Legal advice for your holidays from Matthew Woodhams
PUBLISHED: 13:08 06 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:56 20 February 2013
Sun. Sea. Sand. What we all hope for from our well-earned holidays. A slip. A trip. A crash. Sometimes these unplanned incidents can ruin them. Solicitor Matthew Woodhams explains how to deal with accidents abroad
Should an accident happen to you while you are on holiday in this country, you just need to take a few straightforward actions. Go to your GP or local A&E department and get the appropriate help.
If the accident was caused by somebody else, you then need to decide if you want to take it further and I would always recommend calling your local solicitor. It is quick to do so and is generally free. It might also help in preventing similar accidents again.
If you are going abroad it is a little more complicated. To start with you should always make sure that you have holiday insurance. It generally includes cover for medical costs and this is very important.
We have the worlds only free health care system, everybody else charges to some degree with it being more expensive for foreigners. Dont forget when we are abroad, we are the foreigners!
If you do have an accident then at least you wont get a bill costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. In European Union countries you can get free care by applying for a European Health Insurance Card (previously known as an E111). It is free and application forms are available free from Post Offices or online.
If your accident was caused by somebody else, always take as many details as possible as it will make it easier if you do need to bring a claim. Photographs are always a good idea.
If you have booked a holiday through a tour operator then it becomes a bit easier to bring a claim. Current legislation means that your claim is actually brought against the tour operator and not any hotel or similar place where you were injured.
This is the case as long as the accident location or activity was one which was part of your package. If an accident happens elsewhere or is not related then your action would be against the person who caused the accident.
It must be remembered that for a lot of travel claims (against tour operators, airlines and similar) you only have two years as opposed to the normal three years. As with all claims, it is best to take action early and avoid delay.
Hopefully youll return safe, sound and full refreshed from your break. If you do suffer from an injury though, you are not alone.
Matthew Woodhams is a solicitor at Whitehead Moncton Solicitors and the head of its Personal Injury Department.