Can I claim for a cycling accident abroad on holiday?
Foreign roads can be dangerous for holidaying cyclists, and even experienced riders can be caught out by differences in regulations and driving culture abroad.
As with cycling accidents on UK roads, however, if you have been injured as the result of a foreign road user's negligence, you may be able to make a claim.
Medical treatment for cycling accidents outside the UK
Before you travel, if you are cycling in Europe, you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC covers the cost of medically necessary treatment for Britons travelling in those parts of Europe covered by the EHIC.
If you have been injured while travelling without an EHIC, or outside of Europe, and the full cost of your treatment is not covered by insurance, your medical bills may be costly. An injury claim may be able to cover these treatment costs.
Cycling tours abroad
If you have been injured while on a cycling tour, you may be able to claim under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. These regulations enable holidaymakers on a package tour to make a claim against the tour operator, through the courts of England and Wales.
Time limits for cycling accidents abroad
If you have been injured in a cycling accident while on holiday abroad, you may need to act quickly to improve you chance of making a successful claim.
A number of considerations are applied to all injury claims, such as whether the party responsible for an accident owed you a duty of care, and whether the accident can be proven to have caused your injury. In addition to these issues, in the case of accidents abroad you must also consider limitation dates.
The time limit in which a personal injury claim can be made can vary considerably. In France, for example, you have 10 years to make a claim in most cases. In Spain, there is a one-year time limit.
Holidaymakers who cycle abroad, or plan to, should check that their insurance covers cycling accidents, and under what circumstances (e.g. road cycling, but not off-road). Your insurance company may require you to make contact as soon as is reasonably possible, following your accident. The insurer may also require evidence of the accident and of your injury, such as a traffic police report and doctor's notes.
If you do not have insurance, or your insurance does not cover cycling abroad, an injury claim may be the only means available to you to claim compensation.
Do I need to instruct a foreign lawyer to make a cycling claim?
The answer to this question will depend on a range of factors, including which country you were injured in, how your trip was arranged, and how the injury occurred.
If you were knocked off your bike by a British driver in Germany, for example, you may be able to pursue the driver through Court in the UK. If you were injured in Spain while on an off-road excursion you booked yourself, due to the poor condition of the bike, for example, you may need to claim against the Spanish cycle hire company through the Spain's legal system.
Regardless of the circumstances of your injury, if you have been injured in a cycle accident in another country, you may wish to discuss your options with a solicitor sooner rather than later. Prompt action will enable your solicitor to help gather evidence and conduct any necessary legal work at an early stage, to give your claim the best chance of success.