When you go on holiday, you expect to have a fun, carefree time to relax and recharge. An unexpected holiday accident can ruin the experience and may have devastating consequences for you and your family.
Whether you had an accident abroad or in the UK, if another person was responsible for it, you could make a holiday accident claim. The most common accidents leading to a claim include slips, trips and falls, sports injuries, assaults, road traffic accidents and food poisoning.
Some of the most common injuries leading to a claim include cuts, lacerations, bruising, soft tissue injuries and broken bones. The holiday accident compensation you will receive if your claim is successful depends on the type and severity of your injuries.
If you believe your accident was due to the negligence of another party, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. If your solicitor believes you have a valid holiday compensation claim, they will offer you a no win no fee service. This means there are no upfront costs, and you will not lose anything if your claim is unsuccessful.
If your accident took place in the EU or you were injured while on a package holiday, you can often claim in the UK. In other circumstances, you may have to claim directly in another country, but it is unlikely you will have to go to court there.
If you have any questions or concerns about making a holiday accident claim, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Or, if you prefer, enter your details to receive a call back.
Can I make a holiday accident claim?
If you or a loved one were injured while on holiday, you may be able to claim holiday accident compensation. The easiest way to find out if you have a valid claim is by seeking legal advice. An experienced solicitor will evaluate your situation and determine liability.
Usually, you should be able to make a holiday accident claim if:
- Another party acted negligently
- Due to that negligence, you had an accident
- You sustained an injury as a result
More and more people choose to enjoy their holidays abroad. But just because you sustained your injury in another country does not mean you cannot claim compensation for your pain, suffering and financial expenses incurred as a result.
Holiday accident claims can be more complex and challenging than others. If you have to make your claim abroad, you will have to follow the law of that foreign country. This may affect your rights to claim, the value of your compensation award and the time limit you have to start legal proceedings.
The first step of any personal injury claim is determining who was responsible for your accident. According to your unique situation, this could be:
- Another road user, if you were involved in a road traffic accident. Whether you travelled by car, motorcycle, bicycle or public transport, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
- The travel company or tour operator that arranged your trip. The Package Travel, Package Holiday, and Package Tour Regulations 1992 legislation protects your rights if you have been travelling on a package holiday.
- A business owner, if you had a slip, trip, or another accident in a public place. Every shop, restaurant, hotel and any other place you may visit during the holiday must provide a safe service and secure premises.
- A healthcare professional, if you travelled abroad to get cosmetic surgery or another medical intervention and suffered an injury due to substandard care.
- Another individual, if you were the victim of a violent crime or animal attack. If you were mugged, sexually or physically assaulted abroad, your right to make a holiday accident claim depends on each country’s laws. Since November 2012, you can claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if you were the victim of a terrorist attack abroad.
After assigning liability, your solicitor will help you gather all the evidence you need to start your claim. If you have proof, such as photographs of the accident scene and contact details of any witnesses, these could greatly help secure the holiday accident compensation you deserve. Your claim will likely fail if you do not have any evidence to show that another party is responsible for your injuries.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and answer any questions you may have.
What are the most common types of holiday accidents?
Holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing, but an unfortunate accident can happen anywhere and anytime. The most common accidents leading to a holiday compensation claim include:
- Slips, trips and falls – these accidents may be due to wet or slippery floors, hazards left in walkways, pavement defects or trailing cables. All businesses in the UK and abroad have to keep their premises safe for visitors. This includes restaurants, hotels, pubs, shopping centres and gyms. Failing to do so could make them liable to pay you holiday accident compensation if you suffered an injury due to their negligence.
- Road traffic accidents – this may include car accidents, bicycle, bus, motorcycle and pedestrian accidents. All road users must act with reasonable care to protect their safety and other road users. In the EU, insurers must appoint UK representatives to handle compensation claims for accidents abroad, which makes it easier to bring a holiday accident claim.
- Swimming pool accidents – this may be due to loose tiles, slips and trips, chemical burns or lack of supervision and safety procedures. All swimming pool operators have a legal obligation to ensure the well-being of anybody visiting the premises, including swimming pools within hotel premises.
