Road traffic accidents abroad

Europeans may be involved in a car accident while travelling in another EU country ('visiting victims'). Afterwards, they may want to claim compensation for damages they suffered in the accident.

Legal rules differ across EU

Each EU country has different rules for claiming the compensation.
There are two main differences

  • Compensation awards: EU countries apply different concepts of liability for damages and injuries in car accidents
  • Limitation periods: time limits vary from one EU country to another.

As a result of these different rules, victims in traffic accidents may have difficulties receiving compensation for harm suffered.

What is the EU doing about this?

The EU has harmonised the applicable law rules: In accordance with the Rome II Regulation, the applicable time-limits for bringing a claim are determined, in principle, by the law of the State where the accident occurred. This has increased legal certainty.