When going on holiday or a business trip, whether in the UK or abroad, you might choose to book your stay at a hotel. You are entitled to expect a safe and comfortable environment, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Unfortunately, accidents happen, and they are sometimes due to the negligence of the hotel operator. If you or a loved one were affected by an injury or illness while staying at a hotel, you might be able to make a hotel accident claim.
The most common incidents leading to a compensation claim include slips, trips and falls, bed bugs, food poisoning and defective equipment. According to a study conducted by Post Office Travel Insurance, an estimated 4.4 million people suffered an injury while on holiday abroad between 2012 and 2015.
If your stay was booked as part of a package holiday, you can usually make a claim for hotel accident compensation against the tour operator or travel agency. If you arranged your stay independently, you might need to claim against the hotel or its insurance company.
If you believe you have a valid hotel injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If you are eligible for compensation, they will offer you a no win no fee service, so you can claim without taking any financial risks or having to pay any upfront costs.
Can I make a hotel accident claim?
When staying at a hotel, you expect to have a fun and carefree time and not worry about health and safety issues. If you suffer an injury or illness during your stay due to someone else’s negligence, you might want to make a hotel accident claim for compensation.
The easiest way to find out if you have valid grounds to take legal action is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will ask you some questions about your injuries and how the accident occurred to see if you have proof that:
- A hotel owner or tour operator owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by ignoring the health and safety procedures
- Their negligence resulted in an accident at the hotel
- You suffered an injury or illness as a result
If another person was at least partially responsible for your injuries, you should be able to claim whether you booked a hotel in the UK or abroad. If your accident happened abroad, you might still be able to make your claim in the UK, or you may have to claim directly in the country where the hotel is located.
Usually, you have three years after an accident to start legal proceedings in the UK, but the time limit may vary considerably in other countries. To make sure you do not miss your chance to claim hotel accident compensation, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible.
If you have a valid holiday accident claim, they will likely offer you a conditional fee agreement, which is more commonly known as no win no fee. This means you do not have to pay your solicitor unless your claim is successful. They will also take out After the Event insurance on your behalf, which provides full coverage for financial expenses if you lose the case.
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 hotel injury claim and answer any questions you may have.
Who is liable for an accident in a hotel?
Hotels are public places, and every hotel owner owes a duty of care to guests and visitors to keep all areas well-maintained and safe for use. Their responsibilities are set out by the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 or the equivalent foreign legislation. A failure to maintain proper health and safety standards could make a hotel or their insurer liable to pay you hotel accident compensation.
However, if your stay was booked from the UK as part of a package holiday, your claim could be against the travel company or tour operator. The Package Travel, Package Holiday, and Package Tour Regulations 1992 offer protection against hotel accidents to travellers who book pre-arranged package holidays that also include accommodation.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, liability for your injuries may lie with the tour operator, travel agent or the hotel itself. In some cases, you might be able to take legal action against more than one party. Your solicitor will be able to identify the responsible party and help you secure the compensation you deserve.
What are the most common causes of hotel accidents?
Many things could go wrong during your stay and lead to a hotel accident claim. Your personal injury solicitor might be able to help you get compensation for:
A slip, trip and fall
Slips, trips and falls are the leading cause of accidents in public places, despite being preventable. The most common causes leading to a slip or trip include uneven pavements, slippery floors, poor housekeeping and obstacles left in walkways. A fall on the same level can cause serious injuries such as broken bones, dislocations and even brain trauma.
When hygiene standards in a hotel fall below a reasonable standard, this can lead to bed bug infestations. Bed bug bites can be painful and cause rashes, allergic reactions and scarring. In rare cases, they could cause more severe and long-term health problems such as body irritations and psychiatric injury.
A fall from a height
Unsafe balconies, missing handrails, uneven stairs and other hazards could lead to a fall from a height accident, which could have severe consequences, including death. If the hotel operator has failed to take all reasonable measures to keep you safe from injuries, they might be liable to pay you hotel accident compensation.
There are many ways you could suffer a burn injury as a guest in a hotel. These include chemical burns due to inadequate pool chlorination, electric burns due to faulty appliances or being served food or drinks that are too hot. Burn injuries can be very painful and may leave permanent scarring and disfigurement. If your injury was due to negligence, you might be able to make a hotel accident claim.
When you stay at a hotel, you might also enjoy eating at their restaurant. However, poor hygiene in the kitchen, not cooking the food at the right temperature or using ingredients past their expiration date could cause a severe holiday illness. While most cases of food poisoning are mild and resolve within a few days, it may sometimes cause long-term health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and kidney failure.