- Medical negligence – medical tourism has become a very popular choice, mainly due to economic reasons. The most common trips include dentistry and cosmetic surgery. But getting treatment abroad may bring particular risks, as the medical safety standards in some countries may not be as high as those in the UK. Your right to make a claim for medical negligence may vary from country to country, so it’s important to seek specialist help if you are the victim of medical negligence abroad.
- Airline accidents – travelling by air is incredibly safe compared to other forms of transport such as cars and buses. However, accidents onboard aeroplanes can include bags falling from overhead lockers, hot drinks spilt by crew members, crashes and rough landings. The Montreal Convention is an international treaty between over 100 countries, which may allow you to make a holiday accident claim against an airline in certain circumstances, even if it has not been proven that the airline was at fault.
- Sports injuries – many people engage in sporting activities whilst on holiday, such as skiing, hiking, playing tennis or football. Others may choose more adventurous experiences such as bungee jumping, scuba diving or windsurfing. If you suffered an injury due to inadequately trained staff or equipment, you might be due holiday accident compensation.
- Hotel accidents – every hotel owner and management owe you a duty of care to ensure that all areas of the hotel are well maintained and safe for use. If you suffer an injury due to an unmarked wet floor, poorly maintained walkways, faulty appliances or any other hazards, you might be entitled to make a holiday accident claim. Under the Package Travel Regulations, if your hotel was booked through a package holiday, your claim will be against your travel agency for failing to provide safe accommodation.
- Aboard a cruise ship – a cruise holiday can be a special and memorable experience, but having an accident at sea may be very distressing. You could suffer an injury due to a slip or trip, falling objects, food poisoning, ship malfunctioning or collision. Similar to airline accidents, you may be able to claim for an accident abroad without needing to prove liability.
- During an excursion or activity – sight-seeing tours, zip-lining, horseback riding and other similar activities are popular holiday choices. If you sustained an injury during an arranged excursion due to poorly maintained equipment or lack of proper training, you might be entitled to compensation.
- Criminal assaults – a violent assault can be a life-changing experience and may result in severe physical and psychological injury. Violent crimes abroad may include mugging, terrorist attacks, sexual assaults and hijacking. If you were the victim of an assault at a location booked as part of a holiday package, you might be able to claim compensation from the holiday company. If you have travelled independently, your right to make a claim will depend on the particular laws of the country where the assault occurred. If you were the victim of a terrorist attack, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim in the UK through The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
- Illnesses – besides suffering an injury, catching an illness may also ruin your holiday. Potential illnesses include food poisoning, Legionnaires’ disease, water contaminants in swimming pools and bacterial infections caused by substandard medical care. You might be entitled to holiday sickness compensation for your pain and suffering if you contracted an illness due to negligence and poor hygiene standards.
As long as another party was at least partially responsible for your accident, you might be entitled to claim holiday accident compensation. For further advice and information or to start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What to do if you have an accident abroad?
When you leave overseas on holiday, you expect to have a fun and memorable time. Unfortunately, an unexpected injury can ruin your plans no matter how careful you are.
If another person or company caused your accident by acting negligently, you might be able to claim compensation for your pain, suffering, and related financial losses.
If you have an accident abroad, it is essential to have relevant evidence that another party was responsible for your harm. Whether you suffered an injury within or outside the EU, you should:
- Take photos or videos of the accident scene and what caused your injuries.
- Take photographs of your injuries and any damage to your personal items.
- Seek medical attention to have your injuries assessed and treated.
- When possible, try to secure any CCTV or dash cam footage of the accident.
- Write down everything you can remember about the accident and how it affected you.
- Note the contact details of anybody who witnessed your accident that might later give a statement.
- Report the incident to the responsible person at the location and request that the accident is recorded in their log book.
- If you were involved in a car accident, report it to the police and get the contact details and licence plate of the other party.
- If you booked through a holiday company, inform them about your accident.
- Keep track of all the related financial losses you incurred and keep any receipts for medical bills, accommodation, transport and other out of pocket expenses you had to pay as a result of your accident abroad.
If you believe you are entitled to holiday accident compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Claims for an accident abroad can be complicated, especially if you travelled independently and not through a UK based travel agency.
An experienced solicitor will evaluate your case and consider the available evidence. If you have a valid claim, they will contact the person or company you are claiming against. If they admit liability, you can begin to negotiate your holiday accident compensation.
