Those who receive an injury in the course of their work as a result of somebody else’s negligence are entitled to make a compensation claim. However, this situation can become complex and unclear when the accident happens while working overseas. While your rights may or may not be changed by the fact the accident happened overseas, you will likely still have a right to claim.
Employers Based in England, Scotland, or Wales
If you were working overseas for an employer which is, nonetheless, based within the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), then the fact the accident happened abroad makes relatively little difference. Your employer still owes a duty of care to you under UK law, and if your injury was caused by a failure in that duty of care then you can bring a workplace injury compensation claim against them. This can most likely be done through the UK courts with help from a UK-based lawyer, just as if the accident had taken place within the UK instead of overseas.
The situation is somewhat more complicated if you were employed by a multinational company overseas, but that company also has a registered office within the UK. If this is the case, then it may still be possible to begin proceedings through the UK courts against their UK office. This is something you may wish to speak to your solicitor about.
In some cases, if you are working internationally for a company with a presence in both the place you are working and the UK, your contract may define whether UK or local liability will apply.
Employers Based Elsewhere
If you were injured while working for an employer based outside of the UK or in Northern Ireland, then things get more complex. Your employer will almost certainly still have a duty of care over you and be liable for any injury that occurs as a result of their negligence, but this will be according to the laws of the jurisdiction in which you were working.
It is important to be aware of what those laws are, and what your rights as an employee were under that jurisdiction. It is also important to be aware of any potential complications in establishing what laws you were subject to. For example, in the USA both state-level and national law may play a role in dictating your rights, and in some countries international workers may have different rights from local workers.
One particularly vital aspect of the law to be aware of is the window of time in which you have to make a claim. In some jurisdictions, this can be much more limited than it is under the UK’s claims time limits, sometimes as short as one year, making it vital to get things moving at the first opportunity. While international claims can be more complicated than claims against employers within the UK, your first step should still be to seek the help of a professional legal advisor.