What to do if things go wrong abroad – your essential holiday claim checklist
What happens if you fall ill on holiday overseas? Or if you’re injured through no fault of your own, who’s responsible and are you entitled to claim for compensation?
It’s small wonder so many people head for exotic overseas locations every summer. Because the low-cost package holiday has never been more popular.
Of course, ‘exotic’ usually means ‘hot’. And when the heat’s really on, there are still too many hoteliers playing fast and loose with the health and safety of their guests.
Poor hygiene records by “the usual suspects”
According to Simpson Millar’s Head of International Travel Law, Nick Harris, some culprits come up time and again.
“Certain all-inclusive hotels in Egypt, Mexico, Canary Islands and the Dominican Republic, among other locations, have poor records of observing basic hygiene in their restaurants, bars and swimming areas,” Nick said.
Nick can cite many cases where lack of cleanliness has led to hotel guests falling ill with a variety of gastric conditions.
“There’s also the matter of badly maintained fixtures and fittings, which can cause personal injury. A foreign holiday can be like a minefield to get through – sometimes holidaymakers are hurt before they’ve even got off the plane.”
You’re protected by law
Nick stresses that holidaymakers, even those who enjoy active and adventure holidays, are protected by international regulation.
“Air travel, for example, is regulated by the 1999 Montreal Convention. This obliges carriers to pay compensation if you’re injured in transit or your luggage is damaged or lost.
Importantly, Nick noted that both the hotels and their UK representatives have a duty of care for safety. “And it’s your booking agents you pursue for compensation if the worst happens.”
Your package holiday legal rights
During flights, transits and at your hotel, provided you’ve booked with an accredited holiday operator, you’re also covered by the 2018 Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.
You can make a claim for compensation against your holiday firm if you’re:
- Ill with a gastric condition (like food poisoning) after eating food from a hotel restaurant or swimming in the hotel pool; even if you don’t fall ill until after your holiday, you can still claim if your illness was caused by the hotel’s failings.
- Physically injured due to fire, flood and poorly maintained areas of the hotel (like falling mirrors, faulty shower units and electrical points, broken walkway pavements, etc).
- Injured or ill during an excursion you’ve taken within your package.
Nick points out that not everything is covered. “Exclusions might apply if you’re not within the hotel complex when you’re hurt or ill, or you’re on an excursion that was not part of your all-inclusive package.
Holiday travel insurance
It’s also essential to have proper travel insurance before you depart, and extra specialist cover if you’re going on an adventure holiday
Your compensation checklist – what to do if you’re ill or injured on a package holiday abroad:
When you get home, contact a travel solicitor,” Nick Harris concluded. “By using a specialist who knows the complexities of travel law and how to claw back any medical, extra travelling and administrative expenses and loss of earnings, you’re in an excellent position to pursue a successful claim.”