Saturday, 9 June 2012

Holidays, Accident Claims and the Rome II Convention

Part I
Are you aware there is now a further complication with regard to making a claim if you are injured whilst on holiday in a country that is part of the European Union.   Until recently if you were injured abroad and brought a successful claim damages, the case would be ruled upon using UK law and any damages awarded would also be similar to those that a claimant would have received under UK law.

Recently it was decided under Rome II, (the European Union Regulation that aims unify the law between member states), that anyone injured in a holiday accident that occurred after 11 January 2009 would now have to have their case heard under the law of the country where the incident took place.   This means that the level of compensation awarded could be considerably lower than that provided by the England and Welsh Courts.

This decision was made further to a court hearing of a British man who had been injured in a car accident in south west France in summer 2007. He suffered two broken legs and brain damage as a result of the car crash.      In normal circumstances his claim would have been dealt with under English law, however at the time the case went to court the EU was attempting to apply the use of Rome II and it was suggested that his claim should be dealt with under French law. French compensation levels were lower than the British citizen would have been awarded under UK law.  However, in this instance the holiday accident claimant was awarded damages at UK levels.

This case served in part to form the basis of the European Court of Justice’s decision that claims for holiday makers etc who were involved in accidents resulting in personal injury or death would from January 2009 be dealt under the Rome II Convention.  Therefore, if you have an accident in which you sustain personal injury   in Spain then your claim may well be heard in a  Spanish Court.

Simply speaking any accident that occurs in a country that is part of the European Union and results in you making a claim is likely to be heard under the applicable law of the land in which the incident took place.

This published article may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice.

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