After almost two years of travel restrictions, many of us are packing our suitcases and jetting off to sunnier climates – but, what happens when a dream holiday turns into a nightmare?
Luckily, there is some protection offered to those travelling on a package holiday. The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangement Regulations 2018 apply to holidays after 1 July 2018. The regulations provide holidaymakers on package holidays and linked travel arrangements a remedy should they suffer from injury or sickness whilst on holiday.
At Jackson Boyd, we have experience in dealing with claims arising out of personal injury or sickness/illness occurring whilst abroad and have set out a handy guide below to offer some clarity on what you can claim for.
What is a package holiday?
A package holiday can be defined as being two or more different types of travel services which are combined for the purpose of the same trip. Generally speaking, there are four types of travel service; carriage of passengers (flights, trains and coaches), accommodation, motor vehicle hire and any other tourist service (for example, ski passes and guided tours).
What can you claim for?
If you’ve travelled on a package holiday, you may have a right to claim compensation following personal injury or illness whilst abroad. The starting point, as with any personal injury claim, will be whether there can be said to be act or omission that caused your injury/illness.
If, for example, you contracted food poisoning whilst staying in an all-inclusive resort, you would have to prove that you had become ill due to negligence on the part of the hotel/hotel staff. In other words, you would need to prove that it was the food prepared and served by the hotel that made you ill. That, of course, can difficult. If you do become ill with food poisoning whilst abroad, you should make a note of where and what you ate in the days immediately before becoming unwell. If you can, pinpoint what particular meal/food caused you to become unwell. It is also worth establishing whether any fellow guests have become ill after eating the same meal. Whilst it is fresh in your mind, make a note of how the food was served. For example, had it been sitting for a while uncovered prior to it being served?
The next step is to consider what steps were taken after it became apparent that you were unwell. Was your illness/injury reported to the hotel? Did any discussion take place with hotel staff? Was your illness/injury recorded in accident/incident report? What steps were taken by hotel staff after your illness/injury was reported?
Treatment is also very important. Did you attend hospital whilst abroad or seek advice from a doctor or other medical professional? Receipts and prescriptions can be useful to show the treatment that you received whilst suffering. Whilst retaining receipts etc. may not be a top priority at the time, it can ensure that additional evidence is available that is likely to assist in successfully pursuing a claim.
As with any personal injury claim, medical causation can be brought into question. In short, that means that the defender (the travel operator) can claim that the injury or illness complained of was caused by something other than what the pursuer (you) claims. Taking it back to the food poisoning example, it might be suggested that you ate somewhere outwith the hotel or that the illness could have been caused by something other than food (for example, swimming in the sea).
If you have suffered injury/illness whilst on holiday and wish to discuss matters with us, please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.