For many of us it’s time to pack the sun cream and sandals and head off to sunnier climes.
However, what should be a time of fun and relaxation can turn sour if injury or illness strikes while you’re away. Here’s some guidance if it happens to you.
What to Do When You’re There.
If you’re taken ill whilst abroad and this is the result of someone’s negligence, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. In these circumstances, try to make a record of the circumstances which led to your condition by reporting it to the staff or your travel representative at the time. If you can, find out if other holidaymakers have also been taken ill and keep a record of their names and home addresses. Keep a record of any visits to, or from, a doctor and any expenses incurred for medicines or hospital visits. If you have an accident, take names and addresses of witnesses and if possible take photographs of the area where the accident happened. Make a note in the travel agent’s accident book and again keep receipts as evidence of prescription costs and travelling expenses.
UK Versus Abroad.
For UK holidays, an accident, injury or illness claim could be dealt with in the same way as other personal injury claims. With foreign holidays, you are only able to bring a claim against the holiday company if the holiday was booked as part of a package through a UK travel agent. Your experience would also need to be the fault of the travel agent or their representatives, which will typically not include activities outside of their endorsed programme. Strict time limits apply for making a personal injury claim, with the standard period being within three years. However, shorter limitation periods may apply if your accident occurred whilst you were travelling on an aeroplane, boat, cruise ship or an international train, or if you have an accident abroad and your holiday does not form part of a package holiday.
European Health Insurance Card.
To make sure you are covered for treatment while you are away, you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel – this is the new version of the E111 and is free online or at the Post Office. The EHIC lets you get state healthcare in all European Economic Area countries including Switzerland at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It is not an alternative to travel insurance and won’t cover any private medical healthcare or costs such as being flown back to the UK. Therefore, we recommend you having both an EHIC and private travel insurance.
Your First Port Of Call.
In all cases, the best advice is to keep as much evidence of your condition as possible and report it to your travel agent. Then, as soon as you are able, speak to a qualified solicitor who can help you make the right decisions with progressing any claim.
The author of this article was Karen Kenyon, Solicitor, Harold Stock & Co Solicitors.
For further information contact: Karen Kenyon Telephone: 01457 835597.