Potential double attack on justice for road traffic victims if UK pulls out of EU
Leading personal injury law firm Thompsons Solicitors has warned that making a claim for injuries sustained on the continent will be much harder if Britain decides to leave the European Union (EU).
British holidaymakers travelling to European destinations will have a much more difficult time attempting to make a claim for a road accident as they will no longer be able to run their claim through a UK-based law firm or pursue a case in the UK courts.
At present, British tourists can claim for road crash injuries under the ‘European Motor Directives’ which give a direct right of action against the insurer in the injured person’s home country.
If the UK leaves the EU however, tourists involved in a car crash in Europe will struggle to recover damages for pain, suffering and expenses. While the UK is a member state of the EU, victims have a right to make a damages claim in the UK – even if they were injured abroad – meaning that in most cases, injured people are not required to tackle language barriers or incur huge travel expenses to enforce their rights.
Concerns about whether leaving the EU will restrict access to justice for car accident victims are further compounded by Government proposals to raise the small claims limit in road accident claims that happen in the UK. Increases to the small claims limit will mean people will have to pay for a lawyer out of the damages meant for their injuries, or take on insurers by themselves.
Martin Gwyther, foreign jurisdiction claims expert at Thompsons Solicitors said: “For UK citizens injured in Europe, pulling out of the EU will mean a personal injury claim will be a lot harder. The agreements that are now in place making it possible to get compensation relatively easily after, say, a road crash on holiday could well be ripped up if we Brexit.
“Add to that the prospect of the Conservatives forcing through their proposal to raise the small claims limit in road accident cases, which will strip injured people of access to independent, free legal support, and you’re looking at a potential double attack on justice.”