If you have sustained a life-changing international injury, pursuing a compensation claim can be a confusing process. We are often asked the following questions:

Should I instruct a lawyer in the country (or jurisdiction) where the accident occurred or in my home country?

This is an important consideration and there are often advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing which lawyer to instruct and where to bring your claim.

Many factors need to be evaluated including where the parties and witnesses reside and whether there may be difficulties enforcing a court judgment against a defendant in another country.

In some circumstances, it may be advisable to instruct lawyers in both the country you live in and where the accident occurred. We have strategic links with lawyers in many foreign countries and can advise you on the best options for your case.


When choosing a lawyer for my international injury claim, what questions should I ask?

International personal injury claims involving life-changing issues are complex. You should instruct lawyers who are specialists in international claims and who also have a detailed understanding of the specific injuries involved and how they impact every aspect of your life.

You should ask the following questions:

  • Who will take the lead role in my case, an experienced partner or a more junior member of their team?
  • How many cases are they currently running? Will they be able to dedicate the time my case deserves?
  • Are they an accredited specialist lawyer in this area? You can check whether a lawyer is recognised by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) or Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500, the two leading online and independent legal directories.
  • How long have they been specialising in international claims?
  • How many clients with similar injuries have they handled and successfully concluded before?
  • Do they have a relevant accreditation for my type of injury?
  • Have they ever taken a case involving life-changing injuries to trial?
  • What level of professional indemnity insurance is available to their clients if one of their solicitor makes a mistake?


How long will it take to conclude my claim?

International cases usually take several years to conclude because they often involve complex legal issues, such as where the claim should be brought and whether there is a choice of laws that may apply to the claim. If they also involve life-changing injuries then that may require a lengthy rehabilitation process before it is clear how complete the injured person’s recovery will be and what their future care, accommodation and therapeutic needs will be.

It is essential claims are not settled before these issues have been resolved, as this can lead to the injured person receiving less compensation than their claim is worth.

However, it is often possible to obtain interim compensation payments while the case progresses, which can be used to pay for the injured person’s ongoing losses and needs.


How much compensation will I receive?

The value of your claim will depend on many factors, including the seriousness of your initial injuries, the extent of your recovery and the support you will require for the rest of your life. For example:

  • Compensation for your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life because of your injuries (non-financial losses)
  • Loss of likely earnings or pension contributions if your ability to work has been affected in the short or long term
  • Medical and therapeutic expenses you have paid or will have to pay both abroad and in the UK, as well as travel expenses to any appointments
  • Your care and needs both now and in the future
  • Adaptations to your home or the cost of having to purchase a new one if your pre-accident home is no longer suitable for your needs
  • Mobility, therapeutic and assistive technology aids


How will the claim be funded?

Most of our clients instruct us on one or another form of ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This means they will only have to pay fees if their claim is successful. Even then, depending on the jurisdiction of their claim, it may be possible to recover a proportion of their costs from their opponent in addition to the damages.

At the start of each case, we discuss all possible funding options, taking into account where the claim is being brought. We will advise which funding option we think is most suitable in the circumstances of the case.

We will also consider whether legal expenses insurance is available to help fund the case. This is often included in household, travel or car insurance policies, and it is always worth checking to see if this is available.


Is it cost effective to have lawyers in multiple countries working on my claim?

The answer to this question depends on numerous factors, including the severity of injuries and scale of the likely compensation. In some claims for moderate injuries it may make sense to directly instruct a lawyer in the most likely jurisdiction. However, in the claims for life-changing injuries that Stewarts specialise in, it is often cost effective to have us work alongside a lawyer in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred or whose laws govern the claim. When the governing laws allow this will often be on a contingency fee basis under which the lawyers in all jurisdictions share the same percentage based fee as would have been charged even if you only instructed one of them.


Will Stewarts take on my international injury claim?

Stewarts exclusively specialises in acting for people who have life-changing injuries, including:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputations and severe burns
  • Complex orthopaedic injuries
  • Fatal injuries

If you have suffered serious injuries that do not have life changing consequences we can recommend an alternative law firm to you, whether in England and Wales or internationally.

Our team of specialist lawyers is unique in that it focuses on the international law aspects of the case and has an in-depth understanding of these injuries and how they impact every aspect of life.

We have represented clients who have sustained their injuries in numerous different ways including as a result of:

  • Accidents at work
  • Accidents at sea
  • Film, TV and stunt accidents
  • Holiday excursions (e.g. quad bikes and snowmobiles)
  • Medical negligence
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Skiing accidents
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Sports accidents

In our initial assessment of you claim we will try and form a preliminary view on the chance of us being able to secure significant compensation for you, including whether the potential defendant is insured or has sufficient assets to be able to compensate you.

Unlike some other firms who undertake injury claims, Stewarts only acts for people who have been injured. We do not act for Defendants who have caused someone’s injury.


Is it easy to change lawyers mid-claim?

In most cases, it is straightforward to change lawyers mid-claim.

We are frequently approached to take over existing claims due to our expertise. Transferring a case to us is usually quick, simple and achieved within a couple of weeks.

Likewise, we are often asked to work alongside a lawyer in another country who has already been instructed but who has less experience than Stewarts in understanding the impact of the client’s life-changing injuries and related losses.


Can I take a second opinion without cost or commitment?

We understand how devastating it is to sustain a life-changing injury or lose a loved one.

In serious accident claims, you usually only get one opportunity to achieve justice and financial security. It is crucial you can place your trust in the most experienced legal team available to you.

If you have an existing claim but have concerns or queries about how things are progressing, our team of specialist international injury lawyers would be happy to discuss your claim free of charge and without commitment.

If you require assistance, please contact us or request a call from one of our lawyers.

Meet the International Injury Team

Our team is ranked No.1 in both Chambers and The Legal 500.

We are unique in that all of our partners are individually ranked by both of these well respected directories and have specialist accreditations from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Christopher Deacon, Senior Associate, International Injury, Stewarts

Life Beyond Injury

We have created a series of films that tell the stories of our clients who suffered traumatic injuries. Each individual has had to face their own challenges in order to lead a fulfilling life.

By sharing these stories, we hope that recently injured people can see that with the right support they too can overcome adversity and continue to lead full and active lives.

Life beyond injury