A Guide to Injury and Illness on Holiday
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Every year many Britons are injured or ill whilst on holiday. It is not something you think about when you are organising your trip.
It is difficult to know who to turn to when you suffer an injury or illness especially whilst you are still overseas. This guide will help to outline: the law in this area, instructing the right solicitor and examples of holidays that have gone terribly wrong.
The applicable law in relation to these cases can vary dramatically. It is often necessary to litigate in the jurisdiction where the accident actually occurred.
Fortunately there are a number of statutory provisions which may assist in enabling litigation to be commenced in the English Courts:
- The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 impose strict liability on the Tour Operator in relation to any act or omission of their agents who are providing part of the package. This enables holidaymakers to sue the Tour Operator directly in the English Courts for breach of contract, common law negligence and misrepresentation.
- The Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 prescribes the general rule that the starting point is the applicable law in the jurisdiction where the event occurred. However, this presumption can be displaced to make the applicable law that of another jurisdiction (England and Wales) if the circumstances justify it or if it is 'substantially more appropriate'. Typically these factors include those relating to the parties to the litigation, to the events that form the basis of the litigation and to any other circumstances.
Litigating in English jurisdiction under English law clearly has a number of benefits:
- Local and English speaking Courts
- Possibly more generous awards in respect of damages
- Different and therefore potentially more favourable law in relation to establishing liability
Whether or not the law of one jurisdiction can be displaced depends upon the individual circumstances of each case. If it is necessary to pursue the matter in a foreign jurisdiction Alexander Harris has contacts with lawyers throughout Europe, North America, Australasia and other parts of the globe where local advice can be taken.
The Right Solicitor
It is paramount that anyone who is injured overseas seeks immediate legal advice from a specialist solicitor who is experienced in handling injury and illness overseas claims. Instructing a specialist solicitor can not only make the difference between winning and losing a case but can also make the difference of many thousands of pounds in compensation.
There are many issues that require detailed consideration by a solicitor such as procedures, regulations, available compensation schemes, legal systems and time limits, all of which can vary from claim to claim depending where in the world the injury occurred. For example in Europe the time limits vary considerably from country to country and in the USA they vary from state to state.
The law applied in such cases can be fraught with difficulties. The team at Alexander Harris has experience of successfully handling cases throughout the world which touch upon a variety of complex legal issues. The following examples are a small selection of the cases we handle:
Cryptosporidium - Alexander Harris are currently representing over 400 families equating to more than 1200 individuals who were struck down by a debilitating illness whilst on holiday in Majorca. Tests carried out confirmed that the water born parasite Cryptosporidium was found in the hotel's pool. This bug can be particularly serious for the young, the elderly and those with any immuno-deficiency.
Salmonella - Two families were on an all-inclusive holiday in Spain when their children became ill with salmonella. Many other families had made complaints about the hotel. At the time the families believed that the tour representatives had filled out two complaints books in one week. Alexander Harris settled a number of claims against the tour operator.
Burns - Kerry sustained severe burns to her legs when a member of the hotel bar staff threw a lit match into a shell filled with alcohol. The shell exploded and set her legs on fire.
Road Traffic Accident - Whilst on holiday in America, a 7-year-old girl was permanently injured when her family's hire car was suddenly and violently struck from the rear causing severe injury. Alexander Harris pursued her case through the tangled legal networks of England and California to secure a settlement for her.
If you need any advice or information on injury and illness suffered whilst on holiday please contact our travel litigation solicitors on 0870 024 0558.
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