Accident or Illness When on Holiday?
Our Guide on How to Make a Claim
British holiday season is slowing down, with many of us swapping the doom and gloom of the ‘Great British Summer’ for sunny beaches and beautiful cities the world over.
Yet, the blissful ideal of a summer holiday may be interrupted by unexpected crises.
Whether you’ve been served up some dodgy chicken, suffered a motoring collision or cut your foot on a loose pool tile – Your special holiday may have suffered accordingly.
In a quintessentially British fashion, we often accept that sometimes things just don’t go to plan.
In fact, personal injuries (including food poisoning) that lead to medical expenses, transport costs or a loss of enjoyment of the holiday may be due significant compensation.
Travel companies recognise this. They often contact victims before they’ve had a chance to contact a lawyer, knowing that we tend to lowball the true extent of our legally entitled legislation.
Depending on the where, why and when – your claim’s viability and size may vary tremendously.
We outline your legal rights in five personal injury claim hotspots: AirBnB, package holidays, cruises, hotels and airlines.
The inherently informal nature of AirBnB’s business model means, legally, things are a little different. Unlike bed and breakfasts and hotels, for example, Airbnb rentals aren’t required to be inspected or even to maintain aspects like cleanliness. Instead, the responsibility and liability are offloaded to the hosts themselves.
Airbnb says on its website: “Airbnb has no control over the conduct of hosts and disclaims all liability.” Anything that happens to you within the property is the responsibility of the host.
If you are injured or ill during a ‘package holiday’ (any holiday where travel and accommodation are combined with one all-inclusive price, often alongside other services such as food and drinks), the tour operator is liable for the services provided, including the quality of the hotel and food included in your price.
Under the 1992 Package Travel Regulations your package holiday provider is responsible for any accident as a result of any negligence. Providing your personal injury claim is filed within three years, you are entitled to compensation under the regulations.
With cruise ships growing in size year by year, the opportunities for accidents and illness will no doubt follow suit. Stories of cruise ships hit by diseases such as norovirus are becoming commonplace in the press.
Yet, when you board any vessel, your health and safety is legally under the responsibility of the ship operators. Even if an accident or illness happens at sea, international conventions are in place to protect your rights and allow you to claim against the people at fault. The 1974 Athens Convention ensures any fault of negligence is covered and has to be proved, but in some circumstances liability against the carrier is strict.
The time limit for bringing a claim under this Convention is only two years so legal advice needs to be pursued without delay.
As an ‘invitee’ under premises liability law, hotels have a general duty to exercise reasonable care in operating its business and protecting guests, therefore a guest is legally entitled to a high amount of protection.
When a guest is injured due to the carelessness or neglect of a hotel or its employees, the hotel may be liable in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. In order to hold a hotel legally responsible for injuries that occurred on the premises you’ll need to establish that the hotel was somehow negligent.
That means showing that the hotel breached a duty owed to a person who was injured on the premises, and that the breach of duty caused the injury. When a hotel does not inspect the premises, keep the premises reasonably safe, or fails to warn of dangerous conditions, it has breached its duty to guests. For example, when a hotel does not thoroughly clean its sheets, and bed bugs infect the bed, the hotel has breached its duty.
It is also worth mentioning that hotels are also liable for employee conduct, including any harmful actions performed “within the scope of employment”.
Despite being 37,000 feet above the nearest court, airlines are also subject to international regulation governing personal injury. The 1999 Montreal Convention on international air travel stipulates that if you’re injured on board an aircraft – either on the ground or in the air – then the airline is required to pay you compensation. Regardless of whether it’s their fault or yours.
Accidents on planes due to turbulence, falling luggage, food poisoning from in-flight meals or crashes are therefore the responsibility of the tour operator. In such cases you have up to two years to make your claim.
Think you have a claim?
Whatever your current situation, where you have suffered due to the negligence of others we advise you to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to avoid losing the opportunity to pursue a holiday accident claim. No claim is too small or too large.
The specialist lawyers at Slater Heelis have years of experience in handling claims for accidents abroad, and will quickly get yours moving. We understand that you want to resume your life as soon as possible, and we are here to make that happen.