Road traffic accidents abroad can have a significant impact on your holiday. While road collisions in the UK can be frightening, having a car accident abroad can be even more distressing because of language barriers or different legal systems.

If you have been involved in a car, motorcycle, cycling or pedestrian road accident abroad that wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to make a holiday accident claim.

You can make a claim for compensation if your foreign car accident happened in Europe, or if you were injured in a vehicle while on a journey organised as part of a package holiday outside of Europe. Compensation claims for foreign car accidents in Europe are settled in UK courts and (currently) protected by EU law.

Sun hat, map, camera, sunglasses for a road trip

Making a claim for road traffic accidents that happen outside Europe can still be pursued in the UK if you made the contract for the holiday in the UK. The claim can more complicated but our experienced solicitors can help you.

Get in touch with Thompsons today for free legal advice on claiming for a road accident abroad.

What to do if you have a car accident abroad

Whether you’ve had a road accident within or outside the EU, you should make sure that you:

    • Call the police and get a copy of their report or a police reference number
    • Exchange details with the other party involved
    • Take down the driver’s vehicle details, including registration and a contact number
    • Take photographs of the scene if safe to do so
    • Gather the names and addresses of any witnesses
    • Note down the date and time the accident happened
    • Seek legal advice as soon as possible.

We have experience in a range of cross border claims. Martyn Gwyther, our national head of overseas accident claims, outlines how Thompsons can support you should you have a road traffic accident abroad.


We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about making a claim for a road traffic accident below.

1. What should I do after a car accident abroad?

If you’ve been involved in a foreign car accident, seek any medical attention you may need immediately. Call the police or equivalent authority as soon as the accident happens and ask for a copy of the report. Ask for an interpreter if there is a language barrier. Remember to make notes of what happened, take photographs of the scene if safe to do so, and collect the names and addresses of any witnesses as they could be important to support your claim.

2. How do I make a claim for a car accident abroad?

The first step in making a claim for a road accident abroad is to seek legal advice from a specialist lawyer. Our expert solicitors can review your case and let you have a claim that is likely to succeed.

3. Can I still make a claim if my road accident happened outside the EU?

Yes. If you were involved in a road accident outside the EU that wasn’t your fault, you should still be able to make a claim. While you won’t be protected by EU agreements, you will still be able to make a claim against the insurer of the negligent driver, however, your claim may proceed outside of the UK court.

4. How long do I have to make a road accident abroad claim?

Usually you have three years from the date of your foreign car accident to make a claim for compensation, however, there are exceptions. We recommend seeking legal advice as soon as possible, as the time limit for making a claim abroad may be different.

5. Who can I make a claim against if I’m injured in a car accident abroad?

If you were involved in a road traffic accident while travelling as part of your package holiday, and it wasn’t your fault, you can make a claim against the tour operator. If your road traffic accident was caused by the condition of the roads, the claim will likely be made against the authority responsible for the upkeep of the road. For accidents caused due to another driver’s negligence, you may be able to make a claim against the insurers of the person or people responsible.

6. When will I get compensation for my road accident abroad?

There is no set time period for settling your compensation claim. Generally, the more complicated your case is the longer it can take for the case to conclude.

Get in touch

Thompsons always aims to secure your compensation in the shortest time possible.

Contact our solicitors today on 0800 0 224 224 for free legal advice or complete our online claim form.