Having an accident while on holiday is an extremely unfortunate situation, and depending on the accident, can have long-term impacts on your quality of life.
If you have been injured while on holiday, whether this is abroad or in the UK, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
To assist you with your claim, we’ve compiled all the most important information you need to know about holiday accident claims to ensure your claims process runs as smoothly as possible.
Four of the most common types of holiday accidents
People who have been injured often do not claim compensation as they simply do not realise that they may be entitled.
It can also be difficult to know if you have the grounds for a claim or not, depending on the type of accident you had.
Below are four of the most common types of holiday accidents:
Slips, trips, and falls
Slippery and/or uneven walkways and poorly maintained railings and bannisters can all result in you slipping, tripping and/or falling during your holiday.
Local laws and customs around driving, crossings and traffic lights can often catch tourists out during their holiday. Additionally, you may be involved in a road traffic accident during arranged transport, such as your transfer from the airport to your hotel.
The hot climate can cause bacteria to grow and spread rapidly and so extra care needs to be taken around riskier foods such as chicken and seafood. Unfortunately, in some instances, restaurants may slip up, causing you to get food poisoning.
Sports and excursions
When on holiday, you may take part in activities that you never normally do, such as paragliding, for example. Sporting and excursion accidents can occur if you do not receive a proper briefing before the activity, or if the equipment is faulty.
What is the process for holiday accident claims?
The process for claiming differs for each country, as well as the type of holiday. For example, the process will be different if you injured yourself on a package holiday and everything was booked through an agent rather than a holiday that you booked directly yourself.
In order for personal injury solicitors to determine the next best course of action, they’ll need to clarify a few details, such as:
- Did you book the holiday directly or through a package holiday provider?
- If the holiday was booked yourself and you had an accident at the hotel or during an excursion, we’d need to determine the correct point of contact.
- If the holiday accident was during a package holiday, and everything including flights and accommodation was booked through them, then package holiday injuries are under the package tour regulations and ABTA. In this case, we can pursue a normal claim in our jurisdiction.
Our standard procedure for holiday accident claims is as follows:
- Register the claim through the online initial claims system portal – this is for claims worth up to £25K.
- If the case is more serious, we can send a letter of claim to the tour company alleging negligence.
- If we can’t resolve it through those means, then Court proceedings will begin.
No matter what route we decide to take, depending on the severity of your case, you can rest assured that you will have the full support and guidance from a specially trained solicitor throughout.
How long do holiday injury claims normally take?
The length of the claims process depends on each individual case.
If everything goes smoothly and the company admit liability to actions, and you can negotiate a reasonable settlement, the process can be completed anywhere within 6-12 months.
However, for more serious cases, such as ones that need to go to Court, you could be looking at a case length of up to three years, or, in the most serious of cases, even longer.
Is there a time limit for making a claim for your holiday accident?
There are very strict time limits surrounding holiday accident claims.
If the claim is in the jurisdiction of England and Wales, you have up to 3 years from the date of the accident to file court proceedings.
If you had the accident abroad and you are attempting to claim abroad, the legal time limit to file court proceedings will depend on the law applicable to the country where the accident occurred, e.g., in Spain the time limit is 2 years.
If you have an accident on a cruise ship, maritime law known as the Athens Convention applies and the legal time limit is 2 years.
As soon as you are off the ship and on foreign soil, the specific laws of that country will apply.
Do you need to gather evidence to support your claim?
Evidence can be extremely useful when supporting your claim and can help shorten the time it takes to complete your claim.
The following types of evidence are particularly useful when filing a claim for a holiday accident:
- Witnesses who are not part of your group – impartial witnesses are some of the strongest forms of evidence
- Photographs of the scene of the injury, and the injury itself
- Contact details of the relevant person, such as the hotel manager or excursion organiser
- Holiday booking documentation – this can prove you were actually there in case the accused denies everything
- Expenses such as medical and travel expenses as a result of the accident and injury
- Any and all receipts of things purchased/paid for as a direct result of the injury
You should also report the accident to the relevant person, such as the hotel manager or excursion organiser and insist a written record is made.
In some instances, you may be unable to obtain any evidence, however, you are still able to claim for holiday accidents without it.
Can you claim on behalf of a child/dependant?
Yes, you can claim on behalf of anyone under 18. In fact, if a child becomes injured when on holiday, it is only their parent(s) or carer(s) that can claim for them.
The claim process remains the same as if you were claiming for yourself, however, the claimant must be prepared to sign paperwork to state they are responsible for any and all legal costs should the claim make it to Court.
The same principle applies to someone who is not mentally capable to manage their affairs, for example, if they have a mental health issue, or if they received a brain injury as an effect of the accident and are no longer mentally capable of making their own decisions.
If you recover compensation on behalf of a child or dependant, it must be invested by the Court on their behalf until they are 18, and any compensation settlement must be approved by the Court.
How do you know if you’re eligible to make a claim?
It’s important that you seek legal advice straight away to determine whether you are eligible to make a claim or not – people often blame themselves and miss out on life-changing compensation as a result.
Many people are unaware that they are eligible to claim compensation if they have had to take care of someone who was injured during their holiday, such as driving to medical appointments, pushing a wheelchair, tending to wounds, and so forth.
What is the average pay-out for holiday accidents?
Again, the average pay-out is entirely dependent on the severity of your case and the level of injury you received as a result of the accident, with the compensation varying enormously.
For example, a soft tissue injury, which constitutes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, can get you a compensation claim of a few thousand pounds.
On the other hand, if you were to experience a life-changing injury that has dramatically impacted your life, such as stopping you from working, you may be entitled to hundreds of thousands of pounds. The recovery period can also impact this.
The loss of enjoyment of your holiday can also be factored into your final compensation amount. For example, say you were on your dream holiday that you had been planning for years, and you became injured on day two, you may be entitled to receive enhanced compensation.
Has leaving the EU affected the claiming process?
No, the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has not impacted the holiday accident claims process in any way, and all previous rules still apply.
How do insurance policies affect your claim?
Typically, foreign travel insurance policies will cover your medical costs to a certain extent. However, what they won’t do is pay out full compensation for your injuries.
Standard travel insurance does not affect your ability to claim compensation for personal injury.
Do you need the help of holiday claims solicitors?
Dealing with a holiday accident claim can be extremely stressful, especially if you are still in the process of recovering from your injuries or helping to care for someone who has been injured.
Smith Partnership has a dedicated team of specialist solicitors who can assist you with holiday accident claims, ensuring you get the outcome you deserve. Simply contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you.