Brexit and European Road Accidents

29th March 2019

The Current Position

Since 2003 UK citizens injured in road accidents in the EU have been able make their claims within the UK. This right also covers cases where a foreign driver is uninsured. Claims can either be negotiated or begun in our courts. UK procedural law applies but the basis and value of the claims are assessed on the law of the country where the accident occurred. 

These rights are based on two Treaties that are linked to the UK’s membership of the EU. When the UK completes its departure from the EU, these existing rights will either change or be removed, even for past accidents.

  

No Deal Brexit 

If there is No Deal then these rights will be lost on the day that any Article 50 deadline expires – currently the 31st October. After this, UK Claimants will have to make their claims in the country where the accident occurred. If a No Deal seems likely, it may be best to start Court proceedings here before the UK leaves. However the laws of different European counties may still apply. For example, a case may have to be transferred to the courts in the country of the accident.  

 

Orderly Brexit 

If the UK leaves with a negotiated deal, then the current position continues beyond the Article 50 start date, and continues during any negotiated transition period. The formal Withdrawal from the EU is currently set for December 2020, although this date may change. 

The current departure plan with the EU includes some replacement provisions but they only partially restore the rights. For example, unlike now, uninsured driver claims will become impossible for UK citizens in some EU countries, notably France.

 

How we can help 

We have experience in dealing with EU road accident claims, including liaising with European lawyers. If you have been injured in a road accident, within the EU, and wish to make a claim, please get in touch with our Personal Injury team who will be happy to assist you. Your options will depend on the political position with Brexit; the date of your accident and the laws of the country where the accident took place. Please do not rely on this blog alone as legal advice in your particular case.

 

Warning 

Finally, different European countries have different time periods within which an injury claim must be made. Brexit dates and deadlines do not change these.