Every week, The Law Society invites law firms to take part in #solicitorchat and gives them the opportunity to answer a few quick legal queries. On this occasion, our Personal Injury team won! Here’s what happened …
How can a solicitor help you make a claim if you’ve been injured or are ill abroad?
Initial steps will be taken to advise the injured victim if there are sufficient prospects of success to pursue a claim. Thereafter steps will be taken to bring a claim on the injured party’s behalf by liaising with the party at fault and/or their insurers.
It can be a complicated process but a solicitor will take the stress out of the claim as much as possible. When necessary, they will also liaise with overseas lawyers to ensure your claim is dealt with as best as possible.
Does the claim have to be made in the country in which it occurred, or can it be made in England and Wales?
Yes - but it might have to be brought in the country it where occurred, depending on the nature of the accident and how the holiday was booked. If the holiday was booked through a travel agent, a claim could be made in the UK against the tour operator
The injured party should always seek independent legal advice from a solicitor specialising in travel claims.
What are the most common issues when making a claim abroad?
Time limits, language barriers, (we liaise with overseas agents to overcome this), the law applicable to the country where it happened even if a claim is pursued in the UK and a defendant’s personal finances in cases where there is no valid insurance policy.
Are there any time limits on making a personal injury claim abroad?
There are different time limits on making a personal injury claim and it depends on the nature of the accident and where it occurred. UK limitations i.e. three years from the date of the accident, and date of knowledge in medical negligence claims, do not apply worldwide.
Will Brexit have an impact on the process of making a claim abroad?
The short answer is yes – but there is still a lot of uncertainty as to how Brexit will affect bringing a personal injury claim abroad. We keep abreast of the issues by attending regular seminars as Brexit continues to unfold.
When it comes to taking the stress out of the process, what do you do as solicitors to help clients with this?
We deal with legal issues, give our clients our best advice so they can make an informed decision, liaise with overseas lawyers, carry out the necessary investigation work and arrange medical evidence on their behalf.
What happens if you miss your deadline for making a claim? Is there anything a solicitor can do for you or is it a case of having missed the window?
You can apply to the court to exercise discretion but it's very unlikely you'll get it. That's why it is extremely important to seek legal advice as soon as practically possible and instruct a solicitor who specialises in travel claims.
Our top three tips for anyone thinking of pursuing a claim:
- Speak to a solicitor who has experience in travel claim
- Collate holiday purchase evidence – it’s relevant to how the claim can be pursued
- Contact witnesses whilst evidence is still fresh in their minds