How are the rules different when an accident happens abroad?

When you have an accident in the UK, you are typically entitled to justice – depending, of course, on the specific circumstances of the incident.

For example, if it occurred in the last three years and it was caused by someone else’s negligence, you could make a personal injury claim.

But how do the rules differ if the accident happened while you were abroad? And what can you do about it?

Common accidents abroad

In most cases, the sort of accident you might suffer depends entirely on what sort of trip you’re taking. For example, when you’re on a business trip, you are far more likely to be involved in a car accident than you are a sporting accident.

Meanwhile, you’re more likely to suffer an accident in a hotel – such as a slip, trip or fall – while on a holiday in the sun. This is when holiday illnesses are more likely to strike too. Hotels can be breeding grounds for bacteria and germs, particularly in communal areas where guests congregate.

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll come across negligent people. This means you’re no safer abroad than you are at home – and vice versa.

Package or independent holiday?

Whether you were on a package holiday – when accommodation and flights were booked together – or you were an independent traveller – when each part of your holiday was booked separately – will make a difference when it comes to your rights.

According to Citizens Advice, if you were on a package holiday, you are afforded protection through certain legal regulations. This means your holiday company can be held responsible for accidents suffered abroad. Holiday companies provide certain insurance that means you’re protected when something goes wrong.

Meanwhile, there is a great deal less protection for independent travellers. If you’ve booked separate accommodation and flights, you won’t have the same rights to compensation as those who have booked package holidays. Insurance plays a significant part for these travellers – offering a way of addressing certain problems.

Who to hold responsible

What all this means is that there are different rules around the way you can obtain justice – and compensation – after accidents in other countries. Just because you were an independent traveller, it doesn’t mean you’re unable to make a claim for an accident.

In many cases – much like in the UK – you’ll be able to claim against the organisation responsible for where you had your accident or the person directly responsible for it. For example, if you suffered a fall in a supermarket abroad, you could claim against the supermarket owner. And if you had a car accident, you could make a claim against the driver responsible.

And much like in the UK, evidence is important. You should ensure you take photos and video and get as many witness details as possible. You’ll also need to keep medical records to prove how you were affected. You may also have to extend your hotel stay as a result of your injuries, which can then have a financial impact. Keep any hotel bills to add to your injury claim as you may be able to recover what you spent on this additional stay.

Accidents abroad are particularly frustrating experiences. You’re somewhere unfamiliar, where you may not know the processes for dealing with this incident. This highlights the importance of establishing where you stand before you go abroad.

Making a claim is still possible after an accident abroad. You just have to know how to go about it.

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