International Personal Injury Claims
It’s inevitable that some people will have accidents while on holiday or travelling abroad.
If you have been involved in an accident abroad, read below to find out how to start an international personal injury claim.
Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal injury claim solicitor for guidance on your specific circumstances.
I’ve Had An Accident Abroad. Can I Make An International Personal Injury Claim?
Making a personal injury compensation claim while on holiday, or during international travel, can be a complex process. Different legal jurisdictions, laws, and language barriers all contribute to complicating things even further.
Getting injured in an accident is bad.
But getting injured in an accident when you’re abroad is much worse.
Different languages, health systems and legal procedures all add to what is an already stressful situation.
After an accident, your first priority will be to get medical treatment.
And your second priority will be just to get home!
The people who will be able to help you most at this stage will be your travel insurance company or travel provider.
But once you’ve arrived home and are back on your feet, you can think about making a personal injury claim, if appropriate.
International personal injury claims aren’t simple. They come with their own set of practical and legal challenges.
But if you proceed carefully, you can make a successful claim.
Some of the factors you should consider include:
Usually, you should claim either where the accident occurred, or where the defendant is based (or “domiciled”). This is important, because sometimes you can sue in a number of different countries (for example, your holiday operator could be based in the UK, but your accident may have happened in Spain. If you wanted to claim against the operator, it would be much easier to do so in the UK than in Spain).
The last thing you want to happen is to win a difficult international personal injury claim, and then find out the amount of damages you can claim for in that country is tiny.
If you win your personal injury claim in Northern Ireland, usually your legal costs will be paid by the defendant. In some countries, this rule does not apply. There would be no point in winning your claim, only to find that your legal costs are greater than the amount of money you are awarded. It’s worth checking your travel insurance policy on this – some policies include cover for legal costs if you are making a personal injury claim. And in some countries, local lawyers may take your case on a no-win, no fee style arrangement.
If you decide that making a claim is worthwhile, your local solicitor will get in touch with a lawyer based in the country where you are making the claim.
The foreign lawyer will be able to advise on the legal issues to be aware of in that country, gather evidence for you and deal with the local authorities.
If you suffered a personal injury while on holiday, you should be entitled to compensation. It’s just that the practicalities of international claims make things a little more complicated.
But don’t let that put you off.
At the very least, consult with a local solicitor to see if a claim is possible. You might be pleasantly surprised.
The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.
If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.
If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.
All the best,
The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.