Duty Free, Sun cream, Cocktails, Karaoke: These are the things we all associate with a great holiday. Accident and Emergency, Hospital, Injury: These are the things we hope have no place in any holiday. However, each year over 3,000 brits are injured while on holiday abroad. Injuries include everything from poolside accidents, to adventure activities and sports injuries.
We are well aware that the UK has a relatively high health and safety standard and that not all countries live up to this. If you are injured abroad because of someone else’s negligence things get complicated. However, they are a whole lot simpler if you booked as a package deal.
Whether you're injured in the pool, on an extravagant adventure sport, or as a result of food poisoning it is much easier to claim compensation if you booked in advance, as a package, before leaving the safety of the UK shores.
The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 implement EU directive and provide substantial protection to tourists within the EU. It avoids travellers having to pursue claims against a number of foreign bodies with whom they have no direct contract. Instead the regulations allow the traveller to recover against the tour operator, who is responsible for ensuring all the suppliers perform their parts of the contract. It is a contractual remedy, but a useful one.
The travel agent becomes liable for any loss and damage sustained by the consumer, including any bodily injury if this is caused by the seller’s breach of contract.
The regulations also provide a number of other consumer protections and are one example of an incredible benefit to come out being part of the EU. There are a number of hoops to jump through but essentially a person who can prove that they sustained an accident on a regulated package holiday has the right to issue proceedings in the UK rather than have to sue in another country.
The main hurdle is proving that the activity which caused the injury was part of a “package”. Essentially the test is whether the activity could have been bought separately for the same price as it formed as part of the package. There is no strict liability so the pursuer would still require to establish negligence. For example; the jet ski was broken, the staff were not properly trained etc.
Finally the tour company is only required to check that the hotel, supplier etc is compliant with local health and safety standards.
We hope you enjoy the sangria and karaoke, but if the worst does happen keep the 1992 regulations in mind.