France Car Accident Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation For A Car Crash In France? – BH

By Joanne Jeffries. Last Updated 26th November 2021. Welcome to this guide to making a claim for a car accident in Belgium.

Car accident in France claims guide

Car accident in France claims guide

France has always been a popular holiday destination for British tourists due to its proximity to the UK mainland. Taking a car to France is easy when travelling by ferry or using the Eurotunnel. While many people drive across France without any problems, if you’re involved in a car accident in France, claiming compensation might seem like a complex task. Having a personal injury solicitor who can help you claim for could make the process easier and help to ensure you receive the right level of compensation for your injuries.

In this guide we’re going to look at reasons why you might be able to make a car accident claim, the types of injuries that could be claimed for and how much compensation you could be entitled to. We’ll also explain what you need to do at the time of a road traffic accident in France.

Our advisors can provide you with free legal advice about making a No Win No Fee claim. They’ll also offer a no obligation assessment of your claim, so you know whether you have a chance of being compensated. If the advisor feels your claim is valid, they could introduce you to one of our solicitors who could help you make a claim. To find out whether you’re eligible to make a claim right away, please call us on 0800 073 8801.

If you’d like to know more about claiming after having a car accident in France before making a claim, please carry on reading our handy guide.

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A Guide To Compensation Claims For Car Accidents In France

Driving in France can be a lovely experience with miles and miles of countryside to take in as well as some amazing city views. However, if you’re involved in a car accident in France, your trip can be ruined, you can be left with serious injuries and, furthermore, you might be left out of pocket too.

In this guide, we’re going to look at what to do if you have a car accident in France, what you need to carry in your vehicle, how to contact the emergency services and when it might be possible to claim compensation for your injuries.

On that note, in general, the test for making a claim is very similar to UK law. In essence, a solicitor will only take on your claim if you can show that:

  • You were involved in a car crash in France.
  • Caused by another driver’s negligence.
  • Which left you injured.

If all of the above are true, and you claim within the relevant time limit (explained later), you could be entitled to make a no win no fee claim.

Being involved in an accident abroad can be very distressing and unnerving. Therefore, we’ve provided some important information throughout this guide such as the contact details for the British Embassy in France.

We’ll also try to answer some common questions that are raised following an accident in France including:

  • What is a European Accident Statement?
  • How far away from an accident should you place a warning triangle in France?
  • What is a Constat amiable?

When you’ve finished reading the whole of this guide, if you’re left with any questions at all, please get in touch with an advisor. They’ll provide free advice and you’ll be under no obligation to proceed on to a claim.

What Are The Largest Cities In France?

For your information, we’ve provided a list of the largest cities in France based on population numbers. The list is as follows:

  • Paris – population 2.4 million (approx.).
  • Marseille – population 855,000.
  • Lyon – population 500,000.
  • Toulouse – population 460,000.
  • Nice – population 340,000.
  • Nantes – population 290,000.
  • Strasbourg – population 275,000.
  • Montpellier – population 270,000.
  • Bordeaux – population 240,000.
  • Lille – population 230,000.

While we can help you claim for a car accident in Paris, a Lyon car crash or a road traffic accident in any of the cities listed, we could also help with accidents elsewhere too. We could help you claim for French road traffic accidents in any part of the country so long as the other driver involved was to blame for the collision.

What To Take In Your Vehicle If Driving In France

While some of the laws regarding driving in France are the same as in the UK, there are some differences too. For instance, by law you are required to carry a number of safety items in your vehicle at all times as. Also, there are some modifications to your vehicle which may be required. These include:

  • A reflective jacket must be within easy reach. You need one jacket per occupant.
  • Depending on your vehicle, you might need to use headlamp beam deflector stickers. Alternatively, there may be a setting to adjust your car manually.
  • Even though the French changed the law about on the spot fines for not carrying a breathalyser kit, it is still a legal requirement to do so.
  • Warning triangles must be kept in the vehicle in case of an accident or breakdown.
  • In some cities, it is a requirement to display a clean air sticker. These are known as Crit’Air vignette. The sticker identifies the level of emissions your car produces.
  • If your vehicle is not fitted with an EU number plate (showing the country code), you’ll also need to use a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle. The same is true if you’re towing a trailer or caravan.

