Holiday Accident Claims Expected to Rise Say Injury Travel Law Solicitors


Compensation claims arising from accidents on holiday increase year on year and in 2009 Simpson Millar’s Holiday Solicitors predict a record increase in holiday personal injury claims as more and more holiday makers head for hotels and destinations outside Europe because of the poor exchange rate.

Lisa Sheldon, Head of Travel Law at Simpson Millar LLP, claims that holiday makers are not sufficiently informed and that tour operators should do more to raise health and safety awareness.

"Every year we see holiday makers suffering the same types of accidents many of which could be avoided if tour operators took on a more proactive role to inform their customers. Health and safety standards abroad are not always as high as we enjoy here in the UK and our message to anyone about to depart on a foreign holiday is not to expect UK safety standards."

So what can you do to reduce the risk of an accident whilst on holiday?

Lisa Sheldon identifies common holiday accidents and suggests some simple precautions to reduce the risk of injury.

"It is a sad fact that most swimming pool drowning accidents occur on the first day of a holiday. Parents are unpacking and tired or relaxing with a drink at the bar whilst children are excited and eager to jump into the pool. Our advice is to check pool depths and for hidden underwater ledges and certainly do not leave children unattended. Check if there is a lifeguard on duty as in many countries lifeguards are not employed."

"In your apartment or hotel room don’t expect safety glass to be fitted to your patio or balcony door. Typically there will be no requirement for reinforced or safety glass to be used at hotels outside the Eurozone. Try keeping curtains drawn during the daytime and leave balcony and patio doors wide open so that they can be seen. "

Bathrooms are also hazardous places. Slippery tiled floor surfaces, water and showers over baths are a lethal combination and the cause of many slipping accidents. It is unlikely that there will be a shower mat in your bathroom – You will have to ask for one. Most hotels will supply a shower mat upon request. "

"The most frequent slipping accidents occur on staircases – There is often no requirement for handrails. Steps and staircases at hotels abroad are commonly constructed from marble which can be very slippery even when dry. Steps and staircases located near to pools or wet facilities are particularly dangerous as other guests will trail water from the pool."

When dining in buffet restaurants observe for spillages on the floor surfaces mainly around the buffet counters. Food and drink spilt on marble floor surfaces is a common cause of slipping accidents."

"And finally …. Beware of the maid! – It is not common practice for wet mopped floors abroad to be dried or for wet floor warning signs to be displayed.”

What you should do if you have an accident?

Lisa Sheldon advises that you should do the following:

  • Seek medical treatment straightaway;
  • Report your accident to your holiday representative and insist that you be given a written report;
  • Take the names and addresses of other guests who may have witnessed your accident;
  • Take photographs of where your accident happened;
  • Make a note of any remedial action taken after the accident by the hotel or tour operator;
  • Keep any receipts and medical notes you are given.

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