Make a holiday accident claim
If you have suffered an injury or illness abroad, find out if you can make a holiday accident claim and get the compensation you deserve.
How Much Could You Claim?

Holiday Accident Claims

Getting injured while on holiday can be a total nightmare, especially if it wasn’t your fault. You should be soaking up the sun and having fun, not nursing wounds caused by someone else’s negligence.

A holiday should be a worry-free escape from the daily grind, where you can unwind, relax and enjoy time with family or friends without a care in the world. But when things go wrong, a personal injury solicitor can help to put things right.

The experienced injury lawyers we work with know the ins and outs of building a case against tour operators, hotels, airlines, and other parties who may be responsible for your holiday accident or illness abroad. This enables you to focus on getting better while they fight for your right to compensation.

A friendly solicitor will welcome the opportunity to discuss your circumstances and support you in initiating and progressing your holiday accident claim. If you have a valid case, they will provide you with a no win no fee* agreement, so there will be no upfront cost and no financial risk to you in pursuing compensation.

To arrange a free consultation with a legal adviser, click here to arrange a call back or call 0800 032 3660 today.

Can I make a holiday accident claim?

Yes, you can make a holiday compensation claim if you were injured or fell ill while on holiday due to someone else’s negligence. Examples of such accidents include slips and falls at a hotel, food poisoning from a restaurant, accidents during excursions or activities booked through the hotel, and accidents on transport provided by the tour operator.

To make a holiday accident claim, you should contact a personal injury solicitor specialising in claiming compensation for accidents abroad. They can advise you on the strength of your case and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive.

To secure compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses, you must successfully demonstrate that:

  • Another party who owed you a duty of care was negligent in some way
  • That negligence caused you to suffer an accident abroad or in the UK
  • You suffered an injury or illness as a result of this negligence
  • Your accident happened no longer than three years ago

If you have a valid claim for holiday accident compensation, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee claim service and guide you through all the steps of the claims process. That will involve gathering evidence, working out a fair compensation award for your losses and negotiating a settlement with the other party.

What types of holiday accidents can I claim for?

Solicitors are often consulted for support and assistance in making a holiday accident claim. They have experience in assessing the liability and severity of each case and providing support to ensure that you receive compensation for the harm and financial losses caused. Some of the most common accidents abroad that injury solicitors deal with include:

Hotel accidents

Hotel accidents while on holiday abroad can cause all types of injuries and can completely ruin your holiday. Common causes that may warrant a compensation claim include slips, trips and falls, balcony accidents, swimming pool accidents, food poisoning, and accidents caused by faulty equipment or maintenance issues.

Road traffic accidents whilst abroad

Whether caused by the driver of a taxi, transfer coach, local excursion driver or another holidaymaker in a hire car, you have the right to claim compensation following injuries sustained in road accidents abroad.

Some of the most common types of road traffic accidents that can occur whilst on holiday include:

In any of these situations, it is essential to seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience in handling international personal injury claims. They can help you determine your rights and options for pursuing compensation.

Some countries, such as Italy and Greece, stipulate that these types of accident claims must be initiated within two years. Therefore, we encourage anyone in this position to report the accident to the local police immediately and speak to a solicitor as soon as possible when you return home.

Food poisoning and waterborne illnesses

Food poisoning and waterborne illnesses are common holiday sicknesses that can result in serious health complications. They are usually caused by consuming contaminated food or water and can lead to symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. Many illnesses show little, if any, long-lasting symptoms and so it is crucial to seek immediate medical advice, keep copies of records and report the case right away.

Personal injury solicitors can help you investigate the cause of your illness and gather evidence to support your holiday compensation claim against the responsible party, which may include the hotel, restaurant, or tour operator.

Airline errors and accidents

There are multiple mistakes that airlines or airline staff could make, which could result in injuries or illnesses to passengers. These can include blocked gangways, defective overhead storage locking, spilling of boiling drinks, food poisoning and poor hygiene throughout the cabin. If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of an airline, you should discuss your case with an injury lawyer. They will be able to assess the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injury or illness to determine if you have a valid holiday accident claim.

