Making A Claim Abroad: What You Need To Know

Making A Claim Abroad What You Need To Know

Holidays should be a time to relax, whether it’s on the beach, by the poolor seeing the sights, but being in an accident abroad can bring the holiday bliss to a sudden halt. Being involved in an accident and sustaining an injury can be overwhelming at the best of times, but finding yourself injured in a foreign country can be at best tricky, and at worst frightening. 

Most accidents abroad cases consist of food poisoning, road accidentsand poolside mishaps. Although many of these accidents aren’t too severe, it’s important to know what action to take if you are injured abroad. 

Here we address the important things to remember if you are involved in an accident abroad.  

1- How long do I have to make a claim?  

In most cases, you will have to make a claim within a timeframe determined by the foreign country’s laws. This may be weeks, months or years, so make sure you read up right away to know how long you will have.  
 

2- Will my travel insurance cover it?  

Usually yes, if your injury is detailed within your travel insurance policy, so remember to get covered before you travel.  
 

3- Do I need specialist advice?

Yes, each country has its own laws and rules, and as such it’s best to have an expert legal professional on your side to help you understand what needs to be done. 
 

4- Should I keep my medical records?  

Yes, if you’ve been admitted to hospital, it’s important that you keep or make copies of all your records. We also recommend getting a hold of the details of staff or anyone who could possibly be a witness. 
 

5- Should I take pictures? 

Yes, especially if you’ve been injured due to an accident on the road or in a hotel. Take pictures of as much as you can to ensure you have all your bases covered should you need proof.  

 

Although it might seem like the perfect spot to let your guard down, being on holiday is precisely where you need to stay aware, drive safely, ensure proper health and safety measures are in place. This is especially true when you are staying, eating and spending time somewhere new so as to best avoid any accidents or injuries.  

 

If you do find yourself injured due to an accident abroad, you may be due compensation. Get in touch with one of our friendly specialist travel lawyers today on 0800 163 978 to see what we can do for you. 

 

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please feel free to get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.  

holiday claims

Japp v Virgin Holidays – holiday accident law

The Court of Appeal handed down their decision in the above case in November 2013.  The defendant’s appeal was unsuccessful, the Appeal Court upholding the first instance decision in favour of the claimant.  The result is confirmation that, when an accident occurs and holiday accommodation requires to be assessed for compliance with local standards, the standards which are to be applied are those in force at the time of construction of the property rather than at the time of the accident.  It is the most authoritative case for such types of cases at present.

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bad package holiday

Package holiday accident claim

Bonnar Accident Law

With the upsurge in recent years of consumers booking holidays themselves directly via the internet, it is more important than ever for the public to be aware of their rights and to the protection afforded to them, should an accident occur whilst they are abroad. 

The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (as amended) are the starting point to ascertain whether such protection exists, and whether a claim may be possible. They enable a consumer to sue in this country.  If the Regulations do not apply to an accident it is extremely difficult to sue in the foreign courts – you will have to sue in the foreign court where the accident occurred which could be anywhere in the world.  For serious or catastrophic injuries it might be worthwhile, but anything less won’t pass a cost benefit analysis.

But what is a Package Holiday for these purposes?

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adventure holiday

What you need to know about adventure holidays.

By April Meechan, Associate Solicitor, Bonnar Accident Law

At this time of year, many people get down to planning a ‘trip of a lifetime’ adventure holiday in some far-flung exotic location.

In the aftermath of last year’s Luxor balloon tragedy, I looked at the Guardian Online edition which chronicled the troubled and troubling history of hot air balloon accidents over Luxor and Karnak.

The article noted that in June 2008 four Scottish holidaymakers were injured when the balloon in which they were travelling crash landed.  Bonnar & Co. acted for those holidaymakers.  I remember thinking how terrible an ordeal it must have been for them and a number of points occurred to me as I looked at the terrible recent news.

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What every traveller needs to know about adventure trips on foreign holidays.

What every traveller needs to know about adventure trips on foreign holidays.

Getty images

In the aftermath of the Luxor balloon tragedy, I looked at the Guardian Online edition which chronicled the troubled and troubling history of hot air balloon accidents over Luxor and Karnak.

The article noted that in June 2008 four Scottish holidaymakers were injured when the balloon in which they were travelling crash landed.  Bonnar & Co. acted for those holidaymakers.  I remember thinking how terrible an ordeal it must have been for them and a number of points occurred to me as I looked at the terrible recent news.

1. The tabloid press and some broadsheets routinely scoff over health and safety (“Elf ‘n Safety”) bureaucracy. They long for a return to light touch regulation where everything is just common sense. Light touch regulation of dangerous activities inevitably turns into casualties, particularly where a profit motive is concerned. This is not opinion, it’s arithmetic.

2. The persons we acted for had booked the trip of a lifetime to Egypt using a highly reputable adventure travel company. The balloon trip had not been pre-booked. Instead they had signed up during a welcome meeting organised by the travel company with a person whom they believed was an authorised representative of the adventure travel company.

This is a very common scenario, and I suspect one which involves a money inducement.  Following the accident the travel company did everything possible  to distance themselves from the excursion. It was not part of the package, the persons had booked independently, and the claim should be directed against the Egyptian balloon company care of some street in Cairo.

The victims would have to proceed  via the Egyptian courts. Every lawyer who does this kind of case will know what a familiar tactic this is. They wanted to argue that the person who appeared at the function organised by the travel company and taking bookings for the balloon flight had suddenly become a completely independent contractor for whom the company bore  no responsibility.

3. In particular they wanted to claim that the Package Holiday Regulations 1992 did not apply as the excursion was not part of the “package.” Technically they might have been  right about that. However, it is useful to remember that the normal law of agency applies in these situations and the company can be held liable for someone whom it may have held out as an authorised representative and agent.

In the event court proceedings had to be raised in the Court of Session in Edinburgh before the case could settle.

These kind of tactics represent our common experience when dealing with the travel industry. Matters never settle without litigation and the industry itself uses every possible loophole to evade responsibility. This is in the hope that persons injured on holiday give up or are otherwise deterred from going to court.  Our invariable experience is that it is naïve in the extreme to expect the travel company to do the decent thing.

If something does happen to you on holiday, you are going to have to prove it. 

Take photographs, get witness details including mobile phone numbers. 

You will almost certainly have to rely on these holiday acquaintances to prove your case. 

You probably won’t see this on the holiday brochures, but it is something you should bear in mind.

Written by April Meechan, Associate Solicitor, Bonnar Accident Law.