Injured abroad? DON’T complain to the package provider!

People at airport waiting to board flight

We are all now able to travel again. With the recent airport chaos – and near enough two years of being stuck in Scotland – we all want to go abroad as soon as possible. And now we can!

For most travellers their holidays will pass without incident. But for the unlucky few there could be an accident, and sadly some of these could potentially result in a serious injury.

But when an accident abroad happens do you know what to do?

Who do you report it to? What should you do? What steps are you meant to take? Are you meant to try and source your own evidence?

With decades of personal injury experience, we see that a common feeling – and frustration – among holidaymakers is that when they raise concerns or complaints to holiday reps or hotel staff, their concerns go unnoticed.

Not to mention the pitfalls and problems that can emerge when dealing with local police officers who many people feel don’t fully investigate any accidents or misplace evidential paperwork.

This is why you should NOT complain to your holiday provider

The first port of call for many injured holidaymakers is their holiday representative. If that fails they often try to directly contact the company that sold them their holiday. They may also seek the help or input of the hotel staff where they were hurt. All of these approaches can cause problems.

The key to understand why this is the case is to look at the Package Travel and Linked Holiday Arrangements Regulations 2018. These rules clearly set out a person’s legal rights and protections.

The key point to take away from these regulations is it makes clear that the entity you need to sue to get compensation is the organization who sold you (or organized) your holiday.

Why is this important? It shows the holiday rep or package holiday provider is not going to be on your side when it comes to making a complaint or securing compensation. Sure they may be sympathetic or have an understanding tone, but if they don’t have your best interests at heart then it means you cannot ensure they will help in the way you want.

How might holiday providers act after you complain?

When a holiday rep, hotel staff or holiday provider becomes aware that you or one of your party are injured their initial response will be to take protective steps of their own liability and keep themselves in the clear.

They may fill out an accident report. They may even take some photos. But you cannot be sure the incident is being accurately recorded (like you would have done if you had the chance to complete the form in your own words). You may not even get to see it, let alone keep a copy.

The travel agent may blame the hotel. The hotel blames the agent. Then you may face claims that the package provider is entitled to a six month period of investigation.

There will be many different excuses used. But ultimately, all these tactics are used to make your life difficult in the hope you give up. To make you think you are fighting a losing battle and, ultimately, make you want to give up your complaint or claim. 

So what SHOULD you do if injured abroad?

First of all take photographs of everything. Even better, take videos.

You want to capture images of the injury. 

You want to capture images of how the injury happened – was it a broken slab, a faulty pool ladder, a fallen sign or a faulty room appliance? If so, capture that evidence.

If there are witnesses, ask for their names and telephone numbers. They may provide vital evidence and statements that could prove to be useful in the future.

Only AFTER you have done those things do we recommend reporting the accident to the hotel and holiday representative. If the agent or rep fills out an accident report then note their name and the time and location it was filled out.

Insist it is completed in front of you and then take a photograph of it. Ensure the accurate report is correct. Make sure it is completed in English. Demand a copy. If they do not provide a copy then note this refusal and alert the package provider and demand this copy is sent.

Once home, speak to a dedicated personal injury solicitor who can guide you through the next steps. 

At Digby Brown LLP we are the only firm in Scotland that has a team dedicated to helping people injured in accidents abroad – whether it has been for work or pleasure. 

Our accumulated knowledge from years of dealing with these claims will enable you to obtain the result that you deserve.

Don’t fall into the trap of dealing with your travel agent – it matters to you that you are fairly treated and compensated for an injury sustained on holiday and that’s why it matters to Digby Brown.

Simon Richards, Partner
Foreign & Travel Department