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Holidays are intended to be a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend time with friends and family. With so many of us working and travelling abroad, holiday accidents are bound to happen.
If you are unfortunate enough to be injured whilst on holiday, the law concerning compensation claims varies from country to country. It is also dependent on whether you have purchased a package holiday or not.
Package holiday claims
If you have sustained an injury whilst on a holiday that has been booked through a UK tour operator, you may be able to make a claim for personal injury under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. You have three years from the date of the accident to make this type of claim.
Within these regulations a package holiday is defined as any type of deal that consists of:
Accidents occurring on resorts or within the hotels vary greatly and can be anything from slips and trips to injuries caused by faulty sunbeds, broken pool tiles, or negligence of hotel workers. It may, however, be more difficult to prove there has been negligence as a Court would need to consider the local standards in the county.
Cruising is known to be a relaxing way to spend a holiday and see the world. Unfortunately, accidents can happen aboard ships and serious injuries can result.
The law that governs accidents on boats is the Athens Convention, which establishes a regime of liability for injuries suffered whilst at sea. This can differ from the usual rules for establishing liability in England and Wales, so it is essential that your solicitor specialises in these types of accidents.
One of the main differences between these accidents and those occurring in England and Wales is the time for bringing a claim, which in this case is two years, as opposed to three years for other personal injury claims.
Flying is now a routine way of getting around, whether it be for business or pleasure. As with any mode of transport, accidents can happen, and it is important if an injury is suffered that you get the right advice.
The law that governs accidents on flights is the Montreal Convention, which establishes a regime of liability for injuries suffered in the air.
As with accidents at sea, the period for bringing a claim is two years, as opposed to three years for other personal injury claims.
There can also be other legal technicalities based on where the accident occurred, whether a person was embarking or disembarking the aircraft or whether the accident was in an airport.
What should I do after I have been injured?
Your first priority after an accident is your health. Seek medical attention within the resort and attend hospital abroad if necessary. It is important that your injuries are documented and the circumstances surrounding how you sustained your injuries.
It is important that you report your accident to the hotel, airline, cruise line, or tour operator as soon as possible. If possible, make sure an accident book is completed. Having written evidence will aid you later on with the claim.
What evidence do I need?
Wherever you are in the world, having evidence of what happened and where is crucial. We recommend obtaining information on:
How do I know if my holiday is a package holiday?
One way to confirm whether you are on a package holiday is to look at your booking documents and see what is stated on the ATOL certificate.
An ATOL certificate is a consumer’s proof that the trip is protected and provides a level of legal rights that aren’t always afforded on other holidays.
Why choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?
We will ensure that we update you at every stage of the case and you will have a dedicated handler from the very beginning. It can be very stressful after an injury and our team can assist you by breaking down the legal jargon during the process and listening to you.
What can I claim for?
There is no set award for what you can claim, as each case is assessed individually and is dependent on many things (such as severity of injury and how long the recovery will take).
General Damages cover pain, suffering and loss of amenity of life evidentially linked to the accident directly. The pain and suffering element of the award compensate for all past, present and future physical and psychiatric symptoms.
Loss of amenity is the inability to complete activities (temporarily or permanently) after an accident, which could be undertaken before. This is awarded to compensate for actual injuries suffered, and the effect on quality of life.
Special Damages compensate you for any financial losses or out-of-pocket expenses.
What does 'Special Damages' cover?
How will my case be funded?
We offer a ‘no-win, no-fee’ funding option, which means that you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket. There are no hidden charges and we do not ask for any money upfront. The only time you will need to pay anything is if your claim is successful. The Defendant will pay the majority of our legal costs, but not fully. As such, as part of our agreement, we take a deduction from your damages.
All we ask is that you uphold your side of the agreement, and we will handle the rest. Namely that you do not mislead us, co-operate with us and attend any scheduled appointments/hearing dates. If despite this, your case is unsuccessful, there will be no charge to you.
If the case succeeds, there will be a deduction made from your damages which is discussed if your case is accepted by our firm.
How long will my case take to run?
This depends on the nature of your claim as each claim is viewed on a case by case basis.
We would take your initial instructions, submit the claim to the Defendants and their insurers would have up to six months to admit or deny responsibility. This timeframe is longer than if your accident occurred within England and Wales.
If the Defendant admits liability, then the issue of causation will need to be proven. We will need to obtain a medical report from an independent expert. Once you are happy with the report, we will then do a valuation of what we believe the claim is worth and will disclose these documents to the defence and initiate negotiations and agree a reasonable offer from them which is agreed and paid in a timely manner.
If the opponent denies liability the claim will need to be investigated further and we will then reassess the prospects of success. We may then need to consider instructing a barrister to assess the case and your case may need to be taken to court.
How long from the time of the accident do I have to make my claim?
For package holidays that fit the criteria listed on this page, you have three years from the date of the accident to make this type of claim.
For boat and aeroplane claims, the deadline is two years, as opposed to three years for other personal injury claims.
For accidents in hotels booked independently, your claim would be brought directly against the hotel and within that country’s own limitation time.
I was injured at a hotel, which I booked directly and not as part of a package. Can I still claim?
If your holiday was not part of an ATOL package holiday, your claim would need to be brought directly against the hotel and within that country’s limitation period (time for bringing a claim).
As a result, it is important that we have a copy of your booking documents.
If I must take time off work because of the accident. Will I get sick pay?
This will depend on your contract with work. You should check your contract to see whether you are entitled to sick pay. If there is no mention of sick pay within your contract, ask your manager, or check your staff handbook.
If, unfortunately, you are unable to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you might be able to claim Universal Credit or another benefit.
Will I have to go to Court?
This is unlikely, the vast majority of claims settle without the need to commence or issue court proceedings. Even if your case does commence in court, proceedings usually settle before the need of a final court hearing. If the case does not settle, however, you would need to attend Court.
Unsuitable accommodation caused an accident
The claimant was living and working abroad and staying in accommodation provided by his employer. It was of a poor standard with unclean and broken fixtures, insufficient lighting, and dangerous access. As a result of the unsuitable conditions, the claimant sustained injury.
A claim was submitted against the claimant’s employer and liability was admitted. The claimant who continued to live abroad was able to attend a virtual consultation with a medical expert who prepared a report in support of the claimant’s claim for injuries. The claim ran from inception to settlement without the need for the Claimant to return to the UK.
If you believe you have a claim for an accident abroad, contact us for a free initial consultation regarding your options.