Any road traffic accident, especially involving personal injury, is a stressful and traumatic experience, all the more so when it happens abroad, away from home and support.

Such accidents are increasingly common now with so many Irish people taking their cars to the UK and Europe on holiday.

A useful E.U. Directive

It always surprises me how few people are aware that European Union legislation permits residents of Ireland, who have been injured in a road traffic accident abroad, to claim compensation here in Ireland even if the accident took place – and the person responsible for the accident lives – in another European Union State.

People injured in other EU countries often believe that they would have to consult foreign lawyers and seek compensation in the country where the accident happened.

This is not so. 

Irish Law provides that if you are a resident in Ireland and have an accident in another EU country, you can bring your claim for your personal injury and other losses here in Ireland.

How it Works

Naturally, of course, terms and conditions apply!

It is the Law of the country where the accident occurred that must be applied by the Irish Court in deciding liability and damages.  Levels of compensation awarded are lower in some EU countries than here in Ireland and there are different time limits for bringing a claim and it is these standards that the Irish Courts must apply.

However, Irish Court procedures are followed so, in Ireland, for most personal injury claims, it is necessary to go through the Injuries Board to obtain an Authorisation permitting you to go to Court. In my experience, in claims involving accidents abroad, the Injuries Board issues an Authorisation immediately allowing a proper Court claim to be made.

Another UK Brexit issue

Now that the UK has decided to leave the E.U. it remains to be seen whether it will retain (or be allowed to retain) the benefit of this directive in its Law.  Time will tell.

So don’t delay!

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident in another European Union country, (that was not your fault), and you are resident in Ireland you should consult a Solicitor without delay as it is quite likely that your compensation claim can be brought right here in Ireland.

When in doubt seek advice