Accidents abroad - can I claim?
As we enter June, we also enter the holiday season, that wonderful time of year that sees hundreds of thousands of British people jet off to warmer climates around the world to enjoy a few, well deserved weeks off from work and other stresses of modern day life.
While it's common to take out travel insurance to cover those unforeseen events, the last thing you'll be expecting on your holiday is to suffer a personal injury such as a road traffic accident, food poisoning or a trip or slip in the hotel. No-one should have their holiday ruined, but unfortunately, these accidents can and occasionally do happen. But fret not, even though the accident happened in a foreign country, you could still make a personal injury claim here in the United Kingdom.
Am I entitled to make a personal injury claim?
In general, the law around personal injury states that claims are handled in the country where the accident occurred, but there are a number mitigating factors which make claiming for an accident abroad possible.
If you’re abroad on a holiday, our solicitors would be able to make a personal injury claim here in the UK providing that the holiday was booked and paid for as part of a package deal through a UK-based travel agent – the accident would also need to be the fault of the agent or any of their representatives. For example, if you contracted food poisoning from food cocked in the hotel, you would be able to make a claim. Likewise, if you tripped and fell because of a poorly maintained walkway in the hotel grounds, you would be entitled to claim. On the other hand, if you suffered a trip or slip in a local town, it would be very hard to make a personal injury claim here in the UK.
We understand that some people go abroad for work, and as long as the company you work for is UK based and your accident was as a result of their negligence, you could make a personal injury claim against your employer. Even if you work for a non UK-based employer, you could still bring a personal injury claim here in the UK, but you would need to seek out specialist legal advice.
If you suffer a road traffic accident abroad that wasn't your fault, it is possible to make a personal injury claim against the guilty party, but in some countries it is mandatory to seek medical attention immediately after the accident to be able to make a compensation claim.
I've been injured abroad! What should I do now?
As with personal injury claims in the UK, it's best to collect as much evidence as possible to prove that another person or company was responsible for your injuries. Try to collect as much photographic evidence as you can and try to gather the names and address of any witnesses. If you visited the hospital, it's important to retain any discharge letters and treatment receipts. You should also keep all travel documentation and any other paperwork relating to the holiday and subsequent accident. It will also help your claim if you report your accident and injury to your travel representative at the time so that they can keep a log in their accident database.
Like personal injury claims in the UK, there are strict time limits in place which you have to adhere to. You have 3 years from the date of the accident to make a claim, any longer and the claim process is much harder, but not impossible. So, if you've suffered an injury more than 3 years ago and have the required documentation, please still come forward as it may be possible to win you the compensation you deserve.
When making a claim for an accident abroad, it may be necessary to pursue the claim in courts outside of those under the jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales. This could mean that different court costs apply, but we will advise you on all potential costs before any charges are incurred.