Accidents Abroad

  • Posted

Posted 04/10/2012

Back in 2009, the European Commission looked at issues affecting victims’ rights across Europe. This included the differing limitation periods (i.e. the period in which to bring a claim) for damages following a road traffic accident in the various Member States. The Commission has now opened a formal consultation on the issue to consider the extent of the problem.

If a person suffers injury

while driving abroad, the first thought is usually of getting back home. If there are serious injuries, getting to a hospital close to family and friends is usually the paramount consideration. It is only afterwards that one thinks of issues relating to how to claim compensation if the accident was the other driver’s fault and sometimes the legal hurdles – such as timescales and limitation periods – make accidents abroad ever more difficult.  

The Commission also floats four suggested solutions for debate, ranging from increased information to complete harmonisation of limitation periods for road accidents.

Michael Wangermann of Ashtons Legal says: “The Law Society is considering its response and there are other organisations that will also contribute to this debate. Road accidents abroad are becoming more common with the freedom of movement of people across the European Union. If a harmonised limitation period is applied across the Union this could change the usual three-year limitation for road accident claims in England. Having worked in the EU for a brief period during my training, I am pretty sure any change is unlikely to happen quickly.”


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