How do I claim compensation for a Road Traffic Accident in France?
My Father was killed in a road traffic accident in Paris, France earlier this year. He was hit by a car as he was crossing the road. The police report (I believe) says that he was crossing on a red pedestrian light so there was no fault on the part of the driver. I have been contacted by the driver’s insurers who wish to make an offer of compensation.
Can you tell me how to deal with this claim – whether I should accept the compensation or get French legal advice?
A: I am very sorry to hear of your tragic loss
As you can imagine road traffic accident law in France is very different than that in the UK, as is the process for claiming compensation.
I am not certain, but searching the archives of my memory I believe road accidents in France are covered by what is known as strict liability. Strict liability means that compensation is paid for an accident or a death no matter who was at fault. In other words, once it is established your father was killed by a driver of a vehicle you are entitled to compensation from that driver and his insurer whether the accident was as a result of a driving error or not.
In the UK the legal system is very different – compensation is only paid if a driver was at fault.
I recommend you take the following steps to make your road traffic accident claim for compensation:
1. Speak to a UK road accident in Europe lawyer
Certain lawyers in the UK specialize in these types of claim. Click road traffic accident Europe to read the page I have written explaining what happens if a UK citizen has a road traffic accident in Europe.
2 Contact an English speaking road traffic accident lawyer in France to discuss your accidents abroad compensation claim
Unless you are fluent in French – I think it important that the accident lawyer in France you choose can speak English.
Use the link below to be taken to the British Embassy site in France, which provides details of lawyers in France who can speak English. On the embassy site you can search for a lawyer by city – Paris being the first city listed – so click the link “English speaking lawyers in Paris.”
The embassy site also gives a code for the areas of practice of each lawyer – G being the letter representing personal accident claims, which will be the area of law you will need for claiming compensation.
Click Road traffic accident claim for compensation for links to find English speaking lawyers in France to help you with your claim.
3. Speak with French lawyer first to decide how your compensation claim is valued
I am uncertain of the system in France, but in the UK a firm will normally be prepared to chat about your claim free of charge for 20 minutes or so – I suggest you use any free time you can as it may be the case that bereavement compensation (compensation for loss of a loved one) may be for a fixed amount and if you have been offered the correct sum you may find the costs of using a lawyer is not necessary.
4. Enquire as to whether your French lawyers legal costs can be claimed in addition to your road traffic accident compensation
In England you can claim in addition to your compensation your legal costs in making a road traffic accident claim – this might be true also of France. I recommend you enquire about claiming legal costs in France – if legal costs are covered without any deductions from your compensation you can rest assured that using a French lawyer is the best thing for you to do.
5. Free online legal help with your fatal RTA in France
Click road traffic accident France compensation to choose from the free online services I offer including having a UK specialist RTA in Europe lawyer contact you to discuss your claim.