What Will Personal Injury Claims Look Like Post-Brexit?
The European Commission and the UK Government recently published advice on travelling in Europe in a post-Brexit world, however there was little mention of what to do if you are injured whilst abroad.
An injury of any kind is incredibly distressing, but for it to happen whilst in a foreign country can be particularly upsetting. It is therefore vital for claimants to know what remedies are available.
The European Commission and the UK Government recently published advice on travelling in Europe in a post-Brexit world. However, the advice very much centred on issues such as baggage control and passport renewal with almost no mention as to what may happen if you sustain an injury whilst in Europe.
One remedy which will be lost post-Brexit is the ability to pursue the insurer of the defendant directly in the UK. For example, prior to Brexit if a UK resident was injured at the hands of a French defendant, it would be possible to identify the defendant’s insurer and sue the insurer’s representatives from the UK.
Similarly, European directives created this same remedy specifically in regard to road traffic accidents. The benefits associated with this arrangement include the removal of language barriers and the need to travel to attend court hearings.
There are however, areas that will remain unaffected by Brexit, such as the ‘Package Regulations’ which are incorporated into UK law regardless of the EU. A package holiday offers a much higher level of protection – if you sustain an injury whilst on said holiday there is still a potential remedy through the UK courts.
It will still be necessary to show standards have been breached – by reference to the law of the country where the injury occurred – but there’ll be no need to travel back to the country to give evidence at trial or to be examined by a medical expert.
The UK is also a signatory to a number of international conventions outside the remit of the EU. These include specific conventions which offer potential remedies to claimants injured whilst travelling by air or sea. These will remain unaffected by Brexit.
The above developments point to the advantage of booking holidays as a package rather than separate components, so there can be some level of protection in the event of an injury. The international conventions which already apply to international travel, and which are unaffected by the EU, point to the possibility of the UK entering into separate agreements so that similar protections that exist in a pre-Brexit world can be sought.
This does however leave a period of uncertainty in any transition period, during which time the only remedy may be to liaise directly with a solicitor in the country where the accident happened.