Swimming pools are often the most fun but also one of the most accident-prone areas in a hotel. The pool owners and operatives must provide pool supervision for guests, make sure the water is clean and safe for use and ensure the pool area is free from hazards. Negligence could lead to injuries caused by slips and trips, broken tiles, faulty drains or water contaminants.
A criminal assault
Tourists and hotel guests are often targets of criminals. Poor hotel security may cause you to get mugged, attacked or assaulted on the premises. If you fall victim to a violent crime on hotel property, you might be entitled to make a hotel injury claim. Depending on your circumstances, you could also be eligible to claim compensation through the CICA.
Damaged hotel furniture and equipment such as chairs, beds, faulty electronics or power outlets can put you and your loved ones at risk of severe injury. If the hotel operator has failed to maintain or repair any faulty items on the premises, they might have to pay you hotel accident compensation for your injuries.
A sports injury
Many hotels offer sporting activities on their premises, such as fitness equipment, indoor cycling, bowling, or tennis courts. Sports injuries are common, and, often, they are nobody’s fault. However, if your sports injury was due to poorly maintained facilities, faulty equipment or dangerous ground conditions, you might be able to make a hotel accident claim.
This list is not exhaustive, and you might be eligible for compensation even if you had a different accident. As long as you have evidence to prove it was due to negligence, you might be able to take legal action.
Can I claim for a hotel injury that happened abroad?
Yes, even if your accident happened outside of the UK, you could still be eligible for compensation. Based on the circumstances of your accident, you might be able to make a hotel injury claim in the UK, or you may have to claim directly in a foreign country.
Claiming abroad may sometimes be favourable and could result in a more substantial compensation award, as is often the case if you are claiming in the United States. Even if you need to make your claim abroad, it is unlikely you would have to leave the UK. If you must make a court appearance, your solicitor should be able to represent you.
The rules and time limits for claiming hotel accident compensation abroad can be complex and very different compared to UK laws. Thus, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible if you were injured in a different country.
There are some circumstances when you can usually make your claim in the UK, including if:
- Your claim is against a business based in an EU country.
- The hotel or tour operator you are claiming against is based in the UK.
- You had an accident in a hotel while on a package holiday booked in the UK. In this case, your hotel accident claim could be made under UK law regardless of what country you were injured in.
- If you had an accident abroad as an independent traveller, the general rule is that you must claim under the foreign country’s laws. The value of your claim will also be assessed according to foreign laws.
What steps should I take if I’m injured in a hotel?
If you were injured as a guest or visitor in a hotel, you might want to claim compensation for your damages. Irrespective of how you were injured, there are some steps you should take to make sure you have evidence that could help if you decide to make a hotel accident claim. These include:
- Seek appropriate medical attention so that your injuries are assessed and treated. Medical records are essential evidence in any personal injury claim.
- When relevant, take photographs of the accident scene and the exact cause of your injuries.
- Take pictures of any visible injuries and damage to your property and keep a photographic record of your recovery.
- Inform the hotel about your accident as soon as possible. Request that the accident is recorded into their log book and ask for a signed copy of the report.
- If your stay was booked as part of a package holiday, inform the holiday company of your accident.
- If any CCTV cameras recorded your accident, you are entitled to ask for a copy of the footage.
- Ask for the contact details of any witnesses to your accident. Your solicitor may contact them later for a statement about how the events unfolded.
- Write down a detailed account of how the accident happened and how your injuries affected your daily life.
- Keep track of all the financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your accident, including receipts for medical bills, travel expenses, additional accommodation and reservations you missed due to your injuries.
Your solicitor will use the available evidence to assess liability and build a strong case. They will also work on your behalf to gather everything you need to make a hotel accident claim.
Your solicitor will also get in touch with the party you hold liable for your injuries and try to negotiate the best hotel accident compensation on your behalf. If they deny responsibility, you may have to issue court proceedings and argue your claim before a judge. It rarely comes to this, as going to trial can get very expensive, and an out-of-court settlement is preferable to both parties.
To start your hotel injury claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How much compensation could I get for a hotel accident?
Every hotel accident claim is different, and the amount of compensation you might be entitled to will depend on the details of your case, such as the type and extent of your injuries.
Your solicitor will carefully consider how your accident affected aspects of your life to calculate a fair settlement. If you have to make your claim abroad, they may seek advice from a foreign solicitor to assess the value of your claim.
In every hotel injury claim, the compensation award falls into two parts:
Special damages for relevant financial losses and expenses, such as:
- Medical expenses for medication, hospital stay and interventions.
