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Traffic Accident Claims Abroad

The number of Irish citizens travelling abroad has jumped exponentially in the past few years. Unfortunately, the number of Irish citizens injured in accidents abroad has also jumped. Many people are unaware of their rights and entitlements if they have sustained an injury or been involved in a road traffic accident while in another EU country. An injured party may be able to bring a claim in their country of origin if they have been involved in an accident within the EU.

The EU Forth Motor Insurance Directive (2000/26/EC) affords victims of road traffic accidents which occur within the EU, the right to bring a claim against the defendant and the defendant insurers in the country where the claimant (injured party) resides rather than where the accident occurred.

There are a number of factors which need to be assessed when bringing a claim for personal injury in Ireland arising out of an accident abroad:

  • There may be different time limits within which to pursue an injury claim. The Statute of Limitations in Ireland allows a claimant two years within which to bring a claim for personal injury, however, this time limit will differ depending on where the accident occurred.
  • Another important consideration is what will be awarded to a claimant. The limits on compensation will be set by the laws of the country in which the accident occurred (there are of course exceptions to this rule as can be seen in the case of Kelly –v- Groupama).

There are various complex issues to be addressed when dealing with an accident abroad and it is therefore advisable to consult a solicitor as soon as possible to find out what your options are. If you happen to have personal accident insurance it is imperative that the insurance provider be notified of the accident immediately in order to comply with their notification requirements. Many insurance companies will not indemnify their insured if they have not been notified of the accident within the timeframe specified in each individual policy.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a cross border accident and would like to talk to a solicitor experienced in this area call us on 01 453 7890, Locall 1850 20 40 60, or alternatively send us an email to info@lawline.ie  You can also tell us about your case online and start your claim today.

In the case of Kelly v Groupama the Plaintiff, who was an Irish citizen, was on holidays in France when he was struck by a local council vehicle. The plaintiff sustained severe injuries and was transferred from France to hospital in Dublin.

The Plaintiff brought his claim in the Irish High Court. The Judge in this case gave a very detailed analysis of the jurisdictional issues involved in the case. The Judge also heard evidence from a French Legal Expert assessing the amount of damages in the sum of €38,000. The High Court Judge found this amount was too low and awarded the Plaintiff the sum of €63,500 in general damage and the sum of €24,262 for his medical expenses.

Where there is a conflict of law between two EU countries the Rome II Regulation (EC) No. 864/2007 can be of assistance. The law to be applied in each case will be determined by a list of priority:

  • The law of the country within which the accident took place.
  • The law of the country where both parties were habitually resident.
  • The law of the country with which the case is more closely connected.

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