Holiday Injuries: How to Make a Claim

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Having an accident or getting injured is the last thing that you want when you are on holiday. It’s not just the pain and discomfort, but it’s also the stress of getting medical assistance in a foreign country with systems and authorities that you are completely unfamiliar with. The good news is that if you do go through the pain of an injury while on holiday, you should be entitled to make a compensation claim. Read on for more details on the steps you need to take to make a successful claim.

Understand whether you have the right to claim

Any time that you have an accident on holiday and someone else is to blame, then you have the right to make personal injury claims. Every country has different individual laws around these sorts of accidents but if you book the holiday as part of a package (where two or more elements of the holiday are booked through the same company e.g. flights, accommodation etc.) then you can claim compensation. This is because this is governed by the Package Travel Regulations act which grants protections to those travelling through package providers. If you booked each element of the holiday individually then you would need to make a claim against the person or people responsible.

What kind of accidents can you make a claim for?

When you book a package holiday through a travel firm, the company is taking on the responsibility that everything involved in the holiday will be safe and well maintained, and appropriate care will be taken. So if you then suffer an injury for almost anything where you were not at fault, it is possible for you to claim compensation. This could be anything from falling over on a poorly maintained walkway at the hotel to suffering with food poisoning. If the injury or accident was not your fault, then you have the right to claim – it’s not just that the incident may have ruined your holiday but it could also be the case that it could affect you when you get home too.

Report the accident while on holiday

So if the worst does occur and you have suffered an injury you need to take the right steps to resolve the situation. The first move is to report the incident as soon as possible. You should tell the hotel management (or trip organiser if on an excursion) as well as the package company’s representative. If there is no representative on site then get in contact with the package organisers office back in the UK. The incident should be recorded in an accident book, and it is worth taking a copy of the report for yourself.

See a doctor

As soon as possible after the incident has occurred you should see a doctor. Firstly, you need to take your immediate health into consideration and get seen to as soon as possible, but it’s also a good idea to have a medical examination as soon as possible after the event. If you are going to make a compensation claim then you will certainly need a medical report that details the accident and any injuries you have suffered. Without one it would be very difficult to prove that the injury was a result of the accident.

Keep evidence

Getting the doctor’s report is not the only piece of evidence that you’ll need to gather. You want to make it as easy as possible for when you come to make a claim, so you need to take your own records as soon as possible after the incident. Start by taking photos of the area where the accident took place to show what caused the problem. It’s also a good idea to get the names and addresses of any witnesses to the incident and who would be happy to make a statement about it. Finally, it’s worth taking down your own meticulous notes of how it all happened as soon as possible. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget key details if you don’t make a note of them very soon after the event.

Take legal advice

When you return to the UK, it’s worth taking legal advice as soon as possible. If you talk to a solicitor with experience in holiday injury claims they will be able to provide with assistance and advice on whether this is something that you would be able to take forward. Holiday injury claims can be very complicated, but many companies will be willing to take on your case on a no-win no-fee basis, which means you’ll never have to lose any money, because all of the costs will be recouped from the other side. You can then take legal action to get the compensation that you deserve.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.