Currently each European Union member state is subject to laws enabling anyone who is unlucky enough to have a car accident abroad to make a claim in their own country against a foreign insurer and by law each EU insurance company must be represented in every EU country.
If the bad days ever come upon us and we face an accident in France for example, and it wasn’t our fault we can claim directly through the insurer of the at-fault driver or from England through the insurer’s UK agent. We remain bound by the law of the country in which the accident occurred, however if your claim hits a problem that needs recourse to legal aid or the courts assistance, you are able to access the help you need in England.
As in UK, in many EU countries damages are awarded at a judge’s discretion, which makes it likely that you will receive the same compensation if you claimed through the English courts compared to engaging a solicitor in the EU country where the accident occurred.
For visitors or travellers taking their vehicles to Europe either for work or on holidays this backup system offers important protections and rights, and we are hopeful that those protections will be retained after the UK leaves the EU.
As legal practitioners in the UK we would appreciate for our client that they are able to bring a legal action from home rather than being forced to go trial abroad. Insurers from other EU countries may not sound cooperative about paying compensation as many English insurers would be, but we are able to rely on the English courts for fair resolutions. As many of us continue to travel throughout the EU to trade, work, or go on holidays, it is reassuring to know that our legal system will look after us.