Woman injured on holiday awarded 5 figure compensation

People at airport waiting to board flight

Gwen Kent was on holiday in Tenerife with her family when the holiday was ruined by an accident – that could have been prevented by the hotel.

It was the last day of their holiday and they were meant to be flying home. Instead she endured a hospital visit, an operation and was unable to return to work for 7 months.

“I was just walking along the pavement when the next minute I was on the ground – I hadn’t even realised I had slipped at first. I was screaming in pain and then I noticed water on the ground coming from a cleaning machine. There were no signs or anything.”

Kim Leslie, Partner in Digby Brown’s specialist Foreign and Travel Department

“Sadly, accidents like these are not uncommon and can have a huge impact on people’s lives.

“Not everyone is aware that it is possible to claim compensation here in Scotland for an accident abroad. However, this is a complicated area of law and the help of a specialist solicitor in foreign law is essential in order to make a successful claim.“

Holiday accident injuries

Mrs Kent broke her shoulder and was treated at a local hospital nearby. As the hospital had to confirm insurance details, she had to wait several hours before being given any pain relief or be seen by a doctor.

Thankfully she was covered by insurance and they arranged for an operation the next day. Her husband had to leave the hotel on the day of the accident and book a hotel near the hospital - which he had to pay for.

“It was very daunting and isolating being in a hospital abroad. It was quite scary as no one spoke any English and I was in a room on my own, it was very quiet. I was glad when I finally got home.”

Impact of holiday injuries

Mrs Kent lost movement in her arm for a year. She was off work from July, returning only in February part time.

“I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t drive, dress myself, brush my hair, cook. I had no strength in my arm and went to physio 3-4 times a week. At the time, I couldn’t see beyond it. I thought it would never end, watching day time telly for months."

The surgeon took pins out in January and left her arm to see if it would heal on its own. However, it didn’t heal and Mrs Kent had another big operation in August, requiring a further 3 months off work.

“Now the pain level is manageable. I will be in pain forever and there are things I just can’t do now like swimming, cycling, gardening or decorating – anything that requires any strength really in my right arm.

“I just accept it though as there’s not much I can do about it now and I’ve learned to adapt.”

Holiday accident claim

Mrs Kent contacted Digby Brown’s specialist solicitors in holiday accident claims who had experience in pursuing accidents abroad claims through Scottish courts.

“I wasn’t aware I could claim for my accident on holiday but the insurance company suggested I pursue a claim and recommended Digby Brown.

“It was a tricky case and they needed to establish we could pursue a claim. They investigated and found there was claim to be made against the hotel in Tenerife.”

Kim Leslie, Partner in Digby Brown’s specialist Foreign and Travel Department

“Having specialist knowledge in foreign law is a must when it comes to claiming for an accident abroad. Although in this case the accident happened in Tenerife and the claim was against a Spanish company, our specialist knowledge meant we were able to pursue this claim here in Scotland.

“However, in this case the law applied was Spanish law. This meant that a Spanish lawyer had to be involved to plead the relevant foreign law to allow us to lead evidence and prove the foreign law for the Scottish forum.

“There were differences when it came to time limits to making a claim – 1 year rather than 3 – and in establishing liability and the value of the claim. However, we were able to protect Gwen’s claim and pursue the case.“

Holiday accident claim against hotel

The hotel was not forthcoming and ignored communications sent by our solicitors, even when sent by recorded mail. Our solicitors were persistent on Mrs Kent’s behalf and eventually the hotel realised they wouldn’t simply go away.

“The service was excellent. I was informed every step of the way. Any questions I had or anything I didn’t understand, someone always got back in touch to explain it to me.

“I knew I was in good hands and would recommend Digby Brown to anyone, it was just amazing.”

Holiday accident compensation

Mrs Kent was awarded over £27,000 in compensation for her accident injuries on holiday.

“I’m really happy with the compensation and glad it’s all over. It was never about the money for me, no amount of money is going to turn back time and remove the injury but it goes a little way towards making things better.”

What would you tell others in a similar situation?

“You have nothing to lose by going forward and making a claim. Your life will change as a result of the accident and for me, it was well worth it and the outcome was excellent.”