Package holiday claims – when are you covered for an accident?

If you have been involved in an accident abroad there are various avenues to pursuing a personal injury claim.  If you have booked your holiday through a tour operator (or package provider) as part of a “package holiday” then the Package Travel Regulations 1992 apply.

The regulations apply to package holidays sold in the UK. A package holiday is defined as:

  • A combination of at least two services, whether its transport to the destination, accommodation or an excursion whilst you are away.
  • The holiday was prearranged
  • The holiday was sold or offered for sale at an all-inclusive price
  • The holiday included overnight accommodation or covered a period in excess of 24 hours

The Regulations were brought in to set out the package providers responsibilities, provide consumer protection and to simplify what consumers can do if they have a problem. One of the ways they work for tourists injured on a package holiday is by ensuring that they do not incur difficulties in trying to pursue a foreign holiday supplier with which they do not have a direct contact.

It is the package provider’s duty to ensure that foreign suppliers, such hotel owners, perform their part of the contract to keep areas safe for holiday makers and that the holiday experienced by the traveler is the one they brought.

According to a study by Post Office Travel Insurance, the most common injuries to Brits abroad are broken bones, cuts and raises, with one in 20 accidents being caused by a slip or fall around swimming pools, incidents involving stairs, broken glass, or activities such as swimming and snorkeling.

For your package provider to be held accountable for your accident, your injury needs to have occurred either at the hotel or accommodation you booked through the provider or on an excursion brought as part of your package.

For example if you sustained an injury by cutting yourself on a faulty title in the pool and you booked the hotel as part of the package, your package provider would be held accountable. If you sustained an injury out and about exploring the local town or at the beach at your own leisure then this would not be covered by the Package Travel Regulations.

It’s also worth noting that holidays you purchased from the supplier directly, or where you arranged the flights and accommodation separately do not fall under the Package Travel Regulations. This includes holidays where you choose your flight and hotel online on comparison sites such as trivago or lastminute.com.

While the package provider can be held accountable for accidents that happen in a location or excursion included in your package holiday, it’s always worth taking out comprehensive travel insurance before you go away, should you have an accident excluded by the Package Travel Regulations. Foreign medical bills can quickly mount up. Many Brits greatly underestimate the cost of medical bills abroad, with the average cost of treating a broken hip in Spain costing a whopping £15,000. In many EU countries you may be covered for basic medical expenses if you have a EHIC card.

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