Legal Guide

Steps to Take if you Have an Accident Abroad

If you’re away on holiday or conducting business abroad, you want your time away to be as hassle-free as possible. However, planning and preparation only goes so far as there are some incidents that are beyond your control.

Although being involved in an accident abroad is unfortunate, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. You may even be eligible to receive holiday accident compensation if you weren’t at fault.

However, in any situation, it’s best adhere to the following steps to protect yourself against unnecessary legal fees or medical expenses.

Report the accident immediately

In every eventuality, even if you are to blame, you must report the accident to your insurance company. For the most serious accidents, you should also contact the police.

If the police write a report and take statements at the scene of the accident, ask for a copy as you may require this record in the future.

Record what happened

Being involved in an accident is a shock to the system, but if you are able to do so, write down your version of events and take photographs as soon as you can.

If anybody else is involved or there are witnesses to the incident, be sure to get their names and contact details. The authorities, insurance company or law firm dealing with the problem may need to get in touch.

Insurance companies will require you to fill in and sign a European Accident Statement immediately after any road or traffic incident. The purpose of this document is to obtain an agreed statement of facts from all parties involved. More information about this can be obtained from the Association of British Insurers.

In a hotel, restaurant or any commercial building, make a record in their accident book and get a copy of your statement. It may also be worth contacting the local authority or council if the accident happened in a public place.

Think before you speak

Be extremely careful when reporting your version of events and don't admit responsibility, accept the blame or apologise. Your insurance company or lawyer will also recommend this approach.

Everything you record should be based on facts and this should be clear from photographs and witness statements.

In a foreign country, the language barrier can sometimes be confusing, especially if an opposing party speaks little or no English. You may be admitting to something you didn’t do, so stand your ground and be vigilant.

Stay calm

Although any accident is worrying, try not to panic and keep your cool. It is easy to worry about the consequences but in most cases, the issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

If any other person involved reacts badly and starts to get angry or aggressive, don’t rise to the challenge. This could lead to provocation and a potentially more damaging situation.

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