Spare bulbs are not a mandatory item to carry when driving in France, but it is advisable to carry a set just in case.

Emergency Numbers And Help In France

If you require the emergency services following a car accident in France, there are a number to choose from. The list is as follows:

  • Dial 15 in a medical emergency.
  • It’s 17 to speak with the police.
  • Dial 18 for the fire brigade.
  • Or dial 112 to speak with an operator who’ll direct your call to the relevant emergency service.

112 is the number that can be used to contact services across the whole of Europe so it’s a good idea to program it into your mobile phone when travelling on the continent.

Accessing Medical Services In France

When you’re involved in a car accident in France, you may need to access medical services to ensure any injuries to you or your passengers are treated properly. Prior to travelling to France, you should apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).  This means that you’ll be able to receive free or reduced rate treatment at public medical facilities.

GHIC is not the same as travel insurance. You should consider taking this out as it can provide extra cover such as private healthcare and also the cost of repatriation to the UK.

We advise that you keep your GHIC card and travel insurance documents with you at all times. In the event you require any treatment, you should show the documents. Also, you should contact your insurer to check whether they’ll cover the cost of treatment at the medical centre you attend.

What To Do If You Have A Car Accident In France

If you are involved in a car accident in France, you are legally obliged to help injured people if you’re able to. Also, if there are injuries, you could be committing a crime if you leave the scene before the police arrive.

Following the accident, you should put on your reflective vest in the first instance. Then you should place your warning triangles at 50 metres and 150 metres away from your car to warn other drivers.

Once you’ve met your legal obligations, you might want to consider gathering evidence to support any compensation claim you go on to make in the future. You could:

  • Photograph the scene of the accident to show where the vehicles ended up.
  • Ask any witnesses for their contact details.
  • Obtain any dashcam footage if there is any.
  • Swap details with the other driver and record their licence registration number.
  • Ask for medical records from the doctor or hospital if you have to receive treatment for your injuries.

Taking these steps could help your solicitor proved that an accident took place, the injuries you sustained and who was to blame for the accident.

How To Report Your Accident Using The Constat Amiable D’Accident Automobile Form

In many European countries, including France, a form known as The Contstat D’Accident Amiable is used to record what happened in the accident. They are used to record who was involved, the date of the accident, the conditions, any injuries sustained and what led to the accident.

There is no legal requirement to fill this document in, but you might find that your insurance company requires you do so. It may be worth calling them to check at the time of your accident.

You should not feel pressurised into completing the accident report form. Also, it is highly advisable not to sign the document if the other driver completes it on your behalf, especially if you’re unable to read French very well.

Whiplash Caused By Road Traffic Accidents

Whiplash injuries are caused by a collision, at high or low speed, where the body is thrown forwards and then whipped back quickly. Whiplash symptoms include stiffness of the neck and head, headaches, tingling in the shoulders and upper arms and pain when moving your head. According to this NHS guide, you could manage the pain of whiplash with paracetamol or ibuprofen in a lot cases. For more severe symptoms such as severe pain even after taking painkillers, problems walking or weakness in the arms and legs, they suggest you request an urgent GP appointment.

Time Limits To Claim For A Road Traffic Accident In France

When making a claim under UK package holiday regulations, you’ll usually have a personal injury claims time limit of 3-years from the date of the accident to make your claim. Therefore, this might be the case if you were involved in a car accident in France while using a hire car that was provided as part of your holiday.

However, if claiming under French law, the Time Limitations Act from June 2008 provides a 10-year period from the date all injuries are stabilised.

To clarify which time limit would apply in your case, please call an advisor for free advice on your options.

Car Accident In France Personal Injury Claims Calculator

The amount of compensation you’ll receive for injuries caused by a car accident in France will vary depending on a number of factors. These include the severity of your injuries, the recovery time, the legislation used to claim, and other factors explained in the next section.

To give you an idea of the amount of compensation you could receive for certain injuries, we’ve included the personal injury claims calculator table below. The figures are based on if you were to make a claim based on UK legislation. This might be the case if you were making a package holiday claim. If the claim is made under French legislation, the amounts and claims process may differ.

