As I’m writing this article it is touching 30 degrees outside and I’m hoping that this fine weather will last for a few more weeks. Of course many people will already have booked their main summer holiday, the children break up from school in a couple of weeks and suitcases are being dusted down ready for packing. Thousands of people will travel abroad to find the sun, a sandy beach, and some outdoor pursuits like paragliding, scuba-diving or a speedboat trip.
As downbeat as it sounds it is worth mentioning that the Association of British Travel Agents [ABTA] have highlighted that millions are putting themselves at risk of high medical bills with nearly one in four travellers holidaying abroad without travel insurance. If you’ve booked your holiday as a ‘package tour’ you’ll have some protection under the Package Tour Regulations [PTR] which introduced a right to pursue a claim against a tour provider in the UK as an agent for accidents occurring during a package holiday. The obligation is on the tour operator to make sure the foreign suppliers perform their respective parts of the contract to a reasonable standard.
The definition of a package holiday is such that it must be sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price, be pre-arranged before you leave the UK, and include a minimum of two of the elements of transport, accommodation and other tourist services. Beware though because if you are injured on an excursion, and it wasn’t booked before you left the UK, this will not form part of your package tour and you will not be covered under the Package Tour Regs even if you booked it through your Tour Rep in the resort.
If you’re injured and making a claim against the Tour Operator for negligence and an alleged failure to exercise reasonable care and skill the issue of local standards become very important. For example, if you’re injured because you slipped on the tiles around the swimming pool in the hotel then the legal issue will be whether those tiles conformed to local health & safety standards rather than the standards in the UK. If you’re injured, report it whilst in the resort and take photographs of the scene as this could be crucial evidence.
You cannot cater for every eventuality when you’re abroad so the message is really to plan ahead. Consider travel insurance which offers adequate protection; it’s tedious but read the small print to see exactly what you’re covered for because many policies do not provide repatriation back to the UK in the event of a serious incident, or if they do, it often only covers the person injured and not necessarily the remaining family members. You all want to travel home together.
No-one wants to think about the consequences if they are injured whilst abroad but, unlike many other countries, we do benefit from the Package Tour Regulations. Being careful, and having travel insurance, will help of course but if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer an injury whilst on holiday, and it was caused by the negligence of someone else, specialist legal advice is available. Enjoy your holiday.
Harris Fowler has a team of specialist personal injury solicitors who can offer advice to anyone who suffers a personal injury whilst on holiday both at home and abroad. Free and confidential legal advice is available on 0800 213 214 or visit our website harrisfowler.co.uk
Harris Fowler is a trading name of Harris Fowler Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no. 558271.