If you're unlucky enough to be involved in an accident that isn't your fault, most people will want to claim for compensation. This can be either personal injury compensation or compensation for your vehicle that has been damaged in the collision.
With so many foreign visitors coming to the UK each year on holiday, there's a good chance that if you do have a crash, it will be with a foreign driver who isn't a permanent resident of the UK.
A recent report suggested that the different attitudes to driving, road conditions and speed limits between all the European countries can be extremely confusing to drivers from abroad in the UK. It's estimated that around 18,000 traffic accidents a year occur due to drivers from other countries and this is especially true of heavy goods vehicles.
If you find yourself involved in a road traffic accident with a foreign driver, don't panic. Drivers from abroad who are involved in a UK road accident are governed by the same obligations as if they were a driver from the UK.
Traffic Accidents in the UK with Drivers from Abroad
When you're involved in an crash in the UK with someone from abroad, do not act any differently than how you would with a UK citizen. All drivers should have insurance of some type. Whether that insurance has come from a rental car agency, or is their own home car insurance, they should be covered to drive the car they're driving, or they shouldn't be doing it.
The correct procedure should be to obtain as many details as possible - name, address, contact number, registration plate and anything else you feel is important. If the driver is struggling to understand English, simply get them to write down their details and make sure you have their registration number. You may need this in the future for a compensation claim. Also, if there are witnesses around, get as much information from them as you can.
Always keep a note of the time of the accident and if you have a camera or camera phone, photograph the scene so you can show this to your solicitor if you need one.
Compensation Claims and Foreign Drivers in the UK
It can often be difficult to get compensation from a foreign driver as their insurance procedures may be different or they may simply be uninsured. If this is your experience, you can contact the Motor Insurers Bureau for help. They may be able to provide you with details of the driver and their insurance company, as long as you have the correct registration plate.
Remember that in some countries, some of the larger trucks and lorries have a different registration plate on the main cabin than on the trailer - try and obtain both if possible. The Motor Insurers Bureau are also able to help if the driver who was involved in the collision with you doesn't have insurance or the insurance company they do have doesn't have a UK counterpart. In these cases, the MIB will normally control the case and follow it up for you. Their details are below and you should contact them with any further queries.
My vehicle was parked and unattended when hit by a French vehicle while we were in France on holiday .The accident was captured on my rear view Dashcam and on the Hotel CCTV and the driver lived next door to the Hotel. All details were passed to the insurance company. and now nearly 12 months later and the matter has still not been resolved.The insurance company have stated that they can't locate the French driver even though they have the registration number. The UK insurance company have listed the blame as myself. This has financially cost me on insuring for another year with the same insurer and the loss of my NCD and although the vehicle has been repaired, I have had to pay the £400 excess, despite being fully comp insured. Is this normal procedure for insurance companies and do I have any recourse on the insurer for their negligence?
Raffles - 20-Apr-17 @ 10:08 AM
On Oct 30th this year I was deliberately rammed by a Netherlands based lorry on the M25 and push along the carriageway until I was able to pull over. The driver looked down from his cab and laughed at me. He didn't stop and when I phoned the police as I was following the lorry they said there was nothing they could do as it would be his word against mine. I have sent emails to the company, CSE Rent & Trading, with no response. I'm sure this is not the first time he has done this and it was terrifying and he will surely kill someone if he carries on. So beware of any large yellow lorries bearing this name and keep well away.
Patsy - 10-Nov-16 @ 3:58 PM
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with at oeast a reg and if in EU they will provide the UK speakong contact point for you to claim.
Record all calls with tape a call app from playstore.
Jay - 18-Oct-16 @ 7:52 PM
a german Lorry went into the lane I was driving in And damaged my driver door and shook me Up considerably
He didn't stop but i overtook him and pulled in and took the registration
My insurers tell me the company say this lorry was not in the U.K. At the time which is a lie as how would I have made up a german lorry registration!
