It’s Summertime! Holiday Accident Claims | Personal Injury
The temperature is hitting the late 20° most days, schools have finished for the year and at work pub-o’clock seems to have moved forward an hour (or two). This can only mean one thing. Summer is here at last! All that holiday planning you did over the long, cold winter can now be put into action.
Suitcases packed? Check.
Tickets and passport? Check.
Travel insurance? Ummm.
Copies made of important documents? Ummm.
A family plan in case an emergency occurs? Ummm.
Sorry dear reader, I do not mean to be a downer, but the fact is, thousands of people are injured on holiday every year, turning what is meant to be a special time to spend with family and friends into a nightmare for the ill-prepared.
And to top off the ruination of what should be one of the happiest of times (and let’s face it, one of the most expensive; many people save up all year for their summer excursion), most people are completely unaware that you are entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation, whether you received your injury in the UK or abroad.
What Type of Holiday Accidents Can I Claim For?
Holiday accidents and injuries abroad can take many forms, including:
- Slips and trips – for example slipping on a wet shop floor or in your hotel room
- Food poisoning
- Car, ship, plane or coach accidents which cause physical injury or mental trauma – worldwide 20+ million people are injured in car accidents every year
- Falls – caused by a defective hotel balcony rail for example
- Swimming pool mishaps – a UK citizen is 5.5 times more likely to drown on holiday than at home
- Activity related injuries – for example falling off a funfair ride or participating in extreme sports such as jet-boating
- Mental trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder if you have witnessed or been involved in an accident where people have been injured or have died
For individuals who have the misfortune to sustain an injury whilst enjoying their summer holiday, having dealt with the immediate problem, the next thought is, “Can I receive compensation?” After all, if you have spent thousands of pounds on your one holiday of the year, chances are you will want to receive reparations if you end up spending most of your time in a foreign A&E department for something that was not your fault.
Difficulties in Making International Compensation Claims
Many people are put off making claims against companies or individual’s based abroad due to the complexity often involved in bringing about a case. Different countries have different legal systems that may require particular standards of evidence not required under UK law. Often the cost of claiming against a business based abroad further deters people from making a claim.
However, there are regulations and treaties in place to assist people who have suffered injuries whilst on holiday that ensures companies can be held accountable if individuals suffer harm from their negligence.
The Montreal Convention
If you are injured on board an international flight that you have booked yourself, you may be entitled to claim under the Montreal Convention. This convention, which many major carriers are party to, provides uniform rights and compensation procedures to injured passengers. Under the convention, the airline is strictly liable for damage claims up to £100,000. To put this in context, if you receive burns as a result of a hot drink being spilt on you during turbulence, then you as a passenger do not necessarily have to prove an airline employee was at fault in anyway; the fact that the accident happened on their aircraft is enough to ensure that the airline you are flying with is liable to pay you compensation.
For compensation amounts over the £100,000 threshold it will be necessary for the claimant to prove that the airline was negligent in some way.
Under the Montreal Convention, international airline passengers or their families must apply for compensation within two years of the accident occurring.
Your Rights Under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations (PTR) 1992
If your accident abroad occurred whilst you were enjoying a package holiday, you may have some recourse under the PTR. Most claims in the UK are brought under these regulations and they allow people who suffer injuries abroad to make a claim against the person who sold the package holiday to them.
To claim under the PTR, certain conditions must be met. Firstly, the package holiday must have been booked in the UK. Secondly, the holiday in question must constitute a ‘package’ holiday as defined under R.2 of the PTR. This regulation states a package holiday is defined as:
“The pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following components when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than twenty-four hours or includes overnight accommodation:—
(c) other tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package”.
The regulations allow the consumer to claim for damages from the organiser or the retailer of the package holiday. It does not matter if the actual damage was caused by a third party, for example if you slipped on the floor of a hotel not owned by the organiser or retailer. Under R.15, the organiser or retailer is responsible for the proper performance of the obligations under the contract formed between the organiser or retailer and the consumer.
A consumer may still bring an action against the actual supplier of the product or service which caused them injury, however, this would mean having to navigate the often complex laws of overseas jurisdictions. These regulations offer a consumer a course of action through the English courts which may be less intimidating to most people.
If you have had the misfortune of having suffered a personal injury whilst abroad you can find out more about claiming compensation here .
Have you been a victim of an accident abroad? Please feel free to comment below, we are always interested in hearing about our reader’s experiences.