Injury Type Severity Payment Range Comments
Neck Moderate £23,460 to £36,120 Injuries such as fractures or dislocations which cause immediate pain and could require spinal fusion.
Neck Minor £2,300 to £4,080 Soft tissue damage of the neck where recovery in full takes between 3 months to one year.
Back Severe £69,600 to £82,980 Injuries that include features such as root damage, loss of sensation, impaired mobility and unsightly scarring.
Back Minor Up to £2,300 Back strains, fractures, sprains and soft tissue injuires where happens within 3 months without requiring surgery.
Arms Amputation £90,250 to £102,890 An arm injury that requires the arm to be amputated through the forearm (below the elbow).
Arms Simple £6,190 to £18,020 This range is for simple fractures in the forearm.
Wrist In the region of £6,970 An uncomplicated Colles’ fracture of the wrist would be an example of injuries in this payment bracket.
Legs Less Serious £16,860 to £26,050 An example in this range would be a fracture where a reasonable recovery is made but a limp, metal implant or discomfort remain.
Knee Moderate Up to £12,900 Injuries in this range include twisting, bruises, a torn meniscus and dislocations. The amount paid will depend on the amount of pain and recovery time.
Moderate £13,920 to £24,580 Injuries that cause a minor instability, weakness or a mild disability such as a dislocation or torn meniscus.
Ankle Modest Up to £12,900 Minor or undisplaced fractures, ligament injuries and sprains are included in this range.

To try and ensure you receive the fullest amount of compensation possible, our solicitors always use an independent doctor to assess you. Then, using their report in conjunction with other medical evidence you’re able to provide, the solicitor will try to prove the exact nature of your injuries so that you’re claim isn’t settled for a low amount.

Special Damages For Victims Of Road Accidents In France

When you claim for a vehicle accident in France, your solicitor can claim for general damages and also special damages. We covered general damages in the previous section of this guide. They are awarded according to the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. Special damages are awarded to cover any financial losses you’ve experienced because of your accident. Here are some examples of special damages you could claim following a road accident in France:

  • Travel Expenses.
    If you’ve incurred any additional travel expenses as a result of your accident, you could include these in your claim. As an example, you could claim for fuel costs or parking costs associated with medical treatment.
  • Medical Costs.
    While it might be true that your medical treatment was provided for free by the NHS in the UK or by medical services covered by your GHIC card in France, you could still end up out of pocket. That could be the case when paying for prescriptions or over the counter medicines. Therefore, these costs could be included.
  • Care Costs.
    Should your injuries mean you require a carer to help you recover, then you could claim back any associated costs.
  • Lost Income.
    It might be possible to claim for any loss of earnings caused by your car crash in France. For instance, if you need time off work to recover or to attend a medical appointment, you could look to claim back any lost earnings. For more serious injuries, that affect you in the longer-term, you could also claim for future lost income too.

As special damages are paid for financial losses, you should keep hold of any receipts to prove how much you’ve spent. Also, before committing to an expense, it’s worth checking with your solicitor to see if it could be claimed back.

No Win No Fee Claims For A Car Accident In France

One of the reasons people don’t claim for a car accident in France is because they’re worried about the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. That’s why our solicitors offer a no win no fee service for all personal injury claims they handle. We believe it’s only right that you should be able to claim compensation without worrying about solicitor’s fees. By providing a no win no fee service we believe more people can claim because the amount of financial risk is greatly reduced.

When a solicitor confirms that they’ll handle your claim, and you’re happy to proceed, you’ll be asked to sign a conditional fee agreement (CFA). This is the document which explains that you don’t have to pay the solicitor’s fees unless they win the case and compensation is awarded.

The CFA also sets out the success fee you’ll pay if compensation is awarded. This fee is used to cover the solicitor’s fees. It’s a fixed percentage of your compensation that’s deducted before the rest is sent to you. The maximum a success fee is allowed to be is 25% of the award.

When you call to discuss your claim, we’ll advise you whether your case is strong enough to warrant a no win no fee service.

Why Select Our Team To Help You Claim For A Car Accident Abroad?

