Belgium may sometimes get overlooked as a tourist destination, overshadowed by sunnier and more well-known destinations like Italy, France and Spain, but Belgium has a lot to offer travelers. It is well known for its beer and its chocolate but it also has numerous sites of historical interest for travelers to visit as well. Especially in the Flanders region there are many sites relating to battles fought in world war one. Alternatively people might go to Belgium to work or on business trips as Belgium, and especially Brussels, is an important political and economic hub in Europe.
Whether travelling for work or for pleasure your trip could be spoiled by getting into a car accident in Belgium and being injured. If you weren’t at fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation from the person or the third party who was. Claiming for a car accident in Belgium might sound like a difficult and complicated process, but if you work with Accident Claims UK you can rest assured that we will provide support and assistance that will make the process smooth and simple.
This guide was written to provide you with some of the information you need to have about claiming compensation for a car accident in Belgium and to answer questions you might have about it. Keep reading for more information, and when you have finished reading this article and you feel assured that you do want to start a claim or you find yourself still having questions you can have a free consultation with our accident claims team by calling 0800 073 8801.
If you were staying in Belgium but the road accident occurred across the border in nearby Holland then read this guide instead. If you suffered some other kind of accident, then you can use this guide to accident abroad claims, and this guide to package holiday claims to get the information you need.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claims For Car Accidents In Belgium
- XVhat Are The Largest Cities In Belgium?
- What Do You Have To Do Before Driving In Belgium?
- Why Is It Important To Have Both Travel And Driving Insurance?
- What To Do After A Car Accident In Belgium
- How To Get Help From The Emergency Services In Belgium
- How To Pay For Medical Treatment In Belgium
- Reporting Your Car Accident To Police And Your Insurance Provider
- Rental Car Accidents In Belgium
- Could I Claim For Whiplash After A Car Accident In Belgium?
- Do I Need To Use A Belgian Solicitor For My Claim?
- Time Limits For Claiming Compensation After A Car Accident
- Belgian Car Accident Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Claims Car Accident In Belgium Claims
- How Accident Claims UK Could Help You
- Start Your Claim For A Car Accident In Belgium Today
- Where To Find Further Helpful Information
British people made up the third highest number of visitors to Belgium in 2016. Hundreds of thousands of Britons make the journey to Belgium every year for work or for holidays. Belgium is an attractive country with a rich history and culture, there is plenty for people to do whether they are visiting historical sites or having nights out in one of the big towns. Belgium is a safe country with a low crime rate, but the rate of fatalities in road traffic accidents is significantly higher than in the UK. This is something to consider before you go away.
That’s why in this guide you will find information which can prepare you for what to do in the event that you find yourself in an accident and you need to contact the police and other emergency services as well as your insurers. What you will read in this article will also help you get ready for a car crash compensation claim with useful tips and advice on what to do to build your case. The most important thing you can do however is to get in touch with us at Accident Claims UK to speak to our advisors about what we can do to help you win the compensation you deserve.
Belgium is known for its beer, its chocolate and its charming medieval cities. The biggest cities in Belgium by population are:
Also worthy of mention as tourist sites are the towns of Mons, Ypres and Waterloo. The Ardennes forest is also an attractive area of natural beauty.
Belgium in one of several countries in which drivers are required by law to have a number of items in their car before they are permitted to drive, these include:
- Hi-visibility jackets. These are to be worn if your car has been in an accident or has broken down or if you have stopped and exited the vehicle on a road you would not normally be permitted to park on.
- Warning triangle: A reflective sign which the driver must erect by their car if they have been forced to stop by an accident or a breakdown.
- Headlight deflectors: Driving laws require that stickers be put on the headlights of your vehicle to reduce brightness and to prevent other drivers being dazzled.
- First Aid kit: Belgian registered vehicles must carry these, though vehicles registered outside of Belgium are exempt
- Fire extinguisher: The same rules apply as with first aid kits.
You will need to acquire this list of items if you are going to be driving in Belgium. Travel kits containing all the items that are required can be bought in motoring retailers and service stations in both the UK and in Belgium.
You will also need proof of ID ( a British passport will do), proof of ownership of the car (a V5C certificate) and proof that you have the car insured (a green card will serve this purpose).
If you have insurance coverage on your car from a British Insurer then you will have valid coverage in Belgium as well. Keep your insurance documents with you as they will act as proof that your car is insured. We do advise you to get a green card if possible however, this is a document which you can present as proof that the insurance you have on your car is valid in Belgium which can make the process of claiming on your insurance quicker and easier. You can request a green card from your insurer. Getting a green card is highly advisable due to the UK’s impending exit from the EU, after which simply holding a British insurance policy might not be enough to cover your vehicle.
