Going on holiday abroad is the highlight of the year for many people across the UK. Whether travelling with family, friends or flying solo, you deserve to enjoy your time away and be safe from injury or illness. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If your tour operator breached their duty of care towards you and you suffered an accident or illness, you might be entitled to make a package holiday claim.
Many holiday accidents could lead to a compensation claim, including slips, trips and falls, swimming pool accidents, food poisoning and assaults. The solicitors we work with have extensive experience in dealing with these types of claims and can help you secure the holiday compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
To find out if your case has merit, call 0800 678 1410 or use our online claim form for a free consultation with a legal adviser. If you have grounds to start a claim, they will offer you a 100% No Win No Fee agreement, so there are no upfront costs and no financial risk to you if your case fails.
What is a package holiday?
A package holiday is a travel arrangement where various components are sold together at an inclusive price. These may include transport, accommodation, food and other possible services. It is typically offered by tour operators or travel agencies such as TUI, and Jet2Holidays, providing convenience and ease of booking.
The package holiday usually includes a set itinerary and a fixed price. It offers a bundled solution for individuals or groups looking to have a planned holiday experience without needing to organise each component separately.
In the context of personal injury claims, a package holiday refers to a pre-arranged combination of at least two services. They may include transportation and accommodation or accommodation and other tourist services like vehicle rental or entrance to an amusement park. These services are sold at an inclusive price or as part of a single contract.
The holiday you booked is generally considered a package holiday if:
- The seller has used the term package or a similar one in your contract;
- They offered a total price for multiple services;
- You bought separate services from different providers through linked online bookings;
- You have booked part of your holiday by clicking on a link from a company you have already booked with within 24 hours of the first and without having to give your details again.
What are the responsibilities of tour operators?
A tour operator is a company that plans, organises and arranges travel packages and services for individuals or groups. They typically offer holidays that include transportation, accommodation, activities, and other services to provide a complete travel experience. Tour operators and other holiday providers have several responsibilities to ensure the safety and satisfaction of their customers, including:
Duty of care
They have a duty of care to their customers, which means taking reasonable steps to ensure their safety and well-being during the holiday.
Health and safety
Holiday providers are responsible for ensuring safe and hygienic accommodation, transportation, and facilities. They should regularly inspect and maintain these services to reduce any potential risks to your health and safety.
Tour operators must provide accurate and comprehensive information about the holiday package. That includes details about the destination, hotel, activities, and potential risks or hazards.
Compliance with regulations
They must follow relevant regulations and laws governing the travel and tourism industry. That includes adhering to health and safety standards, consumer protection laws, and any specific rules related to the destination.
Holiday providers must fulfil their obligations as outlined in the terms and conditions of the holiday package. That includes providing the promised services, accommodations, and agreed-upon activities.
Assistance and support
In case of any issues or emergencies during the holiday, they should provide appropriate help and support to their customers. This can include helping with medical emergencies, arranging alternative accommodation or transportation, or resolving complaints or disputes.
It is essential to note that the specific responsibilities of holiday companies may vary depending on the laws and regulations of the country where the holiday is booked and the type of holiday package involved.
If you had an accident because your tour operator has failed to uphold their duties, you might be entitled to make a holiday accident claim for compensation.
Can I make a package holiday claim?
If you were injured during your holiday abroad, you might be eligible to claim package holiday compensation under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations Act 2018. The most straightforward way to find out whether you can claim is through a free consultation with a legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 or requesting a call back.
To be eligible for compensation, you must typically meet the following conditions:
- Your booking must qualify as a package holiday under the relevant laws and regulations. A package holiday typically involves combining at least two travel services that are pre-arranged and sold at an inclusive price.
- There must be evidence of a breach of contract or negligence from the tour operator that has caused you an injury and other potential losses. Examples may include failure to provide the promised services, inadequate accommodation, unsafe transportation, or other risks to your health and safety.
- It is essential to start your claim within the specified time limit. In the UK, the time limit for making a package holiday claim is usually within three years from the date of the incident or when you became aware of the issue.
If you fulfil these requirements, the solicitors we work with will offer you a No Win No Fee agreement. This way, you can start a package holiday claim without paying any upfront fees. Furthermore, there will be no financial risk to you if your case is ultimately unsuccessful.
What to do if you have an accident on a package holiday
If you or a family member are injured on holiday, there are several steps you should take following your accident. These will ensure you have proof of what happened and ease the potential difficulties involved with making a package holiday injury claim at a later date:
- Seek immediate medical attention to have your injuries assessed and treated for the best chance of recovery. A copy of your medical report and doctor’s notes will serve as significant evidence in your claim;
- Notify your tour operator or the holiday representative about what happened as soon as possible. Provide them with all the relevant details, including the date, time, location, and nature of the accident;
- Take photos of the accident scene, injuries, or any hazardous conditions that may have contributed to the incident. These may include spillages, faulty equipment or poor hygiene or maintenance;
- If there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information. Your solicitor might contact them later for a statement if you want to claim package holiday compensation;
- Keep a record of all communication with the tour operator, holiday representative, or any other relevant parties. Note down the names of the individuals you spoke to, the dates and times of the conversations, and a summary of what you discussed;
- If you were involved in a road traffic accident, note down the licence plate and insurance details of the other party;
- Save any receipts or invoices for expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills or extra accommodation. These documents will be necessary to support your package holiday claim.
