Accident in a Public Place*

Holiday Accident Claims*

A holiday should be a time when you can relax and simply get away from your day to day routine. It is no secret that a holiday can be expensive to execute. However, it can become even more expensive for you if you happen to suffer a personal injury* while on holidays abroad.

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A Common Occurrence

Unfortunately, suffering a personal injury* while on holidays abroad is an all too common occurrence. If you have been involved in an accident on holiday or are injured abroad* you may be entitled to pursue legal action. This is provided that the accident was as a result of somebody else’s negligence. Below is our guide to what to do when you have been injured on holidays and are pursuing an international personal injury claim*.

Common Types Holiday Injury Claims*

While on holiday, a person will partake in activities that they would normally not partake in, in their everyday lives. Some of these activities can potentially lead to accidents if one is not careful. 

Is simply being careful enough to avoid an accident on holiday*?

The simple answer is no, because like in many scenarios, it is almost impossible for a person to gauge whether a service provider, activities organiser, or the likes, has exercised extreme caution and care in the provision and delivery of their services. Sometimes it is the absence of care from a service provider (negligence) that leads to an accident on holiday.

Some common examples of a holiday accident/illness claim* are:

  • Food poisoning on holiday as a result of restaurant poor hygiene
  • Illness as a result of contaminated water
  • Injuries suffered as a result of unsafe equipment*
  • Slip or fall in areas such as a swimming pool or sauna*
  • Unsafe / hazardous / dangerous accommodation (holiday apartment complex / resort / hotels)
  • Road traffic accidents or car accident abroad*
  • Skiing / Snowboarding accidents*

Package Holidays

For those who have been injured* while on a package holiday, the thought of returning to the destination where they were injured to deal with a holiday accident claim* is daunting and confusing. Luckily, The Package Holidays and Travel Act 1995 comes into play and provides an avenue whereby a person who was injured on a package holiday in a foreign country can make a holiday accident claim* in Ireland, provided that the holiday was organised by an Irish package holiday provider.

The Injuries Board Assessment

Accident on holiday claims* when on a package holiday provided by an Irish travel agency must be passed through the Injuries Board for assessment before proceeding to settlement or to court. Other accidents that did not happen on a package holiday differ, as the Injuries Board generally does not assess these types of cases. Instead, they issue authorisations as they do not have the power to stop the statute outside of Ireland. For this reason, you should ensure that you instruct a solicitor in Ireland as soon as possible after the accident.

Personal Injury Claims* for Non-nationals Who Are Injured While in Ireland

Whether you are here on holidays, visiting family or friends or just passing through, having an accident and sustaining an injury for any non-national while in Ireland, is a total inconvenience. It is most definitely not part of your travel plans! In many cases, the injured person will not be in Ireland long enough to pursue a personal injury claim * while they are here. Speak with a personal injury solicitor about what to do if you are injured while in Ireland.

Road Traffic Accident Abroad

If you have been involved in a car accident while abroad, the fact that the driver of the car is not resident in Ireland does not affect your right to issue proceedings in Ireland. It is also important to note that the level of damages recovered for the accident may be limited to the damages that you would recover if you issued proceedings in the member state where the accident occurred.

Medical Tourism

‘Medical tourism’ refers to travelling to another country for medical care. It is estimated that up to 750,000 US residents travel abroad for care each year. Many people who travel for care do so because treatment is much cheaper in another country. In addition, a large number of medical tourists are immigrants returning to their home country for care. This has become quite prevalent in Ireland. This can be motivated by ease of communication, familiarity with the health service cost and the availability of family support during recuperation. The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery , dentistry , and heart surgery. In recent years travelling for dental services abroad from Ireland has become popular.

The specific risks of medical tourism depend on the area being visited and the procedures performed, but some general issues have been identified:

  • Communication may be a problem. Receiving care at a facility where you do not speak the language fluently increases the chance that misunderstandings will arise about the care.
  • Medication may be counterfeit or of poor quality in some countries.
  • Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, and resistant bacteria may be more common in other countries.
  • The blood supply in some countries comes primarily from paid donors. It may not be screened, which puts patients at risk of HIV and other infections spread through blood.
  • Flying after surgery increases the risk of blood clots.

