At the moment, the differing national rules for making compensation claims mean a confusing situation for victims of road accidents and some people may receive no compensation at all because they inadvertently miss a short deadline for making a claim.
For instance, deadline claims against liable third parties range from between one year in Spain to 30 years in Luxembourg, as well as differing deadlines for claims against liable third party insurers.
The consultation will provide the Commission with a better idea of the scale of the problem and to assess potential solutions.
Views and experiences of victims of road accidents, all those who travel abroad with their car, legal practitioners, insurers, are especially being sought.
Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner said: "There are around 1 million road traffic accidents in the EU every year and some of these inevitably involve visitors from other EU countries. A road accident is a stressful experience for anyone, but it can get even worse if the victim is denied compensation due to complicated rules on bringing a claim. The European Commission wants to find out more so that we can offer effective solutions and make sure all victims have proper access to justice. European Citizens should feel at ease when using their car to go on holiday in another EU country."
Possible solutions range from improving information to victims of cross-border road accidents, to standardising the time limits for bringing legal action for damages following an accident.
Today's consultation forms part of the European Commission's continuous effort to improve EU citizens' rights.
On 9 May, the Commission launched the biggest ever EU public consultation on citizens' rights to identify possible obstacles people still face, ie when travelling in Europe or when shopping online. People have until 9 September to share their thoughts which will be fed into the 2013 EU Citizenship Report to be presented in May 2013.
For further details see: IP/12/461.