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.
Unfortunately, this 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 *
Making a Claim
People who have suffered an overseas accident your first port of call is to seek medical attention. For an injury sustained while on holiday it is very important that you go to a doctor to be checked out. Those who have suffered an illness on holiday *, should seek medical attention for yourself and also anybody travelling with you. This is just in case they have been subjected to the same illness you have. Try to ignore the fact that you are on holiday in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar medical and legal systems. Do not wait until you get home to go to a doctor.
Once you have sought medical attention, there are some steps that you should follow:
What to do when injured abroad
1. Document The Accident
Where possible, get details of any witnesses to the accident. These details should include names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses. In cases where an accident occurred because of faults or defects in equipment or buildings ensure that you take plenty of clear photographs of the defects. This is you will prove how the accident occurred. Make a note of the time of the incident and your account of how this incident occurred.
Also ensure to document how this accident affected your holiday. If you had to cut your holiday short and incur added expenses. Such expenses include as public transport, ferry, flights or any other method of transport needed to get you home. Make sure you keep all receipts of these expenses.
2. Report The Accident
Depending on how serious your holiday accident claim * is, you should inform the accommodation you are staying in. If you are on a package holiday organised by a travel agent report the accident to them also. They may have an accident report form that you will need to complete to formally report the accident.
Reporting the incident to the police is also an option. This should be done if you do not receive adequate co-operation from the other officials.
Ensure that you request copies of any incident reports you complete and sign as proof that you reported the accident. This is important for when you make your claim *.
3. Medical Records
Ensure that you keep records of any hospital bills or any other medical receipts. It is also important that you ask the medical practitioner for a copy of any medical examination results or medical reports relating to your injuries/illness.
Upon your return to Ireland, if you are going to proceed with a claim *, the first thing you should do is to contact an accident abroad solicitor * for advice on how best to proceed.
If you are to proceed with a holiday accident claim * you may be entitled to pursue a claim for the accident and added expenses you incurred, these claims are called damages:
General Damages: Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional damage following an accident or illness on holiday
Special Damages: Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of an accident on holiday. For example, loss of earnings (if you were out of work), medical bills abroad and in Ireland. 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.
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.
Statute of Limitations – Legal Time Frames
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. Read more about legal time limits and your Irish personal injury claim here
The Injuries Board
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 do not assess these type 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
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” refers to travelling to another country for medical care. It’s 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.
- 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 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.
With 30 years’ experience as specialist accident and injury solicitors *, Tracey Solicitors, ensure not to overwhelm you with legal jargon and can provide you with legal advice and guidance with your best interest at heart, in a language that you can understand. For a confidential discussion please feel free to phone us on 00353 (0) 1 649 9900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your case.