We all look forward to our summer holidays. It is a time when traditionally we all let our hair down. Sadly we can often throw caution to the wind and place ourselves in risky situations that we would not do at home. Alternatively, accidents can – and do – happen and these can be even worse when they take place many miles from home.
If you are abroad then the thought of bringing a claim for your injuries can be somewhat daunting; you are in a foreign country, unaware of the laws and often would not know who to turn to for advice.
However, help is at hand but only if you bought the trip as part of a package holiday. There are regulations that you can rely on and these will allow you to return home and to bring a claim against the tour operator with an English solicitor.
A package means the pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following components when sold as an inclusive price:
3. Other tourist services which account for a significant proportion of the package.
The holiday doesn’t even need to be abroad as the regulations simply specify that the holiday should be sold in England or Wales. The package does have to cover a period of more than 24 hours or include an overnight stay. It could therefore include an overnight theatre trip to London.
One thing to remember though is that any claim brought under the package regulations has to be decided in accordance with the local standards prevailing at the time. The British way of doing something is irrelevant if the accident occurs abroad. If the practice would not have been acceptable in an English hotel, that will not suffice. It has to be shown that the matter complained of, did not meet the standards where the accident occurred. A classic example is the provision of safety glass. English standards will not be the same as those in Spain or Greece.
The regulations mean that you do not need to prove negligence against the tour operator and so the traveller is in a slightly better position than the travel agent. It is not necessary to prove that the tour operator knew or ought to have known of the facts and matters that caused the accident. If the accident is at a consequence of the fault of the servant or agent of a foreign part of the holiday then you can bring a case against the package holiday provider. The advantage of this is that you can sue the package holiday provider and you often have more knowledge of the facts and circumstances than them.
Please do however gather as much information as you can in resort and bring it home with you. This could include photographs of the accident site, travel representatives reports, receipts for treatment occurred abroad, medical notes from the foreign doctor and of course keep your booking documentation.
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