Exec aims to better inform road accident victims
By Isabelle Smets | Thursday 19 July 2012
The European Commission has launched a public consultation, which will run until 19 November, on how to better inform victims of road accidents abroad about claims formalities
(1). “Around 130 million Europeans have planned a holiday in another European Union country this year. Around three quarters of them will use a car or motorbike at least once to reach their destination. Inevitably, some holiday makers will get caught up in road traffic accidents,” explains the Commission. “Today, different national rules lead to a confusing situation for victims who may miss the sometimes short deadlines and end up receiving no compensation.” The goal of the consultation is to get a better idea of the scale of the problem and to assess potential solutions. These include: improving information to victims – by insurance companies – and harmonising prescription periods (time limits for bringing legal actions for damages after an accident).
The Commission estimates that at least 2% of road accidents in the EU concern drivers from another EU state. Each member state has its own rules on compensation, which in each case set different time limits for making a claim for compensation. These can range from one to ten years. If prescription periods are particularly short – one year in Spain, for example - or if victims are not informed about possibilities to suspend these periods, they run the risk of receiving no compensation for harm suffered.(1) See ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/civil/opinion/121031_en.htm