Being injured in an accident overseas is a stressful experience. You have to deal with a foreign medical system, often in a foreign language. You may not have your usual support network with you to look after you. You have the anxiety of how to get back to Australia. You are tasked with completing paperwork and making telephone calls to the local embassy, your travel insurer and airline to make sure you can get home safely. Your holiday suddenly turns from a relaxing break to a stressful nightmare. That’s where an experienced accidents overseas lawyer can help.
We understand the stress and complexities involved in accidents overseas. We are experienced in bringing compensation claims for Australians injured in accidents overseas, so you can concentrate on your recovery.
What happens if I’m hurt in an accident overseas?
Here are our top 5 pieces of advice if you’ve been hurt in an accident overseas
- Seek medical treatment. It is crucial that you seek medical treatment for your injuries, however minor they might seem at the time. This forms evidence of your accident and the injuries that you sustained. Whilst it might be tempting to wait until you get back to Australia to see a doctor, this delay could be putting your health at risk. You’ll also miss out on valuable evidence if you later bring a compensation claim for your injuries.
- Contact your travel insurer. Medicare will not cover your treatment expenses overseas, so you will have to pay for treatment yourself. If you took out travel insurance, you can claim the cost back from your travel insurer. Alternatively, speak to your travel insurer’s emergency assistance provider and they might arrange for them to be invoiced directly by the hospital. Your travel insurer will also be able to help get you back to Australia if your return travel plans have to change.
- Obtain copies of your medical records. It can be difficult to obtain copies of foreign medical records. Before you leave hospital, ask for a copy of your medical records including your x-rays or scans. If you can’t get print outs, take photos on your phone.
- Report the accident. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is often a requirement to report the accident to the police. Ensure that you are given a police reference number and ask for a copy of the police report or take a photo on your phone. For other types of accident, such as in hotels, resorts and theme parks, make a written report of how the accident happened to the manager or customer services. Ask for a copy, or take a photo of it on your phone.
- Take photographs of what caused your accident overseas and the surrounding area. It is very difficult and expensive to return to the scene of an accident overseas. During this delay, the cause of the accident might have been rectified. It is therefore important to take photographs and videos of what caused your accident and the surrounding area from various angles to use as evidence if you later bring a compensation claim for your accident overseas.
What types of accidents overseas can you help with?
Our founder Victoria Roy is an expert accidents overseas lawyer with vast experience in helping people who have been injured abroad, including:
- Slips on wet floors
- Slips on food and drink spillages
- Trips in potholes and on uneven ground
- Falls down stairs
- Falls from unguarded heights, like balconies and bunk beds
- Car, bus and moped accidents
- Burns from dangerous open flames
- Boating accidents
We are continually surprised by the unusual situations that our clients can find themselves in overseas. If your accident overseas isn’t on the above list, book an appointment with us so we can see if we can help.
What laws apply to accidents overseas?
Generally speaking, the law of the country where your accident occurred will determine whether you can bring a compensation claim for your overseas accident. This means it is the foreign law that will determine whether you are entitled to any compensation, and if so, how much.
As you can appreciate, many countries have less generous compensation laws than Australia. However, as an experienced accidents overseas lawyer our founder and principal solicitor Victoria Roy is an expert at examining how your overseas accident occurred and where possible establishing links with Australia to bring a claim under Australian law.
Bringing overseas accident compensation claims can be too tricky for most general personal injury lawyers.
We are travel law experts. We know the criteria to look for in establishing a claim under Australian law even when an accident occurred overseas. If a foreign law applies to your claim, we are connected to a network of overseas personal injury lawyers who we know personally. Together with our overseas counterparts, we can still help you bring a compensation claim.
Can I bring a claim in Australia against a foreign defendant for an accident overseas?
Even if your accident occurred overseas, a foreign law applies and the person or entity at faulty is foreign, it is usually still possible to bring a compensation claim here in Australia. We know the factors that you need to prove to bring your claim here.
It is often beneficial to bring a claim in Australia even if a foreign law applies. This is because you are in control of the claim, and are dealing with an Australian lawyer in English rather than the claim being run overseas.
In some circumstances it might not be possible for you to bring your claim in Australia. In some cases it might also be more beneficial for you to bring the claim overseas. We will advise you on the best route to take for your specific overseas accident claim. If we advise you to bring your claim overseas, we will work in conjunction with our network of foreign lawyers who we know and trust to fight for the compensation you deserve.
What time limits apply to claims for accidents overseas?
The time limit that applies to your compensation claim for an accident overseas will depend on the country where your accident happened.
The deadline can be as short as six months in the Dominican Republic, or 1 year in Thailand, China and Spain. It is therefore important to seek expert advice from an accidents overseas lawyer as soon as possible.
If it is possible to bring your claim under Australian law, the deadline under Australian law is generally 3 years.
When different time limits potentially apply, it is safest to treat the shortest deadline as the time limit.
How do I choose an accidents overseas lawyer to bring a claim for my accident overseas?
Here are our top 5 things to look for when choosing a travel lawyer to help you with a compensation claim after an accident overseas:
- What experience do they have? Travel law claims for accidents overseas are complex. You need a travel lawyer who has dealt with overseas accident compensations claims like yours before, and has a trusted network of foreign lawyers to work with when necessary. Our Victoria Roy has been working in travel law since 2010. She has worked in conjunction with lawyers across the world, including various states in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
- How knowledgable are they on travel law? Travel law is far more complicated than general personal injury work. The legal issues surrounding jurisdiction and which country’s laws apply are complex. Our Victoria Roy works in this specialised area of law every day, keeping her knowledge up to date. She also regularly presents and writes articles on travel law issues to train other lawyers. Of course, no one knows everything, especially when it comes to foreign law. If Victoria does not know something, she will tell you upfront and find out the answer.
- Will they deal with your claim personally, or delegate it to less qualified staff? Victoria Roy looks after all of our clients’ cases. We are proud to be a small firm where we can offer exceptional legal advice and a personalised service. We don’t have a call centre and support staff won’t screen your call. From day one to the end of your claim, your overseas accident claim will be dealt with by Victoria Roy, no exceptions!
- What do they charge? We are passionate about access to justice and wherever possible we will act for you on a No Win No Fee basis. However, we are transparent and cannot promise that we will act on every overseas accident case in this way. This is because No Win No Fee agreements are not permitted in all countries. We will explain how we propose to charge you at the beginning of your case depending on your circumstances. Regardless of how we fund the claim, we are proud that our size and low overheads allow us to provide expert legal advice at a very competitive hourly rate compared to big personal injury law firms.
- Do you like them? Overseas accident claims are complicated. It is therefore important that you choose a lawyer that explains what’s happening to you in plain English in a way that you can understand. You also need to feel at ease, so no question that you ask a lawyer is a silly question. Our Victoria Roy is warm, caring, a great listener and empathetic lawyer. Click here to find out more about her. Alternatively book a free no-obligation initial appointment with her. When we say no-obligation, we mean it so if we are not the right fit for you, we won’t be offended.