Summer is here….
Well unfortunately, the England boys didn’t bring it home for us this time but let’s not forget it’s still summer and the holiday season is upon us. It’s time to take off those waistcoats and slap on the sun-tan lotion.
Holidays are exciting times but unfortunately some trips involve tourists being involved in unwanted and sometimes serious injuries. some of the commonest accidents abroad are Road Traffic Accidents. I’m sure we can all recall examples of crazy taxi drivers, nail-biting coach trips and local moped drivers causing havoc on the roads abroad.
Pursuing a personal injury claim for a Road Traffic Accident abroad is different from making a claim in England and Wales so there are important things to bear in mind such as Limitation dates. Hereyou have three years from the date of accident within which to pursue a claim . butin other countries the period is different :-
- In France the limitation period is ten years from the date of the accident;
- In Belgium it is five years;
- In Germany the limitation period is the last day of the third year from the date of the accident (for example if the accident occurred on 12th July 2018, the limitation date would be 31st December 2021).
- In Spain the limitation period is only one year!.
It is therefore important to begin a foreign RTA claim as quickly as possible afterwards, particularly if you have had an accident in Spain (including the Balearic and Canary Islands) where the limitation period is only one year.
What to do if you have been involved in a Road Traffic Accident abroad?
As in the UK it is vitally important to obtain as much information as you can. In particular:-
- Take details registration numbers of all the vehicles involved in the collision
- Establish exactly where the accident occurs
- Take photographs of the vehicles involved, the location of the accident and any injuries you have sustained
- Try to obtain contact details from any potential witnesses who may be able and willing to provide a supportive statement
- Record those details on your mobile phone, or on paper as soon as possible after the accident.
- Notify your insurer (road traffic or other) as quickly as you can afterwards.
- Seek medical assistance immediately and obtain a copy of the medical report and copies of any receipts
- If the Police are involved, obtain details of the officers involved, the address of their station, the crime reference and keep any documents they give you.
Other Accidents Abroad
If you have suffered any other type of injury whilst on holiday for example if you tripped and fell as a result of a poorly maintained walkway at your Hotel you may well be covered by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations and be able to bring a claim against your Tour operator in the UK. That only applies if the hotel you have booked is responsible for your accident.
For example if you had tripped on a badly maintained pavement in a local town, the organiser of your package holiday will not be held responsible under the regulations. If you did not book your holiday as a package holiday for example you booked the flights, accommodation and service separately then you will be an independent traveller and the Regulations will not cover you and you may well need to locate and instruct an English-speaking lawyer in the country where your accident took place.
We often help local clients to locate appropriate foreign lawyers. One of our solicitors recently helped a man to recover compensation for a man who was knocked off his bicycle in California and enjoyed assisting the client’s US lawyers to obtain medical and other evidence to support the claim.
What to do if you have suffered an injury whilst on a package holiday:-
To be awarded compensation you’ll need to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of the hotel or its staff. That may be because the hotel was poorly maintained and dangerous and you were not warned about the hazard that caused your injury.
One of my colleagues has just settled a claim for a UK visitor to the USA when he trod on a swimming pool filter that collapsed, causing a painful injury to his leg and ruining the rest of his holiday.
Tourists are also frequently injured on pre-booked excursions (such as Jeep Safaris, Catamaran Cruises and walking tours) for which they may be able to bring claims against the Tour Operator and/or the local operator.
One of our clients is currently pursuing a claim against a Cruise Line after she suffered a nasty injury on an excursion. Another succeeded with a claim after she was bitten by what a tour guide told her was a harmless large rodent whilst exploring Cuba in a kayak.
If you do suffer injury whilst on holiday, it is important to obtain as much proof as possible and to report your accident as soon as possible to the hotel management, your package organiser’s representative in the resort or if there is no holiday representative then to the organiser’s head office in the UK.
As with road traffic accidents, it is important to obtain as much information as possible. For example:-
- If there are any potential witnesses such as other guests staying in the hotel, try to obtain their names, contact details (phone and email) and addresses as they may well be prepared to make a statement to help you.
- You should take photographs of what caused your accident and the injuries you sustained.
- If possible, take photos showing measurements of defects with a ruler or standard object (for example a coin or banknote) in the picture.
- You should write down the circumstances of the accident as soon as possible after it happens and if at all possible draw a sketch.
- It is also important to get medical assistance as soon as you realise you’ve been injured. Always ask for a copy of your medical report and keep receipts for any medical charges you incur.
For most people, holidays are exciting, enjoyable and happy times but, if you are unlucky enough to be in an accident whilst abroad please do not hesitate to contact us on 0114 2184000. 0114 2184233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.