Hopefully, now that you’ve read this guide, you realise that we really do know how the claims process works and that we could help you claim compensation. Here are some reasons we believe you should consider letting us help you:

  • Our advisors are fully trained to provide free claims advice. They’ll also assess your claim for free too.
  • We have received numerous compliments from previous clients.
  • Our claims line is available 7-days a week, 24-hours a day.
  • We always try to arrange medical assessments locally which means you shouldn’t have to travel too far.
  • Our solicitors always aim to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation. They’ll act as swiftly as possible to try and resolve your claim.

If you need to know anything else about how Accident Claims UK could help you, please call and speak to an advisor today.

Start Your Car Accident In France Claim

If you’ve now decided that you’d like to start a claim for a road traffic accident in France, then there are a number of different ways to get in touch. These are:

When you get in touch, a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you might have. They’ll offer to assess your claim for free too. If they believe your case could be won, they’ll introduce you to a personal injury solicitor. If they agree to handle your claim, it will be on a no win no fee basis. There’s nothing to lose by calling because all advice provided is free and there’s no obligation to proceed.

Essential References

Thanks for reading our guide about claiming for a car accident in France. To aid you further, we’ve provided some more important information below.

British Embassy Paris.
35 rue de Faubourg St Honoré,
Paris Cedex 08,
75383 Paris,
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 31 00
Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1pm and 2.30pm to 5pm.

British Consulate Bordeaux.
Tel: +33 (0)5 57 22 21 10

British Consulate Marseille
Les Docks de Marseille-La Joliette,
10 Place de la Joliette,
Atrium 10.3,
1st Floor,
13002 Marseille,
Tel: +33 (0)4 91 15 72 10

French Holiday Accident Claims – This guide covers other types of accident claims that could be made for injuries sustained on holiday in France.

Hotel Accident Claims – A guide which provides information on when you could make a personal injury claim against a hotel.

Road Traffic Accident Claims – This guide covers an RTA in the UK rather than in France.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

A loved one suffered fatal injuries in a car accident in France, could I claim?

If your loved one was fatally injured in a French car accident that was not their fault, this could lead to compensation for family members left behind. If you are financially dependant on the person who passed away, your compensation award could include damages for not only your bereavement, but in some cases for loss of financial support. You could also get help towards funeral expenses and receive compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering. We understand only too well how traumatic it could be to claim for the loss of a loved one. Our friendly, expert team would handle your claim with the sensitivity and care that it deserves. If you are considering making a fatal accident claim, please call us for advice and support. We could provide you with a free assessment of your claim, and give you an idea of how much compensation you could receive. If we believe you could have a strong claim, we could provide you with a no win no fee solicitor to assist you.

My child suffered injuries in a car accident in France could I claim?

If you have a child who has suffered injuries in a car accident in France, you could make a claim for them. Children don’t have the legal capacity to make such claims on their own. Therefore, you could apply to be a litigation friend so that you could make their claim for them. Your child’s compensation in such claims would usually be held in a secure trust. Your child could access it when they become an adult. If you’d like to speak to us about making such claims, we would be happy to help you.

What injuries could I suffer in a car accident in France?

There are many types of injuries that you could suffer if you are involved in a car accident in France. Depending on the nature and severity the accident, injuries could include:

  • Spinal injuries-these could range in severity and could in some cases cause you to become paralysed. Compensation for a spinal injury could include medical costs, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.
  • Soft tissue injuries- depending on the soft tissue that was injured, your recovery could be long and painful. No matter what type of soft tissue injuries you have sustained, please contact our team to see if you could claim compensation.
  • Broken bones- fractured or broken bones could affect almost any part of the body. Whether you have suffered a broken leg, broken wrist, or any other type of broken bone, if the accident wasn’t your fault, you could make a claim.
  • Psychological injuries- if you have suffered a psychological injury due a car accident, this could affect your quality of life significantly. Many people suffer mental trauma after car accidents, and some could suffer with long term effects of their accident on their mental health, which could include PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

No matter what type of injury you suffered in a car accident, we would be delighted to help you make a claim for compensation.

Thank you for reading this  guide to making a claim for a car accident in France.