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Victim of an accident abroad: why you should and how you can pursue your claim in England?

By Pierre Thomas and Partners

French resident in England?

  • You were involved in a road traffic accident in France last time you travelled to see your family and you now suffer ongoing back pain?
  • You went skiing in Italy, you were hit by a careless skier and you suffered a shoulder dislocation?
  • Your summer holiday in the Canary Islands was ruined when you slipped on a spillage in your hotel and broke your leg?

Where do you start your claim? How do you find the relevant insurer of the person who caused your accident? Do you need to instruct a local lawyer? But where can you get the information you need? And is it going to cost you a fortune? Don’t worry! You can make a claim in England: why is it more convenient? and how to proceed ?

The English courts have jurisdiction

Being resident in England normally allows you to make a claim in the English courts against the European insurer of the third party liable for your accident. That does not mean that you cannot also (alternatively, not simultaneously) make a claim in the country of the accident, but isn’t it much more convenient to have your lawyer, your medical expert and the court that will eventually try your case, all in your country of residence?

Applicable law

Whether you make your claim in the country where the accident happened or in your country of residence, the law applicable to the determination of liability and to the assessment of your damages will in any event be the law of the country where the accident occurred. For instance, if an English judge hears a claim which relates to an accident in France, he will apply French law.

A ski patrol

The « pros » of using the English system

The compensatory tradition of Common Law systems is well known, compared to other systems of civil tradition such as France. In addition, the rules of evidence are more favourable: it is possible to prove by witness evidence a fact which in France you would be required to prove by a written piece of evidence. Also, more funding options are available here in the victim’s favour: for example Conditional Fee Agreements allow funding of a personal injury claim with no upfront payment and only a very limited amount of legal costs to be borne by the victim at the end of the case, out of their damages.

Get in touch with a solicitor specialising in cross-border personal injury claims: they will be the best placed to consider the different options available in your case and to advise you on the best way forward.

Maud Lepez, solicitor
Pierre Thomas and Partners
0207 602 0305


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