Otherwise, you may have to issue court proceedings. Depending on the particulars of your situation, you may be able to claim under UK law or may have to claim directly in a foreign country. Either way, your solicitor will provide support and assistance at every step.
How much will my holiday accident compensation claim be worth?
If you suffered an accident abroad or in the UK while on holiday, you might be able to make a claim. If another party was at least partially responsible for your injuries, they might be liable to pay you damages. The value of your holiday accident compensation depends on several factors, such as:
- What type of injury you have sustained – a soft tissue injury will be worth less than a traumatic spine or brain injury.
- The extent of your injury – a first-degree burn is worth less than a third-degree burn injury, just like a simple fracture is worth less than a complex one requiring surgery.
- Your recovery prospects – if you suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident, you could receive £240 for an injury lasting less than three months and £4,251 if your recovery takes between 18 to 24 months.
- How your injuries have affected various aspects of your life, such as the ability to pursue a hobby, work or attend social events.
- Whether you also suffered psychological damage as a result of a traumatic event.
- Whether you shared part of the blame for having an accident, which is known as contributory negligence. As long as you do not hold more than 50% liability, you are still entitled to make a holiday accident claim. Your compensation award will be reduced based on your percentage of the fault.
- The financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your accident abroad.
At the beginning of your claim, your solicitor will consider your circumstances and how your injury affected your life. They will take these effects into account to calculate the value of your compensation award. The holiday accident compensation will usually cover:
Special damages for any financial losses or expenses related to your accident, which could include:
- Short-term medical expenses like medication, consultation fees, hospital charges or diagnostic tests.
- Long-term medical expenses such as physical therapy, psychological counselling or other treatments.
- Transportation costs to and from medical visits, whether you travel by bus, taxi, or a private car.
- The cost of any activities or reservation fees you paid for but could not attend after the accident.
- Lost earnings, if you lost some of your salary or bonuses during recovery.
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries do not allow you to return to work or you have to take up a lower paying job.
- Costs of care and assistance with daily tasks, even if provided by a friend or family member.
- Replacement or repair of damaged property from the accident, such as clothes, phones or jewellery.
- Home or vehicle adaptations to improve the quality of your life if your injuries caused you a permanent disability.
- Any other financial expenses related to the holiday accident that you can account for.
Special damages are awarded to place you in the position you would have been in if the accident had not occurred. While it can be relatively easy to calculate special damages, it gets more complicated when calculating future losses if you have sustained a significant injury.
Your solicitor will consider your long-term prognosis, life expectancy, the costs of care and assistance, annual earnings, loss of pension and other factors to calculate a correct compensation award.
General damages, awarded for the direct physical and psychological effects of the accident, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional trauma such as stress and anxiety
- Physical injury or impairment, including scarring, disfigurement, paralysis and other disabilities.
- Reduced quality of life caused by chronic pain, mobility restrictions and other issues that can make everyday tasks challenging.
- Loss of companionship in wrongful death cases
- Loss of consortium if you cannot enjoy the same love and affection of a spouse as before the accident abroad.
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of amenities, such as the ability to pursue a hobby or leisure activity
General damages are not easily quantifiable and depend on the individual circumstances of each claimant. If you can make your claim in the UK, the compensation for general damages will be awarded based on the guidelines published by the Judicial College. According to them, you could get:
- Up to £13,740 for a mild ankle injury such as a sprain or simple fracture
- £39,170 – £130,930 for a severe arm injury causing major restriction and disability, with significant pain and suffering
- £12,510 – £38,780 for a moderate back injury such as ligament or soft tissue damage causing pain and discomfort
- £4,080 to £7,160 for moderate damage to one or more front teeth
- £15,650 – £32,010 for a severe elbow injury causing mobility restriction but not severe disability
- £2,200 – £3,950 for a temporary eye injury with recovery within a few weeks
- £2,320 – £36,740 for a facial injury covering simple to multiple fractures
- £10,320 – £16,340 for a severe finger injury causing deformity and permanent loss of grip and dexterity
- £5,720 – £13,280 for moderate hand injuries such as lacerations and puncture wounds
- Up to £3,950 for a minor pelvis or hip injury that will heal completely
- Up to £26,190 for moderate knee injuries causing minor disability, pain and suffering
- Up to £27,760 for mild leg injuries such as simple fractures and soft tissue injuries with complete recovery
- £240 to £4,345 for whiplash, depending on recovery time
- £40,410 to £85,150 for moderate brain injuries requiring little dependency on other people
After considering all the details of your unique situation, your solicitor can give you a fair estimate of your compensation prospects. To find what holiday accident compensation you might expect, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How long do I have to make a holiday accident claim?
