Travel insurance warning for football fans heading out to Germany

Accidents abroad

15.06.2006

A German legal expert is urging all fans travelling out to the World Cup to make sure they don't face any nasty penalties, by making sure their travel insurance is in order.

Berit Reglar, a German qualified solicitor with the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell, has warned that England supporters who fall ill or are involved in an accident whilst in Germany, could find themselves with a hefty bill, if they don't ensure their travel insurance includes legal expenses cover.

She said: Many fans travelling out to the World Cup may get caught up in the euphoria and decide on the spur of the moment to get a cheap flight out to Germany to see the next match live or just soak up the atmosphere out there.

Unfortunately, travel insurance is something that is too often forgotten about until it's too late.

Berit works in the International Travel Litigation Department at Irwin Mitchell, based in Birmingham city centre, which every year handles thousands of legal cases involving British tourists who have been injured or fallen ill whilst abroad.

She says: Unfortunately we have quite a few cases where people have gone abroad without insurance and are now facing significant legal bills in pursuing their legal rights.

One of my clients, who was working out in Germany, was involved in a horrific car accident which was not his fault. He suffered the most appalling injuries including a fractured spine and brain damage and will probably never be able to work again. Although his case is still ongoing and we expect to recover substantial damages for him, he did not have any legal expense insurance cover.

The German legal system allows claimants, including foreigners, to recover their legal costs from the defendants if their case is successful, but a rather complex tariff system means there is often a shortfall in the legal fees which can be recovered. This is different to the English system which usually allows a successful claimant with serious personal injuries to recover their costs as well as damages from the party responsible for their injury.

Berit, who is herself planning to fly out to Germany on Thursday to visit her family, says: My advice to anyone planning a trip abroad, even if its only a couple of days away, is to make sure they take out travel insurance with legal expenses cover. If something does go wrong its one less headache to worry about.

Can we help you? If please visit our Illnesses and Accidents Abroad section.