18 August 2022

What to do if you have an accident on holiday

Marisha Lowe Chartered Legal Executive - Personal Injury Team Leader
Holiday Injury

As summertime and the school holidays are now upon us, many will be venturing out of the UK for their summer holidays, which unfortunately can lead to injuries abroad or even devastating events such as the loss of a loved one.

The publicised case of 18-year-old Thomas Channon from Rhoose in Wales, recently made the press where his death “could have been prevented” according to the Coroner at the inquest. Thomas had gone on his first holiday abroad with friends, but tragically died after falling 70ft from a raised walkway near to his hotel in Magaluf, which only had a knee-high wall for protection.

Thomas was sadly the third person from the UK who died at that complex in 2018, with his death following only five weeks after Tom Hughes from Wrexham had also fallen to his death from the same walkway!

Thomas’ parents have been campaigning since his death to, quite rightly, ensure no further reoccurrences of such tragic events.

Their campaign has resulted in the walkway wall being improved and made safer, with a training programme entitled ‘Tom’s Check’ implemented in order to not only improve the safety of visitors, but also to support bereaved families.  The new scheme is to be tested by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in the Balearics in summer 2022 before being rolled out to other resorts.

In the unfortunate event you or a loved one regrettably suffers from an accident abroad, we have some helpful information on what to do below.

What types of accidents abroad can be claimed for?

  • Hotel accident claims

  • Road traffic accidents

  • Cruise ship accidents and illnesses

  • Flight related accidents

  • Food poisoning

  • Accidents whilst on a package holiday

  • Cycling accident claims

  • Accident whilst working abroad

What to do in the event you are injured abroad?

  • Immediately seek medical attention

  • Ensure you report the accident to your travel representative/hotel staff/employer as soon as possible

  • Obtain a copy of the accident report if possible, for your records

  • If possible, take photographs of the area where your accident occurred

  • If there were any witnesses, obtain their contact details

  • If you incur any expenses as a result of the injury, please keep the receipts

  • If the police have been notified or informed about the accident, obtain as much information as possible as to the police station involved (address, name of officer and reference number)

  • Seek legal advice as soon as possible after you return to the UK

Is there a time limit to pursue a personal injury claim following an accident abroad?

In the UK you have a period of 3 years from the date of the accident in which to pursue a claim. However, any injuries sustained on a ship or plane you have 2 years from the date of the accident.  Please note in other countries this limitation period can differ. For example: -

  • Spain – 1 year from the date of the accident

  • Belgium – 5 years from the date of the accident

  • France – 10 years from the date of the accident

Therefore, we would strongly recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Can I pursue my claim in the UK if the accident occurred abroad?

If the accident was someone else’s fault, it is possible to claim compensation in the UK, but it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible as the rules can be complex. 

For example, if you were injured as a result of the fault of your hotel staff or the travel agent and you booked your holiday as a package through a UK based travel agent, you would be able to make a claim under The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

What can I claim for as a result of an accident abroad?

There are many things you can claim for if you have been involved in an accident which is not your fault such as: -

  • Pain and suffering for the injury

  • Loss of enjoyment of your holiday 

  • Travelling expenses incurred due to accident

  • Cost for a fit to fly form to allow you to return to the UK (if required)

  • Medical expenses

  • Any non-refundable activities which had been pre-paid

  • Loss of earnings once you return to the UK

  • Any care and assistance which is needed

  • Rehabilitation costs

How can my claim be funded?

These types of claims can be funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (otherwise known as a No Win No Fee Agreement). This means there are no upfront fees or legal costs to pay if you are unsuccessful in the claim.

If you would like more information on how we can help following an accident abroad please contact Marisha Lowe.

Marisha Lowe, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Need help?

Contact Marisha to discuss this further.

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