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Title: Can I claim for pain in Spain?

Date: 18 September 2015

Question

Earlier this summer I was touring as pillion with my husband in Andalucia, Spain when we were knocked off our hire bike by a Spanish mini bus. Both of us were taken to hospital in Malaga with injuries although fortunately they turned out to be uncomplicated fractures, cuts and bruises and we are both expected to make a full recovery. However, we were in hospital for two days and our holiday was ruined. How do we go about making a claim for compensation now that we are back on our feet so to speak?

Selma James, by email

Answer

The first thing to do is to find out who the handling agent is in the UK for the (I assume) Spanish insurer of the mini bus. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) or Association of British Insurers can provide this information. You will need to obtain a copy of the police report from the Spanish police and get it translated. The report should make it clear whose fault the accident is so primary liability or fault for the accident should be able to be readily ascertained. The claim will then proceed with the UK agent for the foreign insurer.

There are some complexities in foreign claims such as often shorter time limits in which to commence a claim (e.g. 1 year in Spain as opposed to 3 years in England and Wales). In addition there are jurisdictional issues to consider dealing with which country’s law applies to liability and valuing the claim so expert legal advice is essential.

Compensation levels can vary widely across different countries or legal jurisdictions and some use tariff based systems which can result in lower compensation than would be the case if the claim were to be pursued in this jurisdiction. Your best bet is to contact s specialist solicitor as soon as possible.

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