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A Road Accident Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 3 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Abroad Compensation Accident Claim

If you are travelling abroad, learning the new road rules, speed limits and driving attitudes can be difficult to obtain in a short period of time. It often takes months, if not years to fully 'drive like a local', so it's no surprise that many people are involved in road accidents when on holiday abroad.

If you're unfortunate enough to be involved in this type of situation, there are certain steps you should take to be sure you're following the correct procedure. Knowing these in advance can be the difference between a lengthy compensation claim and a relatively straight forward case.

Green Card Scheme & Driving Abroad

Until fairly recently being involved in a road traffic accident abroad was a legal minefield of complications and often proved impossible for a solicitor to fully bring to justice. In most cases where individuals were allowed to prosecute, they required solicitors who had a series of offices in a variety of countries, so that they could deal with the legal issues locally.

Recently though, a new scheme known as the Green Card Scheme has been introduced throughout Europe. The Green Card Scheme is a document that is officially recognised in over 40 countries, including all of those in Europe aside from Russia. It allows for the free movement of vehicles across boundary lines and borders and aims to protect drivers who have become involved in a collision with foreign vehicles.

The Green Card Scheme doesn't actually provide individuals with any kind of insurance, but it does show that you meet the minimum requirements for third party liability from your own motor insurance policy.

At the Scene of an Accident Abroad

If you're involved in an accident abroad, try to stay calm. Don't leave the scene until you're fully aware of what has occurred and you've spoken with the other driver and police. In most cases, where an individual is involved in an accident abroad, the police must be called. Always remember not to admit any liability and only sign the European Accident Statement when you're sure that you understand the situation.

This paperwork is a way to ensure that the correct information has been exchanged between those who are involved in the accident and you should be given a copy of this before you leave the scene. Always have your driving licence, insurers certificate, registration document and Green Card available at all times - this makes it easier at the scene of the accident.

Many people panic as they may not fully understand what is happening at the collision area due to language barriers. If you feel that you're not following what you're being told, ask for an interpreter. You're entirely within your legal rights to do so.

Claiming After an Accident Abroad

If your vehicle is still roadworthy and you're able to drive it, you don't need to contact your insurers until you've returned to the UK, assuming that isn't more than two weeks away from the time of the accident. If your car is not mobile, contact your insurers immediately and they may be able to help get you back on the move again. If your insurer has a local representative in the country you're in, contact them for further advice.

If you have an accident within the European Economic Area, you may have a chance at pursuing a compensation claim against agents in the UK. If you have the accident in another country that isn't part of the EEA, then you should seek legal advice on how long a claim may take. Generally, legal action will be undertaken in the country where the accident occurred, so speak to a good solicitor for further advice.

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