a legal requirement in many countries for an accident involving a foreign vehicle, as well as having all their documentation with them at the time. That may include an International Driving Permit, along with a valid British driving licence.

Additionally, quick-thinking drivers involved in an accident abroad will never say sorry or admit liability to the other driver, as to do so may well affect a car hire claim, for instance. Savvy drivers will take plenty of photos of the vehicles involved using their phone, or even some video footage. They may also get the names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident; people passing by who saw it, or fellow motorists who stopped to help.

Once you’re armed with as much of the above as possible, it’s then down to finding the best legal advice you can get, and any subsequent action that will put you firmly on the road to compensation.

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