5 essential steps to follow if you have an accident abroad

Having an accident abroad can turn your dream trip into a very expensive nightmare. Without the proper cover, you could find yourself without the necessary medical or legal cover for any accidents you are involved in.

Whether you are the victim, or it was your fault, there are five steps that could save you unnecessary legal and medical expenses if you have an accident abroad.

1. Report the accident as soon as possible.
If you are involved in an accident, make sure the police are called, and get a copy of the official police report to take home with you.

2. Record as much information as possible at the scene of the accident
Include photographs, notes, names and contact details of witnesses. If the accident happens in a commercial establishment, like a hotel, restaurant, or shopping mall, register the incident in their accident book and get a copy of the entry.

3. Don´t sign anything unless you are sure you understand 100% of what it says.
If you are unsure, ask for an interpreter. For example, in Europe you could be asked to sign a European Accident Statement (EAS) which is a standard accident report form. Only sign it if you understand, and agree with, everything it says. Get a copy of anything you sign.

4. Be careful what you say
You don´t want anything you say to be taken as admitting responsibility for the accident, before you speak to your insurance company, an interpreter and/or a lawyer. This is particularly true if you are in a country where you do not understand the language, and can not be sure exactly what you are accepting responsibility for.

5. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and let them know what happened.
If you do not report the accident within the time limit specified by the insurance company, it could invalidate your cover. The insurance company can also tell you the correct procedure to follow in the event of an accident.

Obviously, if you have been seriously injured in the accident you may not be able to take these steps yourself, which is why it is important that everyone you are travelling with is aware of this simple procedure.

If you are not able to get the information you need on the day, it is important you get it as soon as possible. Go back to the scene of the accident , take photos of where it took place, anything that caused the accident and that could help you.

Most people think of traffic incidents when talking about accidents, but something as simple as a fall in a hotel can have long-term health consequences. Always record details of any accident you have when travelling abroad, however insignificant you think it is at the time.

The legal system varies in each country and it can be very complicated trying to claim on accidents abroad. When you get back from your holiday, use a no win no fee service like Express Solicitors to find out if you can claim compensation, without having to pay expensive legal bills.