As much as we like to think it will never happen, getting injured when abroad is commonplace, but how many Brits know what action to take should the unthinkable happen when on their travels?
Paul McClorry, Head of Travel Litigation at specialist injury lawyers, Hudgell Solicitors, has given his advice on what to do if you are injured on holiday, and how this might change once Britain leaves the EU:
Take out suitable travel insurance
“This might seem like an obvious tip, but I always advise anyone who is going on holiday to take out a suitable level of travel insurance cover. Don’t just buy the cheapest or most basic policy, always make sure it’s the right fit for you and your holiday. Otherwise, you may find you’re only covered up to a certain amount or not covered at all in some circumstances. Remember that in most cases, travel insurance will only cover associated medical costs as well as lost luggage and flight delays, not compensation for pain or suffering, or loss of earnings.”
Seek medical care
“If your injury is particularly bad, then you should seek medical care. If you have suitable travel insurance or an EHIC, you won’t need to worry too much about medical costs, however, if you don’t, you or someone acting on your behalf will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ Overseas Healthcare Team to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate. This proves you’re entitled to an EHIC and can be used to get the same cover.”
“It might not always be possible if you are incapacitated, but get a member of your party to gather as much evidence as possible, whether it’s noting down names and contact details of witnesses or taking pictures of the accident site and your injuries, it could come in handy further down the line. If possible, write up what happened to cause your injury or illness in as much detail as you can. Remember to keep records of when you visited a doctor, clinic or hospital, and keep hold of any receipt for accident-related expenses.”
Report the incident
“If you are on a package trip, report your accident to the holiday organiser or their resort representative. After you have established the facts of the accident, you will need to decide whether or not you report it to the local police. As well as this, you should contact your travel insurance provider at the earliest possible point. They will advise you about your medical and legal situation. It’s important to never admit liability or engage in any correspondence without the advice of a qualified solicitor or lawyer that specialises in this area of law.”
What to do when you get home
“The full impact of an injury suffered on holiday might not become apparent until you arrive home. Some injuries can leave people unable to work and facing potential loss of earnings. Sometimes further expenses can be incurred in order to receive essential rehabilitation. If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you could be eligible for compensation. I would advise speaking to a solicitor that specialises in this area of law as soon as possible to find out if they’re able to help you.”
Will this advice change after Brexit?
“Much will depend on the final terms of any Withdrawal Agreement if an agreement can be reached, and much uncertainty remains. If a deal is agreed then the EHIC scheme should still be effective during the originally planned transition period (29 March 2019 – 31 December 2020). It is also envisaged, if a deal is agreed, that a similar form of reciprocal healthcare arrangement will exist after 31 December 2020 as the Government has introduced The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill, which should allow the EHIC scheme to continue.
“Travel insurers, understandably, are still carefully considering the terms of the policies they will provide post-Brexit. We will need to wait and see what the Brexit outcome is but holidaymakers will need to carefully consider whether the travel insurance policy they are taking out actually covers them for their specific holiday.
“Depending on the terms of any Withdrawal Agreement, if any, the ability for an English domiciled individual to bring any claim for injuries and consequential losses in England could be affected. Specialist legal advice will certainly be required to understand the complex legal issues that Brexit will bring about.”