Excursion injuries

Excursion injuries while abroad includes any harm that occurs while participating in pre-booked or organised activities or tours. These can include accidents during activities such as skiing, water sports, sightseeing tours, or other group activities. In some cases, excursion injuries may occur due to poor vehicle management, unsafe excursion destinations and non-observance of health and safety precautions.

Some of the most common holiday accident claims that result in compensation include the following:

  • Food poisoning while on an excursion or organised trip
  • Poorly maintained rental vehicles that lead to accidents
  • Water sport accidents
  • Wet floors or misplaced objects which lead to falls, trips and slips
  • Skiing and snowboarding accidents
  • Poor hygiene, which leads to illness
  • Unsanitary conditions in facilities at the airport, onboard a plane or at your accommodation

Whatever the particulars of your case may be, our experienced legal advisers will be pleased to discuss your eligibility to claim holiday accident compensation and the likely outcome of your case. To arrange your free case assessment, call 0800 032 3660 or arrange a call back by entering your name and phone number into our online claim form.

How do I make a holiday accident claim?

If you have been involved in an accident while on holiday, you might be eligible to make a compensation claim. Here are the general steps to follow to make a holiday accident claim:

Seek medical attention

If you are injured while on holiday, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is crucial. This not only helps to ensure that you receive the necessary treatment but also documents the injuries and establishes a link between the accident and the harm sustained.

Report the incident

Report the incident to the relevant people, which could be the hotel staff, tour operator, airline, or excursion provider. Make sure to obtain a copy of the incident report to help establish liability.

Collect evidence

Collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This may include taking photographs of the accident scene, obtaining contact information for witnesses, and retaining any relevant documentation, such as medical records, receipts or communications with the responsible party.

Contact a personal injury solicitor

Contact a personal injury solicitor who specialises in holiday accident claims. They will provide you with an initial consultation to assess the strength of your case, advise you on your legal rights, and guide you through the claims process.

The pre-action protocol

Your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the party responsible for your accident, providing details of the incident and the injuries sustained. The other party has a fixed period to respond and either admit or deny liability for the accident or injuries.

Negotiate a settlement

If the defendant admits liability, your solicitor will then begin the process of negotiating a fair settlement that compensates you for your injuries and any financial losses you may have suffered. Financial losses could include lost wages if you have to take time off work and any medical-related costs.

Court proceedings

If a settlement cannot be reached, your solicitor may advise you to take your case to court. They will help you navigate the legal system and represent you in court. However, most personal injury claims are settled without going to court, so court proceedings are unlikely in most cases.

It is important to note that the process may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the laws of the country where the accident occurred. It is always recommended to seek legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible after an accident, but even more so when the accident happens in another country.

To start a holiday accident claim, or learn more about the claims process, call 0800 032 3660 for a free consultation with an experienced solicitor. Alternatively, you can use our online claim form to receive a no-obligation call back.

How does the law deal with injuries caused abroad?

Anybody injured in a holiday accident will understand the physical, emotional and logistical impact the incident can have on their life, not to mention ruining their holiday. Fortunately, the law recognises your right to seek compensation for any harm caused by the fault of another person or party while on holiday.

There are various legislations which help to simplify and support the process of making a holiday accident claim. These place specific requirements on holiday companies and tour operators, including:

  • The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 applies to holiday packages sold in the UK. These regulations offer protection to consumers who suffer injury or illness while on a package holiday. Under this legislation, you have the right to claim compensation from the tour operator for any injury or illness caused by their negligence or that of their suppliers (hotels, coach transfers, excursions, etc.).
  • The Athens Convention 1974 applies to injuries or deaths that occur onboard boats, such as cruise ships or ferries. The convention limits the liability of ship owners and carriers for accidents or incidents at sea.
  • The Montreal Convention 1999 applies to injuries or deaths occurring onboard an international flight and sets out rules for the liability of airlines and carriers in such cases.

It is also possible to pursue a claim following an accident on a non-package booked holiday following common law principles. Overall, these legal frameworks aim to ensure that victims of holiday accidents can access the compensation they deserve while simplifying the claims process. Your solicitor will help you to assess how best to proceed with your case and any appropriate legislation that might support your claim.

