Personal Injury

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The law should always aim to provide clarity in relation to the rights of both victims and compensators in personal injury claims. Uncertainty continues to play a large role whilst we stumble towards invoking article 51.

Accidents Abroad: EU influenced Regulations exist to allow accident victims to sue Tour Operators when they suffer an accident abroad - effectively bringing the claim back to be determined in the UK.

If we have an accident in another EU state caused by an uninsured driver, we can currently bring a claim and request compensation from the UK based Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). The MIB then seek reimbursement from their equivalent in the EU country where the accident occurred. This is established in law by the European "Sixth Directive" 2009. It is hoped that there will be appetite amongst EU members to continue to maintain a system of co-operation with the UK, to ensure some recompense remains for victims of road accidents who are injured by uninsured drivers.

Until recently, the Courts in the UK ruled that UK victims of road accidents in other EU countries could claim compensation to be assessed as if they had the accident in the UK. This state of affairs was radically reviewed earlier this year by the Supreme Court in a case known as Moreno v MIB.  Lord Mance commented in the Moreno case "With British exit from the Union, this will, no doubt, be one of the many current arrangements requiring thought."

As well as this, the European Health Insurance Card scheme gives the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area. This can be very helpful for UK accident victims in the EU, regardless of any travel insurance cover they may have.

Health and Safety at Work: The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act followed on from the European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work adopted in 1989. That Directive was a substantial milestone in improving safety and health at work. It guarantees minimum safety and health requirements throughout Europe and launched the framework for our more recent health and safety legislation; for example, the "six pack" of work-related Regulations that came into force in 1992 flowed from that Directive.

Some will see many EU-based regulations as providing unnecessary "gold plated" protection for workers and consumers which stifle competition and growth. Some, on the other hand, will regard EU-led employment protection as a vital cornerstone of our current labour laws. The decline of many unions since the 1970s and the current political climate suggests workers' rights may be diluted.

Faulty goods: Directives and Regulations also provide consumer protection when buying goods and services. For example, product safety is covered by the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (and its associated regulations), which was passed following an EU Directive in 1985 and provides strict liability against producers for defective products.


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