Accidents & Illness Abroad Claims

Accidents & Illness Abroad Claims Guide

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident or suffered an illness while on holiday or travelling abroad, our lawyers could help you claim compensation. We have a proven track record, having helped our clients recover hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation for injuries and illnesses abroad.

If you're thinking of making a claim or have any questions about how a claim works, contact us online or call us on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation. Alternatively, read answers to some of our frequently asked questions below.

How Do I Claim Compensation For An Accident Or Illness Abroad?

We work hard to make sure that claiming compensation for something that happened abroad is as close as possible to claiming for something that happened in the UK.

To begin a claim, all you need to do is contact us for a free initial consultation. We'll discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident or illness, advise you on whether or not we think you can claim, and whether your case could be funded with a No Win No Fee* arrangement.

If you choose to proceed, your claim will usually go through the following four stages:

  1. Investigation. We'll establish who is responsible for your accident or illness, and arrange for a medical examination to find out the full extent of your injuries. We could also talk to any witnesses that may be able to provide us with more information.
  2. Rehabilitation. If you are entitled to medical care or support, we'll arrange for you to access these from a provider close to your home.
  3. Compensation. We'll work out how much compensation you should get, based on the severity of your injuries and your pain and suffering, any medical expenses you've had, and your ability to get back to work. We'll put this amount to the organisation responsible, and they can either accept blame or contest the claim.
  4. Conclusion. If your opponent accepts blame, we will seek to negotiate full and fair compensation. If not, the case might be resolved in court – although this is rare. If you do have to go to court, we'll be there to represent you. If we agreed to handle your claim under a No Win No Fee* arrangement, then you won't have to pay anything if you’re unsuccessful.

If you have any questions about the claims process, please contact us today on 0800 056 4110 for your free initial consultation.

Back to top

Will I Have To Appear In Court Abroad?

If an accident or illness happened abroad, you can often make a compensation claim in this country, particularly if the organisation responsible – such as a tour operator or insurer – is based in the UK or in the EU. However, even if you do need to claim in another country, we will work with our established network of foreign lawyers, to achieve the best possible result for you. Regardless of where you claim, most claims are settled out of court.

The vast majority of claims are handled without the need for a personal court attendance, even after formal legal proceedings have been issued. Most hearings will be conducted by your legal representative with no need for you to actually attend.

We work with an international network of law firms to represent and support our clients and their families when they need to claim around the world, so you don't need to worry about language barriers or going abroad again as part of your case.

Back to top

How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?

In the UK, you usually need to make a compensation claim within three years of your accident, or finding that your illness was caused abroad. This is usually two years if you have been involved in an accident or suffered illness on a cruise ship or plane.

In fatal cases, the family of the deceased usually has three years to make a claim, starting from either the date your loved one died, or the date you received the post-mortem results.

However, these time limits can vary a great deal from country to country and are often shorter than UK law, so when an accident or illness has taken place abroad it's vital that you contact us as soon as possible.

Back to top

How Long Does A Claim Usually Take?

A claim can take anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the complexity, the amount of compensation involved, and whether your opponent accepts responsibility and co-operates. We advise you to contact one of our lawyers to begin the process as soon as possible.

Find out more about the factors that can influence the length of a claim.

Back to top

Can I Make a Claim For Food Poisoning?

If you suffered food poisoning as a result of something you ate while on holiday, you may be able to make a claim. Hotels, restaurants, cruise ships and tour operators have a responsibility to make sure their customers aren't put at risk by unsanitary conditions and poor food hygiene practices, and if we can prove that they have been negligent, you may be eligible for compensation.

Find out more about making a claim for food poisoning.

Back to top

Can I Make A Claim For A Snow Sports Injury?

Snow sports injuries are relatively common, but it isn't always clear where responsibility lies – for instance, it may be the fault of another skier or snowboarder, the company managing the piste, or the tour operator who provided the holiday. We will provide expert legal advice on your situation, whether you can make a claim for compensation, and who to claim against.

Find out more about making a snow sports injury claim.

Back to top

How Much Compensation Can I Expect To Receive?

The amount of compensation you receive will vary depending on your individual circumstances and a number of different factors, including your condition and its severity, any loss of earnings you suffered as a result of it, medical expenses you've had to pay, and sometimes, consideration of the law where your accident happened.

Find out more about what can affect the amount of compensation you receive.

Back to top

Does It Make A Difference If I Was On A Package Holiday?

If you were on a package holiday, then you may be able to claim against the tour operator.

In England and Wales, there are special provisions under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 that can help you bring a claim against a package provider, and there are a number of precedents that can support your case.

Read more about package holiday claims.

Back to top

Does It Make A Difference If I Didn't Book Through A Tour Operator?

You can still make a claim if you were an independent traveller. This is defined as someone who is:

  • Not a member of a traditional package holiday
  • Not travelling via a package combining transport, accommodation, entertainment or local transport

This includes backpackers, business travellers and tourists staying with friends – essentially, anyone who is not travelling as part of a package holiday.

The way your claim will work depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • How the accident or illness happened
  • When it happened
  • Who was responsible
  • Where you were at the time – and particularly whether or not you were in the European Union

If you're uncertain as to whether you can claim, or have any questions at all, call us on 0800 056 4110 today for a free initial consultation.

Back to top

Can I Make A No Win No Fee* Claim?

Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.

At the start of your case, we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household, travel or car insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee* agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. You'll only have to pay anything if your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement.

Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

Back to top

Contact Us


Contact us today

For a free initial consultation

Prefer not to call

Use our form

© 2017 Irwin Mitchell LLP is Authorised & Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our Regulatory Information.