Choosing when to make a compensation claim for a problem that has occurred on holiday depends largely as to what the problem is and how long the holiday is expected to last. Holiday claims for damage or loss of property are typically handled by the tour operator or, in most cases, the traveler's holiday insurance provider.
It is usually sensible to report any instances of damage or loss of property immediately, so these types of claim can be initiated on foreign soil. Personal injury cases, on the other hand, must be deal with in a certain way and within a specific time-frame. Accordingly, while it is essential that a number of steps must be taken abroad, it is usually necessary to initiate proceedings at home.
Claiming for holiday accidents that result in personal injury can be tricky affairs. In terms of initiating a personal injury claim in the country in which the accident occurred, this is usually only possible or worthwhile if the claimant can be easily traced and the law firm chosen to represent the claimant has a professional professional standing and is, ideally, based in the UK. However, the accepted – and often the onlyiable – approach is for the injured party to bring a claim for compensation after he or she has returned to the UK. In this respect, it is only possible to make a claim for compensation against the tour operator (assuming the claimant had suffered the injury while on a package holiday) or travel agent based in the UK.
Furthermore, the same basic principles of negligence law must be established before a claim can be brought successfully; these principles will be discussed in more depth below but, in short, the claimant must be able to establish that the negligence of the tour operator or travel agent caused the personal injury. It is not enough to simply suffer an injury while on a package holiday. In fact, for liability to be established under the Package Tour Regulations 1992, the claimant must prove that a specific aspect of the package holiday was to blame for the injury; for example, liability could be established if an overhead fan in the hotel fell upon the victim, whereas liability would almost certainly not be established if the victim sustained an injury while engaging in a sport or other activity that was not part of the package holiday.
As mentioned above, negligence claims require certain fundamental principles to be established before compensation can be awarded to the claimant. Firstly, it must be shown that the defendant owed a duty of care to the claimant at the time of the accident or injury; secondly, the defensive must have breached his duty of care; and, finally, the breach must have caused the harm. These basic ingredients of negligence law apply to claiming compensation for accidents abroad. A victim of a holiday accident must also bring the claim within a certain time frame – three years is the time limit afforded to adults who have suffered a personal injury. Although the court retains discretion to allow an out-of-time case, it is always sensible to initiate procedures as quickly as possible.