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A Car Accident in France Reconfirms what we all Need During Stressful Times

I’ve recently returned from a camping holiday in France with my family.  The weather was good, the people were friendly and the facilities on the camp site were superb.  We had a lovely time.

Apart, that is, from the car accident.

About half-way through our stay we were driving through the town of Saumur, having enjoyed a river cruise on the Loire, when I stopped at a mini-roundabout to give way to traffic already on it.  Unfortunately, the young driver of the car behind me did not stop, and ploughed straight into the back of my car.  Being a lawyer, I had, of course, prepared thoroughly for our holiday, and read up about the basic road traffic laws in France.  However, being a human being as well, in the shock of the accident, with my youngest son upset in the back of the car, I forgot everything I’d read.  Did we need to call the police? Could we move the cars, which were holding up the traffic?  Would the other driver speak English?  Would my very rusty O level French be good enough if she didn’t?  I needn’t have worried.  As I got out of the car, four French police officers, who had been talking to a motorcyclist nearby, strode over purposefully.  Their leader, who turned out to be the chief officer of the local Police Municipale, took charge of the situation.  While his colleagues quickly inspected both cars for damage, he interviewed an independent witness and established that the other driver had been at fault, before getting us to pull off the road.

Fortunately, it was a low speed impact, our sturdy VW Passat was not even scratched, and apart from being a bit shaken up, we were all fine.  Having established there was no damage, the officer invited us to contact him if we were later concerned about anything, wished us a pleasant holiday in France, all in impeccable English, and stopped the traffic so we could get on our way again quickly.

The incident really impressed upon me how valuable it is, when faced with an unfamiliar and potentially stressful situation, to have the help of someone who really knows what they are doing, and who speaks your language, to guide you through it.

At Lanyon Bowdler, our legal experts avoid jargon and try to explain things in plain English to our clients and help them in unfamiliar situations, whether that’s buying a house, dealing with a divorce, or a court case.  In my own fields of expertise, contract and business disputes, my aim is always to assess the situation and help my client resolve it in a practical way, as quickly, as cheaply and as beneficially as possible.  My aim this year will be to ensure my clients feel that the service I give is as good as the Police Municipale de Saumur!