Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, being involved in an accident abroad is not only inconvenient but it can also be extremely confusing to navigate how to get the correct support and understand your rights.

Here foreign jurisdiction solicitor, Martyn Gwyther, provides expert insight on the types of foreign jurisdiction cases handled by the firm and explains how Thompsons can support you if you have an accident abroad.

About Martyn Gwyther and his experience in foreign jurisdiction cases

Martyn Gwyther is a highly experienced solicitor who has specialised in accidents abroad. He is head of Thompsons’ overseas accident claims team and is based in the Manchester office, although his work covers most of the UK.

“As a senior personal injury specialist, I’ve dealt with a huge range of holiday accident claims over the years – from slips and trips to incidents resulting in catastrophic and life-changing injuries, such as brain or spinal injury, amputations and serious burns.

airplane flying over white clouds in a blue sky

“Any incident that causes illness or injury causes distress to the person involved. But if it happens abroad, or the defendant is based in another country, then there is the extra stress of building a case for compensation abroad, which is why it’s important to seek legal advice from solicitors who are experienced in fighting and winning these types of claims.

“I’m specialised in representing clients who have been the victims of accidents where there is a “cross-border” dispute i.e. you are person claiming in one country while being physically located in another. A broad range of cross-border disputes can arise, including arguments about jurisdiction and applicable law.

“My main aim is to get the best result for the injured party, which, is money, yes, but also may well involve medical treatment such as rehabilitation for the person affected before there is any award of compensation for the injuries.

The below are examples of some of the significant foreign jurisdiction cases handled by the firm; they show the complications that can arise in these claims and how the Thompsons’ foreign accidents team can help negotiate and secure the best deal.

Examples of foreign jurisdiction cases

Road traffic accidents

A road traffic accident is frightening wherever it happens but having one abroad can be doubly upsetting. Our solicitors are experienced in guiding clients through the claims process in foreign jurisdiction cases. Here’s how we helped one client:

A 72-year-old motorcyclist from Scarborough sustained severe injuries and had to have his leg amputated after being knocked off his motorbike by an American motorist while on the Isle of Man.

He was thrown several metres down the road, with the motorbike landing on top of him.

The insurer of the negligent driver claimed that the case could only be tried on the Isle of Man, thus limiting the amount of damages payable.

We worked with a leading American law firm to have the case pursued in the motorist’s home state of Massachusetts. We were able to secure our client double the compensation that would have been possible under Manx law.

Slips, trips, and falls

Whether it’s a fall from a balcony, a trip in the street, or a slip in a hotel, our team is experienced in settling slip, trip and fall claims that happen abroad. This is how we supported one holidaymaker. He fell headfirst down a flight of temporary stairs while boarding a flight.

As a result of the fall, the client suffered a dislocated shoulder, a torn hamstring, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

After a firm of inexperienced lawyers refused to take the case, the man heard of Thompsons and came to us. We made a claim on the client’s behalf under the Montreal Convention, which covers accidents during international carriage by air.

We settled out of court for £28,000.

Accidents while working abroad

If you’re working abroad for a UK employer, you still have a right to be kept safe and protected from harm. Our foreign jurisdiction team have a history of supporting workers who have found themselves involved in accidents while working abroad. Here’s how we supported one claimant who worked in the British Embassy in Washington DC.

He suffered a fractured wrist while at work during a refurbishment conducted by external contractors.

The British government argued that US law applied, which would have limited any compensation due.

However – in a ground-breaking decision at a UK county court, the judge found that the claimant could pursue his claim under the law of England and Wales.

To learn more about foreign jurisdiction claims or to speak to us about a potential accident abroad claim, please click below.