Bulgarian holiday death heightens safety concerns abroad


A holidaymaker has died in Bulgaria after being run over by a motor vehicle.

Car Collision Abroad

The mother-of-4, from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was hit by the unknown vehicle as she strolled with her husband early on Saturday 19 July. Although her husband was also hurt, his injuries are not thought to be serious.

According to an Ulster newspaper the incident is believed to have happened near the holiday resort of Sunny Beach, on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, not far from where the couple were staying.

Concerns for Brits' safety abroad

The incident, which is currently under investigation by Bourgas police, has heightened the concerns many have for the safety of British tourists and holidaymakers abroad, particularly with regard to the roads.

"It's crucial that you pursue a compensation claim as soon as possible if you've been hurt in a road accident abroad," Simpson Millar's specialist travel lawyer Nick Harris said. "Many countries have statutes of limitations, and the time available for making a claim can vary significantly."

Many types of RTA

Nick noted the variety of different kinds of road traffic accident (RTA) which could attract a compensation claim. "If you've been injured and it wasn't your fault, it's worthwhile taking a hard look at the facts and instructing an expert in the field."

Nick said that incidents which could entitle holidaymakers to damages payouts could be caused by any motor vehicle, a coach or a minibus, motorbikes and mopeds, mobile homes and caravans, bicycles and even pedestrians.

"Know where you stand legally"

"If you've decided to hire a car for your holiday it's important to understand your legal position," Nick stressed. "If an RTA occurs in the EU or the EEA and was caused by an EEA driver, you'll have the protection of EU laws. These could enable you to claim substantial damages if you were hurt as a pedestrian, a passenger or a driver."

Nick added that EU insurers are obliged to appoint British representatives to pursue compensation claims relating to UK visitors hurt in RTAs through no fault of theirs.

The 'Constat Amiable' – why is it important?

"The 'Constat Amiable' (CA), or European Accident Statement, is a crucially important, Europe-wide legal document relating to RTAs," Nick said. "Ask your insurers for a copy before you leave."

"The idea is to help you share data on what exactly occurred while events are still fresh. The CA could also help all parties reach an agreement on how the accident happened in order that claims are settled quickly."

"If you decide to complete and sign the CA you need to ensure you have a final copy and that you comprehend what the other party is declaring prior to signing it."

"Remember, the Constat Amiable is a legal document, so anything you state, or anything with which you're unhappy, needs to be watertight."

Top Tips to take away:

  • If you're involved in an RTA abroad, it's essential to keep calm and sensibly size up the situation
  • Call emergency services if anyone's injured
  • Driving abroad? Keep your insurer's emergency contact details on hand
  • Contact your insurance company or its local agents as soon as possible after an RTA, as well as your holiday rep if applicable
  • Stay calm and co-operate with the police when they arrive – but don't admit liability for the accident
  • If you need insurance details of EEA vehicles after RTAs abroad, contact the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

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