To be injured in car accident is always a shocking thing to experience but if you are injured in an accident abroad it is so much harder to endure. If your injuries are serious and you find yourself in hospital trying to recover, the last thing on your mind is gathering evidence to start a legal case to obtain damages for your injuries. You may not be able to speak the language and you almost certainly do not know what you should do next. People who find themselves in the position of having suffered a truly unpleasant or even catastrophic life-changing injury can be daunted by the prospect of starting litigation in a foreign country.
Knowing what to do right from the beginning is a distinct advantage, whilst it may seem to be a damper to go on holiday thinking of what you should do if you are injured, it is infinitely better than finding yourself in a terrible situation with no idea of what the next step should be; being armed with foreknowledge, should the worst happen, enables you to proceed in the best way to protect your own interests.
Assuming you will be travelling with other people the following steps will assist you to make a claim:
- Ensure that everyone actually knows the steps to take in the event of an accident, as obviously the injured party is unlikely to be in a position to make observations and write notes.
- Photograph the aftermath of the accident from every conceivable angle, as well as all the other parties involved, the witnesses, any other individuals in the surrounding streets and offices or shops whose staff may have had sight of the accident.
- Photograph the landscape around the accident and all the streets, particularly at a junction. It may be important to be able to demonstrate whether there were any obstacles that contributed to the accident.
- Sometimes an accident happens due to inappropriate footwear – high heels, flip-flops etc. so a photographic record your footwear and clothing and that of any other parties involved could be helpful.
- Ask for the contact details of all potential witnesses, including medical staff and the police.
- Obtain comprehensive contact details and any relevant information from any third parties also involved in the accident, especially if they could have been responsible for the accident.
- Write contemporaneous notes outlining the entire incident, if possible signed by your witnesses.
- Where appropriate report the incident to the local police.
- Where appropriate inform the British consulate or embassy.
The more comprehensive and accurate the evidence is, especially when such evidence can be corroborated by witnesses, the greater chance of successfully achieving damages for your distress and suffering.
Our multi-lingual personal injury lawyers not only speak several languages but also understand the varying cultures in many European countries and can help you navigate the legal systems. We can negotiate your settlement whilst fully understanding the implications, risks and consequences of accepting out-of-court offers as opposed to going the distance and embarking on court action in a foreign jurisdiction. Our lawyers will assist and support you through the process from the start to the final conclusion.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.