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No more UK damages for holiday accident claimants

05th December 2011

However, under Rome II, the European Union Regulation which aims to negate the conflict of applicable law between member states, anyone injured in a holiday accident which occurred after 11 January 2009 will now have their case heard under the law of the land where the incident took place. This would mean that compensation amounts could be significantly lower than under English and Welsh personal injury laws.

The move has been confirmed by senior judges in the European Court of Justice after a case was ruled upon on Thursday 17th November.

The court was hearing the case 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.

Ordinarily, his claim would have been settled under English law, but at the time the case went to court the EU was attempting to initiate the use of Rome II and it was suggested that the claim should be settled under French law. French compensation levels would almost certainly have been lower than the British citizen would have been awarded under UK law. In this case, the holiday accident claimant will be awarded damages at UK levels.

However, the European Court of Justice has now ruled that Rome II will come into effect in cases where the accident occurred after January 2009, with cases being heard under the applicable law of the land in which the incident took place.

Figures from the foreign office revealed that between 2010 and 2011 around 3,750 British nationals were taken to hospital, later needing help from the consulate – Spanish holiday accidents and illness accounted for a large proportion of this figure (around a third), with hundreds more in Greece, France and Thailand.

Holiday accident claim lawyers are unhappy, however. They say that the European regulation is poorly drafted and that, ultimately, where personal injury awards are lower, the amounts will not reasonably cover British costs for rehabilitation and medical care.

Personal Injury Blog
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