Just as important as driving insurance is making sure that you have travel insurance. Travel insurance covers things like the costs of the loss of any of your possessions, travel expenses if you have to make different arrangements for coming back to the UK because of an accident and any medical care costs that come up. You may need this if you have been in a road traffic accident. If you don’t have proof of your travel insurance with you when any of these things come up you may have to pay for them yourself.
It is best to give the details of your travel insurance policy to friends or family members before you leave in case anything happens.
Some of the first things you ought to do while still at the scene if you have been in a Belgian road accident, assuming that you and the people travelling with you are safe and don’t require immediate medical treatment, would be to gather evidence to support a car crash compensation claim. You can do this by:
- Taking photos with your phone or your camera of the scene of the accident. Take as many as you can, the more the better. Get photos especially of the damage done to your car and of other cars involved.
- Getting the contact details and insurance details of other drivers involved.
- Getting the contact details of other people who witnessed the accident so that they can give statements supporting your claim.
- Writing down all of the details of the accident and the events leading up to it as best as you can remember them.
- Calling the emergency services if the incident is an emergency.
Don’t forget that when you are driving in Belgium you must put on your hi-visibility vest and erect the triangular warning sign if your car has been in an accident.
It is important that you don’t apologize for the accident or say anything that could be construed as an admission that the accident was somehow your fault. This is not to be hostile towards other people involved but to make sure that there is nothing you have said that could be used against you when you bring your car injury claim.
If you are in a car accident (or any other kind of accident) while you are in Belgium then you will need to know what number to call to reach the emergency services. In Belgium the number for the police is 101 and the fire service and ambulance service is 100. Just like dialing 999 in the UK this number will take you through to an operator who will dispatch the appropriate service to your location.
Don’t forget also the international emergency services number which you can use if you don’t speak French/Dutch or German or don’t have a SIM card in your phone. 112 will take you to an English speaking operator to take your call.
For the time being if you travel from the UK to any EU country (including Belgium) then you can apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). An EHIC card entitles you to receive healthcare on the same basis as Belgian citizens from the Belgian public health service. EHIC’s don’t cover all healthcare costs and are not a replacement for travel insurance, be advised that regardless of whether you are going to Belgium before or after the UK leaves the EU you should still obtain travel insurance. Please visit this NHS page for advice for obtaining an EHIC card.
Britain is due to leave the EU on January 31st 2020, after that takes effect European Health Insurance Cards may no longer be a valid way access healthcare in EU countries.
In the event of a car accident in Belgium you will need to report the incident to both your insurance company and to the police. If the accident is only minor then you don’t need to report the incident to the police straight away, you could get in trouble if you called the emergency services to report a minor accident which didn’t hurt anyone or seriously damage your car. But you do need to contact the local police station within 24 to report the incident. You must call the police right away if the accident was serious, do not move your vehicle or any other vehicles involved as the police may want to start an investigation of their own. If you think you have reason to believe that the other driver involved in the crash caused the accident by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs then you should tell the police.
You may be given a European Accident Statement (EAS) when you travel in Europe; this is a piece of paperwork drivers need to have in their vehicles so that in the event of an accident they and the other driver involved can both sign an agreed statement on what happened. If you fill out and sign this agreement it needs to be sent off to your insurance company within one week, You don’t have to sign the statement, if you aren’t sure what happened or if you disagree with the other person about what really happened then you should not put your name on it. The exact terms and conditions in your insurance contract may vary as to when your insurance expects to be informed of any incidents, but we recommend reporting it to them within 24 hours.
If you were driving a hire car when you got into the accident, then in addition to reporting the incident to the local police and to your insurance you will have to contact the company to let them know as well as soon as you can. Give them all the information you can remember, but don’t say anything that could be interpreted as an admission of fault for the accident if it wasn’t your fault.
Do not attempt to get a hire car repaired while you are in Belgium unless you have spoken to the car hire company and got their approval. Depending on the terms and conditions in the contract you signed with the car hire company you may be able to receive a replacement hire car if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Whiplash is a common injury that occurs in road traffic accidents. A car coming to a sudden stop or being suddenly jolted due to a collision is often sufficient to throw a person’s head back and forth so hard that the soft tissues in their neck get damaged, which is what caused whiplash. In most cases victims of whiplash will experience a full recovery, albeit after a few weeks of dealing with pain and being unable to move their heads and neck as usual. In a minority of cases whiplash can lead to more serious and long lasting symptoms. You can find more information about this kind of injury in this useful NHS guide.
