Compensation for an Accident on Holiday Abroad
Being able to claim compensation for an accident on holiday abroad is not an automatic right, and irrespective of whether your injury was sustained at a hotel you were staying in, in a road traffic accident, on a cruise ship or in the air while travelling to or from your holiday destination, it is advisable to speak with a personal injury solicitor as soon as you return home.
Furthermore, no matter how good the medical services were in the country in which your accident occurred, you should still visit the accident and emergency department of your local hospital or make an urgent appointment to see your GP when you return. Although an overseas physician may have provided primary care for your injury, any ongoing consequences of your accident should also be investigated.
Not only is it important that you receive a thorough examination and treatment for the good of your health, but the injuries you sustained in your accident will be recorded in your medical notes in this country and used to support a claim for an accident on an overseas holiday by your solicitor.
Should you fail to visit your local hospital or doctor, and your injuries deteriorate as a result, how much compensation for an accident on an overseas holiday you eventually receive may be reduced to reflect your own lack of care. Therefore, even if you were suffering from a condition such as food poisoning – which you believe has now left your system – it is still in your best interests to seek a professional medical examination.
Establishing Negligence in a Claim for an Accident while on Holiday Abroad
Depending on the nature of your accident and injury, there are a number of procedures you can complete which will establish negligence and support your claim for an accident while on holiday abroad. If you have already returned home, being unable to complete these procedures will not make you ineligible for compensation for an accident on holiday abroad. However, it may prolong the settlement of your claim.
Claim for an Accident in an Overseas Hotel
- With a claim for an accident in an overseas hotel, hopefully you would have taken photographs of the hazard which caused your injury and reported it to your holiday representative if one was available. In the event of you sustaining food poisoning in an overseas hotel, there may also have been other people who suffered as you did. If you have their contact details, this would support a claim for an accident in an overseas hotel.
- It helps to provide the name and address of the hotel to your solicitor; for although a claim for an accident in an overseas hotel can be made against the tour operator through whom you booked your holiday, if – for example – you were injured in an accident while on an excursion arranged by the hotel, it may be against the hotel´s insurance policy to accept liability when replying to a overseas holiday accident compensation claim.
Compensation for a Road Traffic Accident Abroad
- If you were injured in a road traffic accident while on holiday in Europe, it should be possible to pursue a compensation for your injuries in exactly the same way as you would in the United Kingdom – provided that you exchanged insurance and contact details with the negligent driver, took photographs of the scene of the accident and collected the names of witnesses you may have seen your accident occur.
- If you wish to claim compensation for a road traffic injury which was sustained outside of Europe, the same procedures should have been followed wherever possible; but your entitlement to compensation for an accident on holiday abroad may be subject to the laws of the country in which you were injured. Furthermore you may be unable claim for an accident on a foreign holiday from within the United Kingdom.
Accidents on Cruise Ships and Accidents on Flights
- Claims for accidents on cruise ships and accidents on flights differ from other overseas holiday accident compensation claims inasmuch as there are several legislative acts which could affect your entitlement to compensation for an accident on an overseas holiday. If your cruise or flight was booked through a tour operator based in the UK, the Package Travel Regulations 1992 could apply; however the Montreal Convention may be relevant if the airport of departure and airport of destination are different – as with most flights – or, with cruise ships, the port of departure and destination are the same, but there is a port of call in a different country – in which case the Athens Convention may apply.
- If a claim for compensation for an accident on an overseas holiday is being made under the Athens or Montreal Conventions, negligence does not have to be proven – just that an injury has been sustained. However, under the conventions, you will only have two years from the date of knowledge that an injury has been sustained in which to make an injury claim for an accident on a cruise ship or a claim compensation for an accident on a flight.
Whenever claiming compensation for an accident while on holiday abroad, you should always retain any documentation given to you by a doctor and keep any receipts associated with obtaining medical assistance, the purchase of medicines or medical devices and – if you have had to cut your holiday short or spent longer in the country due to your injury – the cost of returning to the United Kingdom.
How Much Compensation for an Accident on an Overseas Holiday?
How much compensation for an accident on an overseas holiday you are eligible to claim is going to depend on a series of factors – not least the country in which your accident occurred. Whereas in the United Kingdom, you would be entitled to claim for the pain suffered at the time of your accident, the effect that your injury had on your quality of life and any emotional trauma you experienced; if your claim for an accident on an overseas holiday is made in a different country, not all of these factors will necessarily apply.
Furthermore, many other countries have lower levels of injury compensation than apply in the United Kingdom. A claim for accident on a foreign holiday made under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 may result in a higher settlement of overseas holiday accident compensation than one made under the Montreal or Athens Conventions – even though the injuries sustained are identical – and especially if your claim for an accident on a foreign holiday is handled overseas.
Other Issues with Overseas Holiday Accident Compensation
In addition to the above complications, other issues with overseas holiday accident compensation may exist should a hotel or negligent driver dispute their liability for your injuries – even if you have collected compelling evidence. Delays while waiting for medical and accident reports could delay the submission of your claim close to the two/three year limit, and any failure to see a doctor at the first possible opportunity – either at home or abroad – could also jeopardise your claim for an accident on an overseas holiday.
Some problems may not even originate from abroad. If you are making a claim for an accident on an overseas holiday against a tour operator or foreign driver, you may be approached directly by their insurers with an offer of compensation in return for an early settlement. If you have not had your claim for an accident while on holiday abroad assessed by a solicitor, neither you nor the insurance company will be aware whether the offer of compensation is appropriate to your injuries, and you could be at risk of accepting an inadequate settlement which leaves you unable to pay your medical expenses or support your family.
Compensation for an Accident on Holiday Abroad – Summary
There are a significant number of potential issues associated with making a claim for accident while on holiday abroad, and even seasoned travellers or those who venture overseas on business will encounter difficulty when an injury is sustained in an accident for which they are not at fault. Your entitlement to make a claim could be subject to many different conditions and how much compensation for an accident on an overseas holiday you receive is likely to be reliant on the country in which your claim is made.
Being injured in an accident while on holiday abroad can be very distressing for you and for members of your family. In addition to the pain and suffering you experience due to the injury, the procedures for obtaining help and reporting how the accident happened may be unfamiliar to you and possibly in a language you do not understand. For these reasons it is recommended that you discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident on holiday abroad with a personal injury solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.