Do British nationals know what to do after having an accident abroad? A complete guide to the accident abroad process

A recent Office of National Statistic (ONS) study found that UK residents made 71.0 million visits abroad in 2022, with most travelling for a holiday. Most tourists do not think about the negatives such as “what if I have an accident abroad?” However, they would be wise to have contingency plans should such an event occur. Various popular holiday destinations, such as Spain and Portugal, vary in their approach to personal injury.

We have undertaken our own research to learn whether British nationals consider what to do after having an accident abroad. Our findings provide an insight on the level of understanding British tourists have on the way to deal with such a situation and will provide information on what to consider how to proceed should you have an accident abroad

Do British nationals research their holiday location before travelling?

The ONS study found that UK residents spend billions of pounds on holidays abroad. However, even when spending so much money there is little research by the tourist to ensure that they are getting what you paid for, and are completely happy with the purchases.

When asked in a recent study, whether they research the location and what was a key factor in choosing a holiday destination, 72% of respondents stated that they researched their holiday location. A variety of different elements were singled out as important when making a choice, including they like to research the “authenticity”, “landscape”, and “transportation information”.

What do you look out for when you research your holiday location?

Infographic: Most opt for hotels or similar lodging when holiday planning.

The majority of responses focused on the attractions the location has and the accommodation they are staying at. However, only 40% researched the overall safety of the country before their holiday starts.

Researching the safety and the country’s laws on personal injury may help you understand the risks involved should you have an accident, especially if you go to multiple places. This includes reviews of different areas and the hotel to see if previous accidents have occurred.

Do British nationals understand the accident claim process?

Personal injury can be a physical injury or illness, or a psychological injury or illness. Common accidents that occur on holidays include falls at hotels often due to negligence or poor maintenance, third-party reckless acts or road accidents.

In a recent survey, 40% of British nationals were unaware (or were not sure) how to claim if an accident occurs on holiday:

If you had an accident abroad, would you know what to do to make a claim?

Infographic: Most know how to claim after an accident abroad.

It is important to remember that there is a limitation period for accident claims to be brought before the courts, which may differ depending on the country. For example, Spain’s limitation period for personal injury is generally one year from when the accident occurred depending on the nature and circumstances of the accident or from when the adverse consequences of the injuries were recognised. If you are unaware of this limitation period, you may miss the opportunity to claim compensation.

Also, without sufficient knowledge of the process for making a claim, you may fail to collect evidence which may support your claim through court proceedings. It is important to gather evidence as soon as the accident occurs; without this knowledge, your claim may not be successful.

Find out more about the holiday accident claims process here.

What should UK residents do after having an accident abroad?

If the accident is severe and requires medical attention, contact the emergency services of the country. This is something to research before travelling as emergency service numbers will differ. In the European Union, this number is 112, which includes police, ambulance and fire services. If this is the case, ensure that you obtain the contact information of the emergency responders to confirm your injuries and support your claim. You should also inform your travel insurance company. After seeking medical assistance, the following steps should be taken:

Collect sufficient evidence

This is key in strengthening your claim. The more evidence you have, the more compelling your case becomes, as you can prove how the injuries occurred and the damage they caused. Evidence to gather includes:

  • Photographic evidence – in the aftermath of the accident, images of clothing and footwear, the surrounding terrain and photographs of the extent of your injuries.
  • Contact information of anybody involved – including any witnesses.
  • Medical and police reports - if medical treatment was needed, either when the accident occurred or afterwards.

You should also write your own account of the events leading up to the accident, the accident itself, and what happened afterwards. Ensure this is written as soon as possible whilst it is still fresh in your memory and to help support your personal injury claim.

Seek legal advice as soon as possible

If you believe a third party may be at fault after an injury or illness, seek legal advice as soon as possible. Expert personal injury lawyers will be able to guide you through the process, help you write the letter of claim that will need to be sent, negotiate in any mediation process and represent you should the case go to court.

When asked, the majority of British nationals (53%) would consider instructing international lawyers to help with obtaining an award following an accident abroad:

Would you consider hiring international and multilingual lawyers to help with an accident abroad claim?

Infographic: Many would hire intl/multilingual lawyers for abroad accident claims.

Although the results were a mixed bag, with 47% of respondents against, British nationals are more likely to consider lawyers who are multilingual and multijurisdictional. After having an accident abroad, an experienced law firm will assess your situation and provide reliable advice that is specific to your circumstances. It can be an uncertain time, especially if you are in a foreign country; instructing international lawyers can help ensure this process runs smoothly.

Find out more about claiming personal injury after an accident abroad and the services international lawyers provide here.

infographic showing the options of what you can do if you have an accident abroad

infographic showing the options of what you can do if you have an accident abroad

Why should you consider international lawyers after having an accident abroad?

After having an accident abroad, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation should a third party be deemed liable. If you believe somebody is at fault, hiring multilingual and multijurisdictional lawyers should be considered. They will be able to communicate with you in our own language, whilst corresponding with the specific country’s courts on your behalf.

Giambrone & Partners has extensive experience in negotiating successful personal injury claims and providing sound advice during the process. Our personal injury lawyers are multilingual and multijurisdictional, providing bespoke advice dependent on your specific situation and the country in which the accident took place.

Recent personal injury case:

We have recently helped a client who had a fall at a Spanish hotel whilst on a package holiday. Our personal injury lawyers successfully claimed €18,000 in compensation for damages.

Find out more about personal injury in different countries with our expert guides here.

Our international lawyers will help you in any way we can, which may include gathering evidence, reconstructing road traffic accidents, and undergoing Local Standards Reports and Quantum Reports. During your initial consultation, our experts will be able to provide guidance and an estimated calculation of the total amount of compensation you may be entitled to.

If you have had an accident on holiday and you believe somebody is at fault, contact us today. Call us on 020 7183 9482.

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