Holiday accidents are increasing


Road traffic accidents whilst on holiday abroad are on the rise and in the last 2 years have increased significantly.

In addition to increasing levels of holiday makers hiring vehicles abroad, accidents are a more commonplace occurrence in some European countries and are the cause of more fatalities resulting from accidents than in the UK.

UK drivers are urged therefore to be much more vigilant when on holiday and driving on European roads. If you or a member of your family have a holiday accident then we advise you to follow the advice set out below:

Accident on holiday – road accident claims abroad:

Always stop and exchange details with the 3rd party driver – name, insurer, and the name of the company if it is a company vehicle, and vehicle registration number. It is also advisable to take note of the appearance of the 3rd party driver as you may be asked to describe them at a later date. (Tip: If you have a camera on your mobile phone you could always take a picture.)

The police are required by law to attend any road accident in which a foreign driver is involved. Once reported you should ensure that you obtain a reference number from the police. Also report the holiday accident to your own holiday insurers even if you do not intend to utilise the terms of your policy.

If you don’t manage to get the other driver’s details but have the vehicle registration, your legal representative can approach the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Green Card Department who will be able to assist in obtaining contact details for both the foreign insurer and the UK handling agents for that insurer. If you don’t get either details then you need to know whether there were any witnesses to the accident who may have obtained the details.

If there were no witnesses and no police attendance, a claim can still be made via an application to the MIB under the untraced drivers’ scheme. You should speak to a solicitor in the UK who can help you apply. As some MIB claims (under the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement) do not include recovery of legal costs you may find that some solicitors will not take on your claim – Simpson Millar will ask you to sign a Contingency Agreement to ensure that you get proper legal assistance in progressing your claim.

The MIB’s Green Card department deals with a system designed by the United Nations and is presided over by the Economic Commission for Europe. It exists for the protection of victims of foreign registered vehicles.

It is advisable to hold a green card and you can request this from your insurer before you travel abroad – however the MIB will handle claims against foreign motorists so long as the foreign registered vehicle comes from a country within the Green Card System and with which the MIB has an Agreement (The MIB currently has agreements with every country in the system).

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