1 January 2008
The huge growth in holiday
and business travel
unfortunately also means that there are more people having accidents abroad
Traditionally, claiming compensation for accidents that have happened in another country has been fraught with difficulty. However, recent changes in UK and European law mean that it is now much easier to pursue compensation claims
and many of these can be done in England, rather than having to go through agents in the country where the accident happened.
Leigh Day & Co. have lots of experience of international legal claims
and a well-established reputation in representing a variety of clients from countries as diverse as Poland, Bangladesh and Kenya.
The Package Tour Regulations
The introduction of the Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tour Regulations 1992 was a great step forward for consumer protection as it gave holiday makers, in certain circumstances, direct legal rights in relation to their Tour Operator.
Where the Regulations apply, people who have been injured abroad
while on an all-inclusive or package holiday can claim against their Tour Operator in England for the negligent acts or omissions of the Tour Operator’s foreign supplier or agent.
The Regulations are significant because bringing a claim for compensation in England is often preferable to pursuing a claim abroad. The injured person has greater control over the legal process because they have a direct relationship with their solicitor and do not need to rely on local agents. In addition, the levels of damages payable in England are often higher than in other countries.
When do the Package Tour Regulations Apply?
The Package Tour Regulations apply when the package has been pre-arranged and includes at least two of the following:
- An excursion (or any other tourist service not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package).
The package must also have been offered at an inclusive price and must cover a period of at least twenty-four hours or include overnight accommodation.
Our specialist travel law solicitors
can advise you as to whether your holiday is covered by the Regulations.
Other Accidents Abroad
If an accident occurs outside the holiday resort or where the holiday is not a package holiday, an injured person may still be able to make a claim for compensation by pursuing legal action abroad. This sort of claim is complex and should be dealt with by specialist lawyers who have experience of handling foreign claims. For example, it may be that you must start the legal action within a much shorter period than you would in the UK. As with all accidents, it is advisable to consult a solicitor as soon as is practical. Our Travel Claims Team works with experienced lawyers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and America in order to provide people with specialist advice.
Traditionally people have encountered real difficulties in pursuing compensation claims arising out of traffic accidents in Europe. The claims had to be brought in the country where the accident occurred and it was necessary to instruct local solicitors.
The 4th EU Motor Directive was brought in to make claims more feasible by giving new rights to people who have been injured in a road traffic accident in the European Union. The Directive requires insurers to appoint a local insurance company to deal with claims. The injured person can then pursue the claim in their own country against the insurer of the person responsible for the accident.
Such claims, however, are complex and may still need to be dealt with in the country of the accident. For this reason, it is advisable to seek specialist advice.
The firm has dealt with many civilian and military air cases. These have involved dealing with specialist aviation lawyers in other countries, issues of product defect, pilot error, multiple clients and working for our clients against specialised defence lawyers.
We have acted in relation to crashes around the world (Nepal, Kenya, Canada, Iraq) in cases involving small numbers of British claimants flying abroad for work or pleasure.
Air crashes can happen anywhere in the world but the location of the accident is often not as important as the place where the passenger lives and where the decision is made to sue. Claims against the airline are governed by the Warsaw Convention of 1929 which places strict, but limited, liability against the carrier.
If you have been involved in an accident abroad and think you may have a claim, please contact Jill Paterson in our travel law team for a free initial consultation on 020 7650 1309.
Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details