For most people,going on holiday to a foreign country is an enjoyable experience and the only concern they have upon arriving home is the amount of washing they have to do.
However, for an unlucky few who are involved in an accident abroad that wasn’t their fault, they may have to look into the prospect of making a compensation claim on their return to the UK. Even those with travel insurance policies may not be covered for all eventualities.
And while they are rare, they do happen. For example figures from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office show that last year over 740 British visitors had to enlist the help of the UK consulate in Spain due to hospitalisation.
Claiming for an accident which happened abroad
Rules brought into force through The Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tour Regulations 1992 enable UK citizens to make a compensation claim for accidents which took place abroad.
The act covers issues which could affect holidaymakers including inaccurate travel information, price changes and insurance. There is also a provision for claiming compensation if services in the package are not performed up to standard.
Under the act a package holiday is deemed to be any contract which incorporates two of the following; transport, accommodation or any other tourist services which are considered to “account for a significant proportion of the package”. This may include extras such as some excursions.
Holidaymakers who book a package holiday are therefore entitled to make anaccident compensation claim through the English courts for incidents such as personal injury; however some time limits may apply.
If provided as part of a package, cruise holidays could also be covered under the legislation.
Common holiday related accidents
There are a number of accidents which could occur and could leave the victim able to claim compensation.
- Slips, trips and falls
- Car accidents
- Sporting injuries e.g. skiing, water sports
- Food poisoning
- Some forms of illness.
Illnesses abroad are rare, although diseases which can be contracted on foreign trips include Malaria, Hepatitis and Yellow Fever. It is essential that people travelling to regions where these diseases are present obtain the proper medical treatment before their journey.
Vaccinations are required by law in some countries and details of these can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
High profile cases of illness and food poisoning on cruise ships have also been in the media in recent years and holidaymakers who experience this may have grounds to make a compensation claim
For a slip, trip or fall to be covered under the Package Travel Regulations it must have occurred within the grounds of a hotel, for example on a slippery floor. Falls which happen in the resort or local area will not be covered, although there may be an opportunity to make a separate claim through the relevant authority.
How do I make my holiday accident claim successful?
Firstly, for the case to be successful you must prove that the accident was not your fault. You will not be able to claim for any accident which occurred because of your own irresponsible behaviour.
Much like when you make a no win, no fee claim through a personal injury lawyer following an accident in the UK, the key to this is providing accurate information.
As soon as the accident occurs it should be reported to the hotel staff and tour operator, who should make a note of it in an accident log including the names and details of any witnesses.
If possible photographs of the area where the accident occurred should also be taken.
You should also keep hold of any travel documentation, relating to both the holiday and the injury, including medical bills, receipts and relevant paperwork.
The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. If you require advice on whether you can claim compensation for an accident or injury abroad, please contact our specialist travel claim team on 0800 1077321 or by completing the on-line claim form.