Package holidays should be about relaxing in the sunshine, enjoying the local food and drink and getting away from the stresses of the daily grind. Sadly, accidents can happen no matter where in the world you are, and suffering an injury abroad is likely to seriously impact on your enjoyment of the remainder of your trip.
However, if you booked a package holiday, you will be protected by special regulations. This means that, if you have an accident that was not your fault, your package holiday organiser (or travel agent, if they put your holiday package together) might be held responsible. It could mean you are entitled to make a personal injury claim in the UK, even if the accident happened overseas.
Before you start seeking legal advice for package holiday injury claims, it is important that you consider the following:
What is a package holiday?
While the rights for independent travellers (those who arrange their flights, accommodation and services separately) are different, package holidays are protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 law. A package holiday needs to feature the following elements:
- Is offered for sale with an all-inclusive price
- Last longer than 24 hours or includes overnight accommodation. This includes package holidays within the UK, too
- Is pre-arranged
It must also include at least two of the following, to be arranged prior to the holiday commencing:
- Transport – this includes air, train, coach, sea etc. (not airport transfers)
- Accommodation – this includes any form of accommodation, including hotels, hostel and campsites
- Other tourist services – such as sightseeing tours, scuba diving, pony trekking or other activity events included as part of the package and offered by the travel agent
Where did the accident take place?
In order for your tour operator to be held responsible for your accident, injury or illness, it needs to have happened at your hotel complex, or during an excursion or holiday service included as part of your package.
For example, if you fall or slip on a poorly-maintained walkway within the hotel grounds, you would be entitled to make a compensation claim against your travel agent. You could also make a claim if you contracted food poisoning after eating hotel food; or if you developed an illness as a result of bad hotel hygiene.
Your organiser probably won’t be held responsible for an accident you had away from your hotel unless it was during an excursion you bought in the UK as part of your package.
To be awarded compensation, you will need to prove that your organiser (or their representatives at the resort) were negligent. This means if your hotel or accommodation was poorly maintained or dangerous, or you were not given proper warning about possible accident risks.
Reporting and recording the accident
Following an injury or accident, it is important that you do the following to support your claim:
- Report the accident as soon as possible to a travel agent representative or hotel management. Ensure it is entered into any available accident book
- If you have travel insurance, inform them that an accident has taken place
- Seek medical assistance as soon as you are able. Ask for a copy of the medical report and keep any receipts for any medical costs incurred
- Make a record of names and addresses of guests who witnessed your accident
- Take photographs of what caused your accident and any injury it caused