Road Traffic Accidents Abroad – Will The Process Change After Brexit?
Typically if you have a road traffic accident in the UK that was caused by another driver, you are entitled in law to claim reimbursement of damages / compensation for injury, from that driver’s motor vehicle insurers.
But what if you have an accident abroad?
The current law, is that if you are involved in a road traffic accident in any other EU or EEA country, that was NOT your fault, you can do so here, in the UK, using principles of English law, using the English language. The authority for this comes under the Fourth Motor Insurance Directive.
What will happen once Britain leaves the EU?
We shall almost certainly be removed from the Fourth Directive agreement once Brexit has been achieved.
UK citizens involved in road traffic accidents abroad may then have to try to deal directly with that foreign motor vehicle insurer (though our own insurers may agree to do this on our behalf). If the foreign driver is uninsured or untraced (i.e in the situation of a hit and run), the victim may need to research whether that country has any equivalent of our Motor Insurer’s Bureau scheme (MIB).
This is difficult enough, but bear in mind that other countries will have their own specific traffic legislation, their own time limits for making a claim, and it will all be in a foreign language!
Another hurdle is that some MIB equivalents, only pay out to their own residents or those who are members of the EU / EEA. For this reason, the UK MIB has been in negotiations with other countries to cover these exact situations.
If you’re planning to travel abroad after Brexit, take some time to research the accident legislation of the country you intend to visit – or at least make a telephone call to your own insurer.