What can I do as I know this is a lie but my insurers don't seem to want to help
jo - 21-Sep-16 @ 7:17 AM
In November 2015 I had an accident on a motorway exit in southern Italy. No one else was involved, fortunately it wasn't a bad accident but when I crashed my car caused minor damaged to the barrier. Very minor. I resolved the situation with the police etc and all was sorted. I had to pay 85 euros for their 'service'and I was free to go. Nearly seven months later I receive a letter telling me the estimated cost to the barrier that I must pay. 1,300 euros. This comes from ANAS, a private yet state run company here in Italy.
I'm a UK citizen living in Italy at this moment.
I'm afraid if I ask my insurance company to pay it out that they might not, and if they do, that my premium will rocket.
Any advice anyone? This is a ridiculous situation. Cops never mentioned anything like this to me at the time.
luckydog - 1-Jun-16 @ 5:25 PM
On 15th Jan. 2016, a foreign lorry tripped his lane and collided my car by pushing my car into the middle lane on M6 in the busy traffic. This foreign driver failed to stop so I didn't get his details, there was no car stopped as witness either as it is on a busy motorway! However, fortunately, I have a dash cam on my windscreen recorded everything when the collision happened! I found this is an Italian freight company, have reported to both police and my insurance company. As I have a solid proof how the accident happened however I was told I may have to pay the full excess and other cost, I wonder who can help me on this? It's clearly not my fault, the driver didn't even stop and quickly drove away. If not my dash cam I maybe in a even worse situation. Should I use a solicitor for a full compensation? It's a very very serious offense on a busy motorway to drive away after a serious collision, lucky I am still alive!
Jeneffer - 16-Jan-16 @ 1:19 PM
I forgot to add that it was a foreign lorry! Thanks
Emma - 11-Oct-15 @ 10:07 PM
Hi there, December last year I was hit by a lorry that came into my lane at a roundabout and wedged me between itself and the roundabout island, I had a witness, called police and got all the details and passed these onto my insurance company. However I am still waiting! This is causing me a lot of trouble now I am having to renew my insurance with a new vehicle and basically is classed as my fault until the claim is sorted so prices are high and losing no claims bonus, is there anything I can do to speed up this process as I can't believe it has taken nearly a year and costing me a lot of money :(
Emma - 11-Oct-15 @ 10:06 PM
@Vik. We're afraid your pretty much on your own. If you had a fully comprehensive policy, your insuranace company would have attempted to trace the vehicle. You may find a solicitor can help to trace the driver.Have you tried the postal address also?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 27-Jul-15 @ 10:54 AM
A Turkish lorry scraped up the side of my car yesterday. I took photos and the police gave me all the lorry drivers details.My insurance company have said as I am only third party fire and theft I will have to contact the Turkish company myself. Fine but the phone number he provided does not exist. Where do I stand, please advice ....
vik - 23-Jul-15 @ 1:37 PM
I got hit by a foreign lorry in October , and I still have had no liability come through, it is bloody ridiculous it's been to long. All my solisitors say is that they are waiting to hear back, can I speed it up? As my car is unsafe to drive. And as it wasn't my fault I'm paying nothing.
Adam - 21-Jul-15 @ 10:00 PM
@N/a Yes. While most insurance companies will do their best to resolve claims as quickly as possible, sometimes, there will be circumstances (like these) that cause delays.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 24-Jun-15 @ 11:30 AM
My sons vehicle was parked and unattended when hit by a foreign vehicle.The accidentwaswitnessed and the driver located.All details were passed to the insurance company.Ten months on and the matter has still not been resolved.The insurance company have stated that the French driver and company that own the vehicle have not responded. The UK insurance company have listed the blame as my sons. This has financially cost him on insurance quotes and his vehicle has not ben repaired.
He wants to sell the car on but cannot due to the damage and the on going claim.
Is this normal procedure for insurance companies.
N/A - 23-Jun-15 @ 11:43 AM
@Toula. Write to him requesting the amount needed. If there's no response, you may need a solicitor's letter.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 6-Mar-15 @ 2:31 PM
My 18 year old son was knocked of his bike by a stationary driver who failed to look when opening his door so my son crashed into the open door which was in his ride path.The driver gave his name and agreed to pay the damage to the front wheel.After receiving a quote from the bike shop I called the driver who assured he would meet me the day after the phone call to pay for the damaged wheel.I never heard from him.I tried calling him the following day but his phone goes to voicemail.What would you advise I should do?