- Long-term medical expenses such as physical therapy and psychological counselling.
- Adaptations to your home or vehicle if you were left with a permanent disability.
- Cost of care and assistance with daily tasks during recovery.
- Travel expenses to medical and legal appointments, whether by car, taxi or public transport.
- The cost of any reservation fees you were unable to attend due to your injuries.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to work.
General damages awarded for the physical and psychological effects of the accident, which may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical scarring and disfigurement
- Psychological and emotional trauma
- Mental or physical impairment
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
In the UK, the compensation award for general damages is calculated by referring to the guidelines published by the Judicial College. According to their guidelines, you could be entitled to receive:
- Up to £27,760 for mild leg injuries such as simple fractures and soft tissue injuries with complete recovery
- Up to £11,730 for minor knee injuries such as soft tissue damage, lacerations or bruising, with complete recovery within a few months
- £4,780 to £11,330 for moderately severe hand injuries such as penetrating wounds, deep lacerations or soft tissue damage
- £16,100-£25,750 for a wrist injury leading to a permanent disability
- £22,130 to £30,910 for moderate back injuries that require surgery and cause some degree of disability
- £14,690 to £30,050 for moderately severe elbow injuries that result in permanent restricted movement and mobility issues
- £1,760 to £11,200 for minor head injuries such as lacerations or skull fractures that require some medical treatment but involve no brain injury
- £10,000 to £28,250 for mild concussions causing some long-term effects
- £14,380 to £40,410 for a moderate brain injury that may cause long-term concentration or memory problems
- £264,650 to £379,100 for very severe brain damage leaving the victim in need of full-time care and assistance
- Around £4,380 for mental anguish
- Up to £94,470 for severe post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the accident
After carefully assessing your hotel accident claim, your solicitor should be able to tell you how much compensation you could expect for your injuries. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
How long do I have to make a hotel accident claim?
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years to make a hotel accident claim in the UK, starting from:
- The date of your accident
- The date of knowledge of an injury or illness
As a general rule, the sooner you speak to a solicitor, the easier it will be to gather evidence for the case and talk to witnesses. This step of the claiming process can take at least three months, so most solicitors will not accept a claim with less than half a year left to claim.
If you do not take legal action within the time limit, your case becomes statute-barred, and the court will no longer accept your claim, even if it has merit.
There are several exceptions to the three-year time limit to claim hotel accident compensation:
- In child injury claims, a parent or another litigation friend can claim on behalf of the victim at any time before they turn 18. Afterwards, the child will have until their 21st birthday to take legal action themselves.
- There is no time limit to claim compensation for a victim who lacks the mental capacity to take legal action due to a pre-existing condition or a traumatic injury caused by the hotel accident. The three-year limitation period only starts if the victim recovers their intellectual ability.
- If you want to pursue compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), you must start a claim within two years after a criminal assault.
- If a family member suffered a fatal injury in a hotel accident, you could claim within three years after they passed away, or you received the results of an autopsy.
If you must make a hotel accident claim abroad, the time limit can vary considerably from country to country:
- In Spain, the time limit to make a claim is usually one year after an accident
- In France and Japan, you generally have ten years to start a personal injury claim
- In Ireland and Canada, you usually have two years to bring a compensation claim
- In Belgium and the Netherlands, claims must be brought within five years after an accident
However, under the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984, both the UK and the foreign country’s time limit may be considered when you make a hotel injury claim for an accident that happened abroad. You can learn what time limit might apply to your case by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
Can I make a hotel injury claim on behalf of my child?
If the victim of a hotel accident is a child, a parent or another adult must claim on their behalf. To become a litigation friend for your child, you must apply with the court, providing evidence that:
- You can represent your child fairly and competently
- You have no conflict of interest with the victim
Your role as a litigation friend ends once the child turns 18 or if the claim concludes, and your responsibilities include:
- Attend court hearings, if necessary
- Approve and sign legal documents
- Pay any fees requested by the court
- Consider any compensation offers and make decisions about the claim
- Take legal advice and give directions to your solicitor
- Make sure that your child attends all medical appointments
All child injury claims must go through an Infant Approval Hearing in court. A judge will consider all the available evidence and decide if they got a fair settlement for their injuries.
Although you can make a hotel accident claim on behalf of your child, you cannot access the compensation award. Instead, the money will be held in a court bank account or a personal injury trust until the child turns 18. At this point, the settlement plus any extra interest will be released to them.
Your solicitor can help you apply for the early release of some of the funds. The court may allow you access to some of the funds if this will benefit the child, for example, to cover medical or educational expenses that you cannot afford otherwise.