You can claim compensation for whiplash; however it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between genuine cases and people hoaxing in hopes of getting compensation they don’t deserve. This means that you will need to undergo a close examination by a doctor to confirm your symptoms in order to make a successful claim. Please get in touch with us if you want guidance on having this kind of exam arranged.
Just because the road traffic accident was in Belgium doesn’t mean that you have to have a Belgian personal injury solicitor to handle the case. An English based solicitor could conduct an car injury claim for a car accident that happened in Belgium. Accident Claims UK can help you with seeking car crash compensation for a road traffic accident in Belgium.
Like in most countries Belgium has personal injury claims time limits. Meaning that a claim has to be made within a certain amount of time after the accident happens. The time limits for personal injury claims in Belgium are listed below.
|Injury claim||Time limit|
|Personal injury claim||Five years from the date of the accident, or from the date of becoming aware of the other parties role in the accident.|
|If the car is part of a UK package holiday booked through a UK tour operator. Contact us for further advice.||If you are claiming through a UK package holiday booked through a UK tour operator this could be 3 years contact us for further advice|
In order to claim compensation the amount you could be eligible to receive needs to be calculated. Compensation is calculated to reflect the needs and the difficulties that have been brought about for the claimant by their injuries. This is done by calculating the general damages and the special damages. The general damages are the health issues caused by the injury itself, their value is determined by the severity of the health problems linked to the injury and the degree to which they will impact the claimant’s life. Things such as psychological trauma and disfigurement fall under this category as well. Here is a table which explains how certain injuries are calculated under legal guidelines in the UK. Note that these will not reflect their exact value if they are calculated under Belgian law.
The other part of calculating your compensation is special damages, these are the changes in your financial situation that have occurred because you’ve had an injury. This might be income that you have lost because you’ve had to take time off work or because a disability has stopped you from working. Or it could be money that you have had to spend on medical treatment, medicines, travel costs and hiring people to look after you. Whatever it is, keep records of your expenditure, keep receipts and copies of contracts, they can be used to calculate how much money will go into your compensation.
|Back injury (Minor)||Soft tissue injuries or minor fractures that the victim recovers from within five years. Exact amount depends on pain, treatment, symptoms in other body parts and exacerbation of pre-existing conditions.||£2,090-£11,730|
|Back injury (Moderate)||Injuries to the spine which cause residual pain and disability severe enough to impact on the victims ability to live their life as normal. Exacerbation and acceleration of pre-existing conditions are also calculated as is vulnerability to the development of other conditions such as arthritis.||£23,680-£36,390|
|Back Injury (severe)||Severe injuries to the spinal cord, causing paralysis, loss of bodily functions, pain, discomfort, inability to work and associated mental and emotional health problems.||£59,430-£151,070|
|Shoulder injuries (severe)||Shoulder injuries associated with neck injuries and injuries to the brachial plexus||£16,380-£45,070|
|Shoulder injuries (serious)||Dislocation of the shoulder and damage to the brachial plexus causing damage to sensation, grip and movement of the shoulder and arm.||£10,890-£18,020|
|Shoulder injuries (moderate)||Injuries causing a "frozen shoulder" and lack of movement which heal within two years with minor non-permanent symptoms lasting after that.||£6,730-£11,980|
|Shoulder injuries (minor)||Soft tissue injuries which cause pain but show a complete recovery within two years.||£2,090-£11,490|
|Fracture of clavicle||Compensation will depend on the extent of the injury and recovery.||£4,390-£11,490|
We can help you find personal injury lawyers who will offer you a no win no fee agreement for your claim. A no win no fee claim won’t require you to spend your own money on the case. This is done by making an arrangement with your solicitor prior to starting the claim to pay them a “success fee” out of your compensation if or when you are granted compensation. This of course means that if your claim fails your solicitor will receive no payment. This type of claim will help you avoid losses if your claim doesn’t go your way.
Accident Claims UK can offer you legal support in seeking car crash compensation without putting you out of pocket, the consultations and advice we offer to people inquiring about making a claim are completely free. The legal support we provide is based on decades of experience from among our team of personal injury lawyers. Any client who works with our solicitors can make a no win no fee claim, a claim that won’t cost them any money out of their own finances.
You can make a start on looking for personal injury compensation for a car accident in Belgium today by calling our car injury claims team on 0800 073 8801, they can give you a free consultation on how Belgian car accident compensation claims work. They can also call you if you would prefer to receive a phone call, just put your contact details and a time that’s convenient for you into this form and our team will get back to you.