A Grimsby engineering firm looks set to face a £150,000 bill because its employers' liability was with Independent Insurance.
An employee of Lex Engineering was injured in an industrial accident in France in 1997.
It is not compulsory under the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act to insure the risk of injury to UK employees working overseas.
This means the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will not cover the claim.
Lex's lawyer Graham Morris of Wilkin Chapman said the case would be heard on 22 February.
He said Lex had been advised to expect to pay out at least £130,000 plus costs of about £20,000.
Morris said he was keen to learn if any other firms were facing the same problem and if they had found a solution.
"We can't be the only ones to have this happen, with the amount of cross-border work that goes on," he said.