At this time of year, we generally see an increase in enquiries from people who have suffered a personal injury whilst on holiday, whether in a road traffic accident, or in a hotel or a public place.
Road Traffic Accidents abroad:
In England and Wales, you have three years from the date of accident within which to pursue a claim. This is known as the limitation date. Depending on where you go, the limitation period can vary wildly.
- 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 just one year.
It is therefore important to instruct a Solicitor and begin a foreign injury claim as quickly as possible after it happens, particularly if you have had an accident in Spain (including the Balearic and Canary Islands).
These apply equally if you are a driver or a passenger.
- Take details of the registration numbers of all the vehicles involved in the collision
- Establish exactly where the accident occurs, note down the name of the road and precise location.
- Take photographs of the vehicles involved, the location of the accident and any injuries you have sustained
- Try to obtain contact details of any witnesses
- Write all the details down, or save them in your phone as soon as possible after the accident.
- Notify your own insurer as soon as possible.
- If required, seek medical assistance immediately and keep copies of any paperwork you are given and any receipts.
- If the Police are involved, try to get details of the officers involved, the address of their station and any crime reference numbers. Keep safe any documents they give you.
Other Accidents Abroad:
Whether the English Courts will find a tour operator liable for an accident depends on whether you would have a claim in the law of the Country where you were injured. Judges in this Country will not apply the safety and legislative standards we enjoy to other countries, and will rely on an interpretation of the law from the country in question. This is something your Solicitor will need to investigate, possibly with the assistance of an expert Lawyer from the country where you were injured.
Accidents in public places will generally require you to instruct an English-speaking lawyer in the country where your accident took place. This can be very difficult and off-putting for many. We can sometimes assist local clients to locate appropriate foreign lawyers and act as liaison between you and them.
If you have been injured at your hotel, or on a packaged trip which you organised before you left home, then you may well be covered by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations of 2018. The Regulations allow you to bring the claim in the UK against your tour operator.
To be awarded compensation under the regulations, you have 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.
Tourists are also frequently injured on pre-booked excursions and they may be able to bring claims against the tour Operator and/or the local operator.
One of our clients 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. A young boy we act for has significant scarring to his leg, due to a very sharp, damaged tile in a hotel swimming pool.
Just as you would at home, try to collect as much evidence as possible and to report your accident to hotel management, your package organiser’s representative in the resort or the tour operators head office in the UK.
- If there are any witnesses such as other guests staying in the hotel, politely ask for 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 of your injuries. Try to take photos showing measurements of any defects using a standard sized-object (for example a coin or banknote) in the picture. In the unlikely event you took a ruler on holiday, use it!
- You should write down the circumstances of the accident as soon as possible after it happens and draw a sketch.
- Go and obtain medical assistance. Always ask for a copy of your medical paperwork and keep receipts for any medical charges you incur.
We hope this doesn’t happen to you, but if you are unlucky enough to be in an accident whilst abroad please do not hesitate to contact our expert Lawyers on on 0114 218 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org