Can I make a claim for personal injury compensation if i am injured abroad whilst on holiday?
You have booked the tickets for that long awaited holiday, excitement takes over and you are counting the days. Pieces of luggage are packed and you finally take a seat on the plane.
The office for National Statistics confirm there were 70.8 million visits overseas by UK residents in 2016.
Unfortunately not all holidays turn out to be that dream holiday we hope it will be. I am increasingly instructed by people who have unfortunately, through no fault of their own, suffered injuries whilst on holidays abroad and are unaware if they have any rights to bring a claim.
The following are examples of claims which can be pursued if an accident occurs whilst on holiday abroad.
Accidents on planes
If you were travelling on a plane outside the UK and suffered an injury you may be able to bring a claim. I currently represent a client who suffered an injury to his head when he was struck by luggage which fell out of the overhead cabin.
Accidents on board of a plane are governed by the Montreal Convention, which applies to international carriages and to passengers.
Under the Montreal Convention, there is a strict 2 year time limit to bring a claim. Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible to identify if a claim falls under the Montreal Convention.
Slipping or tripping incidents in hotel premises
You may be able to bring a claim against a hotel if you were staying at the hotel and suffered an injury as a result of the negligence of the hotel.
I have represented a client who was walking on the grounds of the hotel when she suffered an injury due to uneven paving slab. I have also represented a client who fell due to slippery surface in a restaurant at hotel’s premises.
It is important to identify the correct Defendant to pursue in the event of an accident. A claim can be pursued against the tour operator under the Package Tour Regulations for failing to meet their duty to ensure the safety of their guests if a package holiday was purchased e.g. a holiday including flight tickets, transfers and accommodation.
There is a time limit of 3 years to make a claim for against a tour operator for an accident or illness that occurred on a package holiday.
If you have arranged accommodation with the hotel directly and booked your flight tickets separately, you may be able to bring a claim against the hotel directly. However, it is important to note that there may be occasions where the country in question does not have any laws which hold the Defendant at fault for negligence.
Where the country does have constitution for a claim to be brought it is important to know that they may have shorter time limits than the UK and legal advice should be sought promptly to avoid a potential claim to be out of time.
Road traffic accidents
Unfortunatey there have been a number of cases where UK citizens have been injured whilst travelling in a motor vehicle whilst driving or travelling as a passenger abroad.
Where an accident has taken place in a European county and a vehicle is insured a claim can be brought here in the UK as a result of Europaen Directives. An accident outside of the European Union will be subject to the laws of the county and/or the insurance contract in question.
Time limit for road traffic accidents will be dependant on the country and can vary from 1 year to 10 years. It is important to get legal advice as soon as possible to ensure a claim is brought in time.
Accidents on cruise ships
If you have suffered an injury whilst travelling on a cruise ship, you may be able to bring a claim for personal injury. An incident could have occurred as a result of a fall due to slippery surface on the cruise ship or trip due to obstacles which should have been put away. You will need to prove that the injury was caused at least in part by the negligence of the carrier, crew, agents or holiday company. These Claims are governed by the Athens Convention.
There may be occasions where the ship operator is strictly liable for the incident such as an explosion or collision.
The time limit under the Athens Convention is 2 years however legal advice should be sought as soon as possible to check a claim falls under the Athens Convention.
Injury whilst working abroad
If an injury is sustained whilst working abroad for an employer who has a registered office in the UK, you may be able to bring a claim against your employer here in the UK for their failure to provide their duty of care to their employee.
Where the accident takes place abroad and the employer is registered outside the UK, a claim will be subject to the laws of the country where the injury took place.
It is important to note that the time limit for bringing a claim here in the UK for accidents at work is 3 years from the date of the accident. Time limits for a claim outside the UK will be subject to the laws of the country in question.
Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible to ensure investigations are commenced and evidence such as CCTV footage are secured as quickly as possible.
Where a claim is commenced here in the UK, the level of compensation will be subject to the Judicial College guidelines and case law whereas the amounts of compensation for accidents abroad will be subject to the laws of the country in question.
Things to do if you have been injured whilst on holiday abroad
- Seek medical attention.
- Report the accident, in writing if possible.
- In a road traffic accident, take details of the accident location, the offending driver and vehicle details.
- Take photographs of the vehicles involved and the damage sustained.
- Take details of any attending police officers.
- Take measurements and photographs of the defect.
- Take photographs of any spillages.
- Take details of any witnesses.