Usually, the time limit to make a personal injury claim for negligence is three years. This means that if you do not begin legal proceedings within three years after having an accident or becoming aware of an injury, your case becomes statute-barred, and you will likely lose your chance to get compensation.
In exceptional circumstances, the court may decide to extend the time limit to begin a claim. This depends on certain factors, such as the length and reason for the delay.
Because of the time limits involved, you should seek early legal advice if you believe you might have a valid holiday compensation claim. Three years may seem like a long time, but it can take many months to get your medical records, talk to witnesses and medical experts and gather all the relevant evidence to build a strong claim.
If you are too close to the limitation date, finding a personal injury solicitor who will accept your case may be problematic, even if your claim has merit. If the court does not allow for an extension, you may find yourself unable to recover damages, which could be devastating for you.
Under UK legislation, there are several exceptions to the three-year limitation date:
- Claims on behalf of children can be made at any point by a litigation friend (usually a parent or guardian) before the child’s 18th birthday, regardless of when the accident abroad took place. When the child reaches 18 years old, they have three years to start legal proceedings in their name if nobody claimed for them.
- The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) would handle your holiday compensation claim if you suffered an injury due to a violent crime. The CICA sets the time limit to begin a claim as two years after an incident.
- There are no time limits to make a claim on behalf of someone who does not have the mental capacity to handle their own case. Under the Mental Health Act 1983, a person may need a litigation friend to conduct legal proceedings on their behalf if they suffer from:
- High levels of stress or severe sleep deprivation
- Down syndrome, autism, or another intellectual disability
- A severe mental disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
- A neurodegenerative disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- A traumatic brain injury or stroke
- The standard three-year countdown to make a personal injury claim will begin if the victim regains their mental capacity.
- If a loved one passes away due to a fatal accident, a close family member could claim holiday accident compensation within three years from the date they died. If an autopsy concluded that an accident abroad was the cause of death, you could start a claim within three years from the date you found out.
- Under the Athens Convention 1974, when an accident occurs at sea, the general rule is that the limitation period to start a claim is two years.
- According to the Montreal Convention, there is a two-year time limit for bringing a personal injury or wrongful death claim that took place on an international flight. This includes any accident that happened after you went through passport control.
If you suffered an injury abroad and cannot claim in the UK, the time limit to start a holiday accident claim can vary considerably between countries. For example:
- In Spain and Thailand, the standard time limit to make a claim is one year after an accident
- In France, Mexico and Japan, there is a general ten-year limitation period for personal injury claims
- In Belgium and the Netherlands, you usually have five years to make a holiday accident claim
- In Ireland and Canada, personal injury claims must be brought within two years
- In the USA, the time limit to start a holiday compensation claim may vary from state to state
According to the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984, the time limits of both the UK and the foreign country where the accident happened may apply when bringing a claim for an accident abroad.
Can I only claim for accidents on package holidays?
If you booked your holiday as part of a package deal through a UK-based travel agent, you could pursue a holiday accident claim against the travel agency. This has been the case since the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 came into effect in 2002.
Nowadays, almost all package holidays combine at least two of the following types of services:
- Car and motor rental
- Activities such as excursions, museum visits or guided tours
Any travel, hotel stay or activity that was included in your package holiday is likely to be covered by the 1992 legislation. If your claim is related to some element of a package holiday, it may be much easier for you to receive holiday accident compensation.
These regulations may not apply if you sustained an injury during an activity that was not included in your holiday package, such as:
- Bungee jumping or beach water sports
- Eating out at a local restaurant
- Accidents at a supermarket or shopping centre
- A road traffic accident involving a taxi, bicycle or public transport
If you arranged your holiday independently, the Package Tour Regulations do not apply to you. Nonetheless, every hotel, airline, restaurant, healthcare professional, or any other company you may encounter during your holiday has a duty of care to provide you with a safe service.