If you had an accident on a package holiday, consider seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer with experience in package holiday claims. You can call 0800 678 1410 for a free case assessment today or enter your details in our online claim form to receive a call back.
Can I make a package holiday compensation claim under UK law?
If you or a loved one suffered an accident on a package holiday, you might be able to get compensation for your pain, suffering, and other related losses. If your tour operator is UK based, it is possible and usually better to seek damages in the UK. However, there are situations when pursuing your claim abroad may result in more compensation. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on the best course of action at the outset of your case.
In the unlikely event your package operator is not based in the UK, it may be necessary to pursue a package holiday claim abroad. Seeking compensation abroad can be more complex, as you may need to navigate different legal systems, language barriers, and cultural differences.
In such cases, it is crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced holiday claims solicitor with expertise in international claims. They will know how the legal system works in different countries and can guide you through the process, representing your interests and helping you navigate the complexities of an international holiday claim.
You should note that most cases settle out of court, even if you must seek damages abroad. If your claim goes to trial, your solicitor may be able to represent you, as the vast majority of cases do not need a personal court attending.
Common accidents leading to a package holiday injury claim
Common accidents that can lead to a package holiday claim include:
These can be due to hazardous conditions such as wet floors, uneven surfaces or poorly maintained walkways.
Common causes of pool accidents include slips and trips around the pool area, diving accidents or inadequate supervision resulting in drowning or near-drowning incidents. Contaminated swimming pools at hotels and water parks can also cause illnesses and sickness bugs.
Such illnesses can be due to poor hygiene, contaminated food or water, or inadequate food storage and preparation. This could be in hotels, restaurants, cafes, theme parks and other venues while on holiday.
These can involve accidents during transfers, coach or bus trips, or other modes of transport arranged as part of the package holiday.
Sporting or recreational activities
You could also claim for injuries during organised activities such as water sports, skiing, hiking, or adventure sports. These could be due to inadequate safety measures, faulty equipment or improper supervision.
Such accidents can be caused by defective equipment, inadequate maintenance, insufficient security, or accidents in common areas such as staircases or elevators.
Violent crimes like theft, assault, or harassment can occur during holidays, particularly in crowded tourist areas. If a hotel, restaurant or another place booked by your tour operator has failed to ensure your safety, they might be liable for compensation.
This list is not exhaustive, and other types of accidents may give rise to a package holiday injury claim. If you have experienced any harm during your holiday, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor. They will assess the circumstances of your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation.
Time limits to claim package holiday accident compensation
If you suffered an accident on a package holiday and want to make a claim against the tour operator, you usually have three years to start a package holiday accident claim. The time begins to run either:
- On the date of the accident that caused you damages
- On the date your injury or illness was diagnosed, known as the date of knowledge
Based on the circumstances of your injury, there are some exceptions that might apply to the three-year claim limitation date. For example:
- Claims on behalf of children can be made by a parent or legal guardian before the child’s 18th birthday, regardless of when the accident occurred. Once the child turns 18, they have another three years to start legal proceedings if no claim was made on their behalf.
- There are no time limits for a litigation friend to claim on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to handle their case.
- Under the Athens Convention 1974, which applies to accidents at sea, the general limitation period to start a claim is two years.
- You have two years to claim compensation for an accident that took place on an international flight, according to the Montreal Convention.
If you have to make a holiday claim abroad, the time limit can vary considerably between countries. For example, the standard time limit is one year in Spain and Thailand, two years in Ireland and Canada and up to five years in the Netherlands and Belgium.
In any case, you should never wait too close to the limitation date to claim compensation for an injury while on a package holiday abroad. Your solicitor will need a reasonable amount of time to gather evidence and build your case. Delaying your claim could cause you to miss a crucial deadline and the chance to recover damages.
How much is a package holiday claim worth?
Each case is unique, so there is no set amount of package holiday compensation awarded in successful claims. Your solicitor will determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to by considering two types of damages:
General damages are awarded for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenities caused by the holiday provider’s negligence or breach of duty. Their value is typically determined by previous cases and the Judicial College guidelines. You can visit our online compensation calculator page to get an idea about how much you could receive based on the type and severity of your injury.
General damages will take into account the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Inability to engage in a hobby or social activity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical and mental impairment
Special damages refer to the specific financial losses and expenses incurred after an injury or illness. They aim to compensate you for the measurable and quantifiable costs you have suffered. Here are some examples of special damages that may be recovered in a package holiday claim:
- The cost of medical treatments, hospital stays, surgeries, and any other necessary medical care;
- Travel expenses for medical appointments or transportation to and from the holiday destination;
- Income lost as a direct result of the injury or illness. It includes any past and future loss of earnings, bonuses, or promotions that would have been reasonably expected if not for the incident;
- Expenses related to rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy or counselling;
- The cost of adapting your home or vehicle to accommodate any injuries or disabilities caused by the accident on a package holiday.
If you believe you may have a valid package holiday injury claim, use our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. They can let you know if you are entitled to compensation and answer any questions you may have about the claims process.