Planning Ahead

If you are planning to travel to another country for medical care:

  • See a travel medicine practitioner at least 4–6 weeks before the trip. Discuss general information for healthy travel and specific risks related to the procedure and travel before and after the procedure.
  • Check for the qualifications of the healthcare providers who will be doing the procedure and the credentials of the facility where the procedure will be done.
  • Make sure that you have a written agreement with the health care facility or the group arranging the trip, defining what treatments, supplies, and care are covered by the costs of the trip.
  • Determine what legal actions you can take if anything goes wrong with the procedure. In particular, establish the jurisdiction or country under whose legal system any dispute will become heard. This can be an important consideration in the event of something going wrong and the remedies open to you.
  • If you go to a country where you do not speak the language, determine ahead of time how you will communicate with your doctor and other people who are caring for you.
  • Obtain copies of your medical records, which should describe any allergies you may have.
  • Prepare copies of all your prescriptions and a list of all the medicines you take. Include their brand names, their generic names, manufacturers, and dosages.
  • Arrange for follow-up care with your local healthcare provider before you leave.
  • Before planning “vacation” activities, such as sunbathing, drinking alcohol, swimming, or taking long tours, find out if those activities are permitted after surgery.
  • Get copies of all your medical records before you return home.

What do I do if I'm involved in a holiday accident*?

Following an accident on holiday, there are a number of steps your should follow:

  1. Seek medical attention

    Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after an accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries. Then check if anybody else involved in the accident needs medical attention. If anybody has sustained a serious injury, ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.

    You must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.

  2. Report the accident

    It is important that you report the accident to management. You may be required to assist to fill in an accident form. This is to provide them details of how the accident occurred and details of the injury. You should also request that they preserve any CCTV footage.

  3. Identify any witnesses

    Collect contact details of any witnessess to the accident – their names and contact information.

  4. Document the incident

    It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:

    • How the accident happened, time and date of the accident.
    • Details of any witnesses to the accident (Including staff and other customers); their names, contact information.
    • If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident.
    • Take pictures from different angles of where the accident happened and what caused you to slip, trip or fall.
    • Take pictures of any injuries you suffered, this will help your solicitor to understand how the accident happened.
  5. Speak to a personal injury solicitor*

    If you are considering moving forward with a claim* for any personal injuries sustained, it is advisable that you speak with a public place accident claims solicitor* as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A solicitor* can help you prepare your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.

    It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered most of the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist public place accident* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your claim* it is important to have as much as possible of the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Some of the important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of your injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the claims process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you looked after this matter yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important document in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your accident claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. Your solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move to the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the other party accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the other party reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point prior to a court hearing date without you ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and this allows you to focus on your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all – regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your accident, phone 01 649 9900 or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case, where you can speak with a member of our team straight away.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a holiday accident claim* you may be entitled to recoup costs to you as a result of the accident. This is along with added expenses you may have incurred, these claims are called damages:

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following an accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of a holiday accident, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills (abroad and in Ireland), and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). This may be a financial burden for people who have sustained an accident abroad. They may have no travel insurance, added travel costs as a result of the accident. For example, travel to and from the hospital or last-minute travel arrangements to travel home. Learn more about Special Damages

What are the Legal Time Limits?

After suffering an accident on holiday, there is a specific timeframe in which you can make a claim*. The timeframe you have in which to claim may depend on the country where the accident occurred. It is for this reason that it is important to speak with a holiday accident solicitor*. They can help you in understanding what you need to do and when and determining the accident abroad jurisdiction.

In Ireland, the statute of limitations is two years minus one day. For example, a road traffic accident happened on the 8th August 2016, proceedings would have to be issued by the 7th August 2018.

One exception to this is if you have been injured on a package holiday provided to you by an Irish package holiday provider, in this case, you would be bound by the Irish statute of limitations.

Learn more about Legal Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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