As long as you have evidence that your injury was due to negligence, you should be able to make a holiday accident claim for any harm sustained abroad or in the UK.
After hearing the circumstances of your accident, your solicitor will know if you can pursue holiday accident compensation in the UK or if you need to claim in a foreign country. In the latter case, you may only be able to claim damages based on the laws in the foreign country.
In short, the personal injury solicitors we work with should be able to help you get the holiday accident compensation you deserve whether you travelled independently or on a package holiday. However, it is generally easier to make a successful claim if you have booked through a UK tour operator.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a holiday accident claim and answer any questions you may have.
Can claims for accidents abroad be made under UK law?
If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of an accident abroad, you might be able to make a holiday accident claim. According to the circumstances of your injury, you may be able to pursue your claim in the UK, or you may have to claim abroad.
You can usually make your claim in the UK if:
- The individual, business, or tour operator you are claiming against is based in the UK
- You are claiming against a business or individual that is based in an EU country
- You suffered an injury while on a package holiday booked in the UK
If you were injured while on a package holiday, your holiday accident claim could be made under UK law, regardless of what country you travelled to. If you travelled independently and had an accident in a foreign country, the general rule is that the law of the country where the accident occurred will apply.
Your solicitor may contact a legal adviser from that country to assess the value of your claim. For example, if you have a collision with an Italian driver while in Italy, Italian law will apply to the evaluation of damages, even though you may be able to pursue your claim in the UK.
Sometimes, claiming abroad may be beneficial and might result in more holiday accident compensation being awarded. This is often the case in USA-based claims, as US law often provides for damages which are more generous than under English law.
Even if you have to make your claim abroad instead of in the UK, most claims settle without going to court. In the unlikely event that you do have to appear in court in another country, your solicitor may be able to represent you.
The rules for claiming compensation for an accident abroad can be complex, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. If a UK-based solicitor is not able to help with your claim abroad, they will be able to offer advice on how to proceed.
Are holiday accident claims covered by no win no fee?
Other than ruining your holiday, a holiday injury can be very distressful and may permanently impact your life. If you suffered an accident abroad, the cultural differences and language barrier might make your circumstances even more difficult.
If you suffered a severe injury, you might not be able to return home right away, and you may have to take time off work during recovery. Besides physical pain and emotional distress, you may incur major financial losses and expenses that could severely affect you and your family.
If another party was responsible for your injuries, you might want to make a holiday compensation claim. Even if you had an accident abroad, you should still be entitled to compensation if you were not entirely responsible for your injuries.
Nonetheless, you might be worried that making a claim will be too expensive, and you could be left out of pocket if your claim is unsuccessful. Luckily, most holiday accident claims can be funded with a no win no fee agreement.
At the beginning of your case, your solicitor will discuss funding options with you. For example, legal expenses insurance (LEI) is included in many household, car, and travel insurance policies, and it may be the best option for you.
If you have a valid claim for holiday accident compensation and the no win no fee service is best suited for you, your solicitor will explain how the claims process works. The main benefits of making a no win no fee claim are:
- You will be able to pursue compensation for your injuries regardless of your financial status and without taking any financial risks.
- Your solicitor will provide their support and advice at every step of the claim without asking for any upfront solicitor fees. Furthermore, if you lose the case, you do not have to pay them a single penny.
- Your legal adviser will take care of gathering evidence and will handle all the legal documents. They will negotiate the best settlement for you and always keep you updated so you can focus on your recovery.
- At the beginning of the claim, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. ATE insurance provides full financial coverage if your case is unsuccessful. This means you will not have to pay any legal costs, including the defendant’s solicitor fees, expert witnesses or barrister fees.
- The no win no fee service usually includes a free consultation with an independent, government-approved medical professional. They will assess the full extent of your injury and its long-term impact and provide a medical report that will be essential evidence in your claim.
Before starting your holiday accident claim, you will agree on a success fee with your solicitor. This will be paid to them only if they successfully win your compensation claim. This compensates the solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a no win no fee service and the time and effort they have put into winning your case.
The Ministry of Justice states that the success fee cannot exceed 25% of the compensation award for general damages and past financial losses. In no win no fee claims, compensation awards for general damages are increased by 10% to offset the impact of the success fee deduction.
To find out if you have a valid holiday accident claim or if you have any questions about the no win no fee service, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.