Holiday accident claims procedures – what happens in different countries?

We’ve all been there on holiday when disaster strikes at an awkward time. Maybe you were staying in a resort somewhere and had an accident during a planned trip out on a package holiday or had a mishap on a cruise ship. As such, you might have been injured and may potentially have a claim for compensation. But what happens in the holiday accident claims process, and what can you claim for?

I was lucky enough never to have an accident when I was on holiday. Sure, I had the occasional fender bender when I was crossing the border in Mongolia or when being a passenger in a minibus that was taking me and other tourists down the mountain into the nearby city, but I never got injured. I have been lucky during my past 11 years of extensive travelling to only get more seriously sick only three times, once in Cuba, when I got stung by a wasp and my wound got infected, once in India when I ate chicken on the train and got food poisoning, and last year in Central America, when I got the flu on the plane, flying there. But other than that, I have been spared by major accidents. However, there are many people who unfortunately had to cut short a holiday or had to spend their vacations in foreign hospitals because they had an accident.


What are my rights when making holiday claims?

You can claim for compensation in both package holidays and non-package holiday cases, also known as being an independent traveller. However, there are different rules and regulations that apply in each case. If you booked your holiday with a UK-based package holiday company, you can make a claim against them if they’ve done something that has resulted in you being injured, like a slip or trip around the hotel as a result of the resort messing up.

However, if you’ve booked a holiday outside of a package holiday company, you’ll need to make a claim through that country’s legal system to attempt to get compensation. In both package holiday and independent holiday cases, unfortunately there are time limits on how long you can claim for an accident abroad.

These can vary from country to country, like if you have an accident in Spain, you have three years if you made a booking through a package holiday company, or one year if you’re an independent traveller. If you have an accident in Greece, depending on the type of accident, it can either be 2 years or up to 5 years. It’s best to check with a lawyer, such as at Hodge Jones & Allen, as to how much time you may have to make any holiday accident claims.


What kind of accidents can I claim for when abroad?

You might be wondering what you can claim for if you’ve had an accident on holiday. As long as none of them are your fault, these can include:

  • Slips and trips in hotel restaurants
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Balcony fall accidents
  • Coach crashes and traffic accidents involving cars or bikes or pedestrians
  • Burns
  • Slips and trips aboard cruise ships or other ships
  • Winter sports injuries, such as a preventable skiing or snowboarding accident
  • Day trip accidents


How to make holiday accident claims

The first thing to do is to report the accident. If you’re on a package holiday, you should notify your package holiday organiser’s rep in the resort, so that they can let the company know. If there isn’t a rep at the resort, you’ll need to get in touch with the company head office as well as the hotel management to report the accident. Getting a paper trail going is useful at this point as it’ll help your case out later on.

Once you’ve reported the accident, ideally, you’ll need to get in touch with a lawyer to take the case further. If you’ve suffered from a personal injury for example, talking to a lawyer can help you with understanding your options going forward and how much compensation you might be able to claim as well. And depending on the type of holiday you’re on, they can often help win you higher amounts of compensation than you may have been expecting. Additionally, they may have experience with dealing with different countries legal systems, which can make your life and your claim a lot easier than if you were trying to deal with a foreign legal system by yourself.

If you think you might have a case for holiday accident compensation, then we recommend that you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible, due to the time limits mentioned above. And one final tip before you go on holiday this year; don’t forget your travel insurance, as this can often help if you need to make a claim for something. Otherwise, enjoy your holiday!



Disclaimer: I have written this post in collaboration with Hodge Jones & Allen.

Some of the links one this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and do a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. This helps me keep my website running and continue to share my traveling knowledge with you. I thank you for booking your flights or hotels using the links on my website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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38 thoughts on “Holiday accident claims procedures – what happens in different countries?

  1. Elizabeth O says:

    This is such an informative post indeed. This is so helpful for a lot of people! There is some tips here I didn’t know so it’s is super to learn the rules.

  2. Pujarini says:

    There is so much of must know information in this post. I had no idea about claiming if someone is traveling independently. I will share this post with my traveler friends.

  3. Cia Black says:

    I honestly didn’t know about travelers insurance until one year when I actually needed it. This post is so helpful and a reminder to always do your research.

    • Joanna says:

      The travel insurance only covers your medical expenses, not the compensation you can get because of the accident, if it wasn’t your fault.

  4. Nikki says:

    I’ve never even thought about making claims for holiday accidents! I wouldn’t think twice if were home, but I never knew you could do it abroad. I have to bookmark this.

  5. Nati says:

    This is very useful information! I thought it only depended on each person insurance! Us for example, we have to pay for minor expenses up to 1000 CHF and then when we get back home, we present all receipts and with declaration of accident we get 90% refunded by insurance (this is the basic sanitary insurance). We also have a family travel insurance for very serious cases, but I never needed that one thank God!

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