It's the time of year when many of us will be preparing to depart on much needed summer holidays. Although no one wants to think of their dream trip going wrong, with 4.4 million Brits reporting an injury abroad between 2012-2015, knowing your rights and what to do if you suffer an injury, illness or accident on holiday could be just as important as remembering your passport.
Insurance is essential
According to a recent study by the insurance provider Admiral, 3,000 Britons per week claim for emergency medical treatment whilst on holiday. It is therefore staggering that 1 in 4 people have said they would travel abroad without insurance.
If you are travelling outside of the EU, private insurance is particularly important as you do not have the protection of the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). Nevertheless, you should always take out private health insurance even for holidays in the EU, as an EHIC won't always cover the entire cost of your treatment and certainly doesn't cover the cost of getting you back home. The effect of Brexit on EHICs is something that is surrounded in uncertainty and may be something to bear in mind when booking trips far in advance.
Always check your policy before you travel for details on time limits for notifying the provider, excess payments and claim limits and when purchasing insurance, aim to get the most comprehensive cover available.
What do I do if I am in an accident or become ill?
If you or someone you are travelling with has become ill or sustained an injury, as well as seeking medical assistance as soon as possible, you should also try to record and document the incident. For example, keep receipts of taxi fares to and from the hospital and any medication purchased and copies of any paperwork given by the hospital. It may also be helpful to take clear photographs of the scene of an accident and make notes about what has happened so that you do not forget crucial details.
Package holidays – all-inclusive food, drink and…. Compensation?
If you booked a package holiday, your accident was not your fault and it happened at your hotel or on a trip provided as part of your package, you will have protection under the Package Travel Regulations. This means that when you return to the UK, you have a right to claim compensation for loss of enjoyment of the holiday, travel and medical expenses and loss of earnings if your injury or illness prevents you from returning to work.
What if you're an independent traveller?
If you are travelling as an independent traveller or your accident happens away from your hotel or package excursion, any claims you make for compensation may need to be made in the country that the accident occurred. As time limits for bringing a claim vary from country to country and foreign legal processes can be confusing, it is vital to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
How can a solicitor help with my personal injury claim?
If you or a friend or family member is taken ill or injured whilst abroad, it can be a very stressful and emotional time. A solicitor can give you guidance on how to return home, where you can pursue a claim, the procedures involved, the likely cost and any time limits that may apply. Obtaining legal advice as soon as possible will ensure that you or your loved one can focus on recovery.
Finally, although holidays are a time to relax and be care-free, common holiday activities such as water sports, rock-climbing and quad biking (and perhaps less obviously; henna tattooing and hair braiding) should be approached with some caution and prior research. Disclaimers and waivers are common place in many for all of these activities, however it is important to be aware of anything you are signing and to fully consider the risks before taking part.
If you have a personal injury and would like to discuss your individual circumstances in further detail, contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.