Applicable law for road accidents claims in the EU
Produced in partnership with Andrew Wilson
Applicable law for road accidents claims in the EU

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note Produced in partnership with Andrew Wilson provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Applicable law for road accidents claims in the EU
  • General principles
  • Claims against uninsured motorists
  • Concluding comment

Brexit: The UK's departure from the EU on exit day, ie 31 January 2020, has implications for practitioners considering road traffic accident claims in the EU. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—considerations for personal injury claims.

This Practice Note, which should be read in conjunction with An introduction to road accident claims in the EU which identifies more specifically the regulations and precedent relating to road accidents occurring on EU roads.

General principles

Right of action

The Fourth Motor Insurance Directive, which ordered implementation of its provisions by 20 January 2003, laid the ground for a direct right of action against a motor insurer, whereby the motor insurer was to be directly liable to the injured party to the extent that the insurer was liable to the insured person.

Implementation of this part of the Directive in the UK was by the European Communities (Rights Against Insurers) Regulations 2002.

With regard to the UK provision, it is very important for practitioners to note not only that the insurer’s liability to the victim is only to the extent of their liability (indemnity) to their insured, but also the geographical limitation on the domestic provision: the domestic provision applies only to accidents on a road or other public place in the UK.

However, pursuant to the Directive, other states of the European Union will have