This article was updated in February 2020.
Having a holiday to look forward to is something special. The excitement of counting down the days can be almost as invigorating as the holiday itself. But what if, after all that anticipation, the trip is ruined by an accident and you are injured when you get there? Your long-awaited holiday has just been turned into a nightmare.
If you have been injured on holiday, through no fault of your own, you do not have to just accept it. Whilst resorting to legal proceedings cannot reinstate your holiday the way it should have been, it can give you much-deserved compensation for the ordeal you have been through.
Suffering a personal injury whilst on holiday can happen in many different ways, unfortunately. The most common examples are:
- Slipping, falling, or tripping over whilst at a resort or hotel, or whilst travelling (such as on a plane or cruise ship)
- Road traffic accidents (whether you were a driver, passenger or pedestrian)
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could claim compensation for:
- The injury itself
- The loss of enjoyment from your holiday caused by the injury
- Lost earnings (if your injury prevented you from working for a time after the holiday)
- Other expenses associated with the injury (such as any medical or travel expenses you had to pay)
If you would like to talk to an expert personal injury solicitor about your situation, contact Truth Legal today to see how we can help you.
Claiming for an injury on a package holiday
If your accident occurred whilst you were on a package holiday, many of your legal rights will be set out in The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. These ‘Package Travel Regulations’ generally allow you to make a claim over problems with the holiday against the tour operator through which you booked you booked it. This also includes injuries sustained whilst you were on your holiday.
To successfully make an injury claim, you must prove:
- You were on a package holiday
- You suffered an injury that was not your fault
- The injury was caused by the tour operator or their representatives (these representatives can include hotel staff, coach drivers, tour guides, airline and cruise personnel etc)
The Package Travel Regulations mean that the tour operator is responsible for all parts of the holiday supplied, and is under an obligation to do so with reasonable care and skill. So even if the tour operator and its immediate staff did not directly cause your injury, it can still be held responsible if its representatives did so.
For example, if you were injured on a package holiday after tripping on a hotel’s badly maintained floor, you could make a claim for compensation against the tour operator with whom you booked your holiday. The hotel would be directly responsible, but as they are representatives of the tour operator, the latter would have overall responsibility.
What counts as a package holiday?
The Package Travel Regulations provide a detailed definition of what is meant by a package holiday but, generally speaking, it covers what most people would think of when imagining a package holiday, i.e. two or more travel services (such as flights, accommodation, car rental etc) combined together and sold for one inclusive price by a tour operator. Crucially, the package holiday arrangement gives you a contract with the tour operator and they become responsible for each part of the package.
Injuries suffered on a non-package holiday or ‘linked travel arrangement’
If you were not on a package holiday, matters can be more complicated. As there is no tour operator to claim from, it is likely you would have to bring a claim against the party directly responsible for causing your injury.
If, for example, you slipped and fell on a hotel’s stairs, the most likely remedies open to you would be: to claim through your travel insurance (if you have it), and/or to bring a claim against the hotel. This in itself is unlikely to cause a problem when the incident occurred in the UK, but if the hotel was abroad it may mean making a claim using that country’s legal system – which may have very different laws from our own.
Similarly, a holiday defined as a ‘linked travel arrangement’ offers fewer legal protections than package holidays and may also mean claiming for an injury through travel insurance and/or from the responsible party. The definition of a linked travel arrangement is quite complicated but generally the arrangement involves buying two or more travel services (e.g. flights, car rental, accommodation) through the same travel company, but where you pay for each item separately and have separate contracts for each. However, linked travel arrangements offer greater financial protection than non-package holidays – in the event that the travel company goes bust.
If any of the above applies in your situation, we would strongly recommend contacting us to seek advice on your position. Other legal avenues may exist and, to advise you fully, it is crucial that we know your case’s circumstances.
‘No Win, No Fee’ package holiday accident claims
You may be concerned about how to fund a personal injury claim. To ease these worries, Truth Legal endeavours to conduct claims under a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement wherever possible. The agreement means that, in almost all situations, you will not have to pay our fees if we do not succeed in securing compensation for you.
If we are successful, some of our fees will be deducted from your compensation award. Most fees, however, are recovered from the other party (or, more commonly, their insurers). This is how ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreements usually operate.
Funding arrangements will always be discussed with you at the start of your claim so you know exactly where you stand.
How long do I have to make a package holiday injury claim?
All personal injury claims are subject to legal time limits. If too much time has elapsed from your injury, you may be prevented from making a claim.
In general, you have 3 years from the date of your accident in which to either settle your claim or begin court proceedings. This can run out quicker than you might think. Additionally, you may have a shorter time limit if you are claiming for a personal injury sustained on a flight or whilst you were at sea. If you are relying on certain international ‘conventions’ as the basis for your claim (such as the Montreal Convention 1999 for injuries which happened whilst flying) you may only have 2 years in which to make a claim, running from the date of disembarkation.
The time limit for your case can be affected by other circumstances as well, so it is important to seek advice as soon as possible if you are considering a claim. Even if you believe you have missed the deadline, it is worth speaking to us to see if anything can be done.
How long do package holiday accident claims take?
The length of time a claim will take depends on many different factors. This makes it difficult to say how long a package holiday claim will take, especially at the start of the claim.
For example, your injuries, your recovery time, and whether aspects of the case are in dispute, can all change the duration of a case. If you have suffered severe injuries, it may be a long time before you recover and it can also take longer to get the detailed medical evidence needed to support and value your injuries.
Making a package holiday accident claim with Truth Legal
You should always instruct specialist personal injury solicitors to act on your behalf when making a personal injury claim. If you entrust your case to our experienced team of solicitors you can be sure that your claim is in safe hands. We are personal injury specialists of the highest integrity, committed to recovering compensation for everyone who is entitled to it.
Truth Legal has offices in London, Manchester and Harrogate. We are more than willing to sit down with you for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss if there are any ways in which we can help you.
If you have suffered from an injury whilst on a package holiday, contact us today to begin your claim and secure the compensation you deserve.