Illness or injury compensation claims in Germany
This easy-to-follow guide sets out everything you should know about making an injury or illness compensation claim in Germany.
Our panel of solicitors are no longer able to assist with compensation claims for accidents abroad.
Please note that our network of solicitors do not currently have the capacity to take on holiday-related injury and sickness claims outside the UK. It is recommended that you contact a personal injury specialist solicitor to discuss your options as soon as possible, as some jurisdictions have limitation dates of less than the three year limit that is standard in the UK.
Road traffic accidents in Germany
The traffic accident rate in Germany is twice that of the UK. Road safety campaigners have linked the high accident rate to Germany's lack of speed limits - drivers can go as fast as they like on approximately 60 percent of the motorway network.
British tourists are particularly vulnerable since they are not used to driving at such high speeds. Whenever an accident occurs on German roads involving a British citizen, European law allows the claim to be brought through the courts of England and Wales.
Skiing accidents in Germany
Skiers in Germany have their pick of Alpine resorts, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, home of the 1936 Winter Olympics, to the towns of Oberstdorf and Oberstaufen on the Austrian border.
Skiing is an inherently risky sport. Even with the proper safety precautions, accidents can occur. However, where the accident is caused by faulty equipment, poor ski instruction or the negligent actions of other skiers, it may be possible to make a compensation claim.
Quittance have helped hundreds of holidaymakers claim the compensation they deserve. We have represented people injured in accidents in Germany caused by:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Swimming pool accidents
- Cycling accidents
- Air accidents
- Boating accidents
- Adventure sports accidents
- Holiday food poisoning
- Substandard holiday accommodation
For more information, please read our holiday accident and illness claims guide.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
The first consideration is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. For serious injuries in Germany, this can be a requirement for making a personal injury compensation claim.
To contact the German emergency services, dial 112. This is free from any mobile or public phone. You can also contact the police on 110.
English is widely spoken in Germany and tourists generally find it easy to communicate with representatives of the emergency services. Helpful phrases include:
- Accident and emergency department - Notaufnahme
- Ambulance - Rettungswagen
- Police - Polizei
- Emergency - Notfall
- Doctor - Ärzt
- Dentist - Zahnärzt
- Pharmacy - Apotheke
- Hospital - Krankenhäus
British tourists can access state-funded healthcare at a reduced cost or even free as long as they are carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You will have to pay a fixed charge before your receive any medical treatment (around €10 a day for a hospital stay) but EHIC allows you to apply for a partial or total refund.
Private medical treatment is not covered by the scheme. Look for a GP surgery that displays a sign saying "Kassenarzt." This indicates that the doctor operates within the state-funded system.
Even if you are not sure about making a compensation claim, it is important to obtain as much evidence of the accident as you can. It is up to you to show that the accident occurred as a result of someone else's negligence, and you will need certain documents to support your claim.
If possible, take photos at the accident location and ask for the contact details of any witnesses who can corroborate your story. Where the accident occurs on the road, take a copy of the police report and note down the details of the vehicle involved in the collision. You should also make a note of the police officers and medics who assists you, as your lawyer may need to contact them to verify the circumstances of the incident.
It is also important to keep any paperwork and receipts for your expenses such as medical bills, travel receipts and the cost of extra nights in a hotel. Your injury lawyer and insurer will need to see these documents in order to recover your out-of-pocket expenses.
A number of the major British holiday companies operate package tours to Germany including Thomson, Thomas Cook, Cosmos and Virgin. Holidaymakers who booked their trip through a UK-based tour operator are protected by specific legislation that allows them to bring a claim against the tour operator through the courts of England and Wales.
The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 applies to any accident that was the fault of the travel agent, either directly or indirectly. For example, if you slipped on a badly maintained walkway in a hotel booked as part of a package, then you would be entitled to make a claim against the travel agent as they booked the accommodation for you.
Even if you booked the flights, hotel and car hire yourself, it may still be possible to bring a claim using a solicitor based in the United Kingdom. Claims can be brought against negligent German car drivers and foreign insurers for example, in the UK courts. It is recommended that you ask an experienced travel solicitor to review the circumstances of your accident and advise whether you are entitled to make a Germany holiday accident compensation claim.
There are strict time limits in place for making an injury claim where the injury occurred outside the UK. Holidaymakers are advised to contact a solicitor as soon as they return home as non-package travel claims can be complicated, and your solicitor will need enough time to pursue a claim.
|Circumstances of injury or illness||Limitation date*|
|On a flight, bus or ferry to or from Germany, in accommodation, or during a pre-booked excursion where the holiday was booked as a package through a UK-based tour operator||3 years|
|During a trip that was booked independently (not booked as part of a package tour)||Up to 30 years (time limits can vary - see Time Limit Calculator for more information)|
During a privately booked (non package) flight to or from any international airport including Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Cologne-Bonn, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart
*Contact a specialist solicitor for more information or calculate how long you have to make a claim here.
British Embassy Berlin
Telephone +49 (0) 30 204 570
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm
Meet the QLS team
Quittance Legal Services' nationwide network of solicitors take on all types of personal injury claims and have a wealth of experience in short-term, serious and life-changing injury claims. Selected on the basis of their success rate in winning claims, Quittance's panel solicitors have years of experience.
About the author
Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert