Each summer sees hordes of school leavers taking their first unsupervised holidays abroad without parents. It's a milestone moment for you and them alike.
However, if despite your nagging and advice, they have the misfortune to suffer an injury or ill-health abroad, there are steps that they (and you) can take at the time to protect their interests and seek to claim compensation.
The precise details of how and what you can claim vary according to the circumstances and also the type of travel. Compensation for accidents on cruise ships is goverened by one international convention, and accidents on international flights by another. There are also specific UK regulations around compensation for negligence during package holidays.
However, it is useful to follow a few general rules if you are able to:
- as soon as you can, make notes about what happened
- take photos or videos. For example, with road traffic accidents, try to photograph number plates, and the position and state of the vehicles, and the location of where the accident occurred
- note down the names and contact details of any witnesses
- report any incidents to hotel or accommodation providers and/or tour reps while you are still abroad
- report any incident, damage or injury to your insurers as soon as possible
- seek professional medical attention for injuries while still abroad, and try to get copies of any medical records
- obtain legal advice as soon as possible after your return, as there are different time limits that apply to personal injury claims, depending on the country where your accident occurred.
The right to claim against a UK tour operator comes under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations (1992). These regulations state that a package is a pre-arranged combination offered for sale in the UK at an inclusive price, and should include at least two of the following:
- other tourist services which make up a significant part of the package
This will cover a traditional package holiday sold in a brochure but may not cover the modern ways people book their deals online. Our team can guide you through the regulations and help show that you are covered by them.
We can also explain whether you are affected by changes to the regulations that came in to force in 2018; these changes mean that more holidaymakers are protected.
What kind of accidents can I claim for?
You can potentially claim compensation for injuries caused by any aspect of your holiday. Accidents which take place in your hotel are the most common – tripping on uneven stairs or slipping by the pool, for example. You may be able to claim for illness if you have suffered food poisoning due to poor hygiene at your holiday resort.
Your accident should be reported to your travel rep as soon as possible, and you should inspect a copy of the accident report they prepare and make sure you agree with the content. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible and keep all documentation given to you by the hospital.
On your return to the UK, contact a firm of solicitors experienced in dealing with personal injury claims arising out of accidents abroad. At Calio Claims, we have a specialist team dedicated to handling foreign claims.
How long do I have to make a claim?
If your case is covered by the Package Travel Regulations, you will have a period of three years from the date of your accident to serve court proceedings.
However, if your accident was on a cruise ship or flight, you will only have two years.
If your accident was abroad but isn’t covered by the Package Travel Regulations, local time limits will apply. These vary widely and can be much shorter than in Scotland, so it is essential you seek legal advice quickly.