Most common holiday injuries

The most common types of injuries that may lead to a successful holiday accident claim include the following:

Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries are common injuries that can occur in all types of holiday accidents. These injuries can be caused by slips or trips, sporting accidents, car accidents and many other types of accidents. Examples of soft tissue injuries include:

  • Sprains: A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn, often after a sudden twisting or wrenching motion, causing pain, swelling, and bruising.
  • Strains: A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn due to overuse or sudden movement, causing pain, swelling, and limited mobility.
  • Contusions: Bruises occur when blood vessels are damaged, and blood leaks into the surrounding tissue, leading to pain, swelling, and skin discolouration.
  • Whiplash: Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that occurs when the head is suddenly jolted forward and then backwards, causing a strain or sprain to the neck muscles and ligaments. It can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility and is most often associated with car accident claims.


Fractures can occur from falls, sports injuries, or accidents involving cars, buses, motorbikes and other vehicles. The symptoms of a fracture can vary depending on the location and severity of the trauma but will usually include pain, swelling, deformity, limited mobility and numbness or tingling.

Treatment for fractures may include immobilisation of the affected area with a cast or brace, pain medication, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be required. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a fracture, as prompt treatment can help to prevent further damage and future complications.

Head injuries

Many types of holiday accidents can lead to head injuries, including:

  • Slip and fall accidents due to wet surfaces, uneven flooring, or obstacles in walkways;
  • Participating in sports activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, or water sports, can increase the risk of head injuries due to collisions or falls;
  • Road traffic accidents can cause head injuries if the person’s head hits the dashboard, steering wheel, or other parts of the car;
  • Bicycle accidents can result in head injuries if the rider falls off their bike and hits their head on the road or pavement;
  • Acts of violence, including physical assaults.

Head injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious skull fractures or traumatic brain injuries. These can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, and changes in mood and behaviour. Severe injuries can have life-changing consequences and can even be fatal.

Back and spinal injuries

Back and spinal injuries include any damage to the bones, muscles, or nerves in the back or spine. They can occur in many ways, including slips and falls, road accidents and water sports incidents. The consequences of back and spinal injuries can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury and include:

  • Chronic pain can be severe and affect your ability to perform daily activities;
  • Limited mobility or paralysis;
  • Nerve damage can lead to weakness or numbness in the affected area, which can also affect mobility and overall quality of life;
  • Bowel and bladder problems, resulting in incontinence or difficulty controlling bowel or bladder movements;
  • Emotional distress can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

The severity of the back injury and the resulting consequences can vary depending on the specific type of injury and its location in the back or spine and will determine how much holiday accident compensation you might be entitled to receive.

Burns and scalds

Burns and scalds are common types of holiday injuries that can be caused by:

  • Contact with hot surfaces or objects
  • Contact with flames or hot liquids
  • Sunburn from excessive exposure to the sun

The impact of burns and scalds can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Minor burns and scalds may result in redness, pain, and swelling. However, more severe burns and scalds can result in blistering, skin damage, and even nerve damage. In extreme cases, burns can lead to scarring and disfigurement, as well as long-term physical and emotional distress.

Cuts and lacerations

These injuries can be caused by hazards such as sharp objects, broken glass, and defective equipment. Their severity can range from minor cuts and grazes to deep lacerations requiring stitches or surgery. In some cases, these can lead to infection or scarring. It is essential to seek medical attention promptly and ensure the wound is properly cleaned and dressed to reduce the risk of complications.

Drowning or near-drowning incidents

These can occur during any water-based activities such as swimming, diving, or snorkelling. Near-drowning incidents can cause oxygen deprivation to the brain and can result in long-term brain damage, memory loss, and other cognitive impairments. In severe cases, drowning can lead to cardiac arrest and organ failure.

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after any type of holiday accident to ensure that injuries are properly diagnosed and treated. A medical record of your injuries will also serve as essential evidence if you decide to start a holiday compensation claim.

How long do I have to begin a holiday accident claim?

Generally, the time limit to make a personal injury claim in the UK is three years from the date of an accident. In situations where an illness or injury does not become immediately apparent after an incident, as could be the case with whiplash or food poisoning, the time starts to run from the date of knowledge. That refers to the moment you knew or should have reasonably known that:

  • You suffered an injury or illness
  • This was due to someone else’s negligence
  • The identity of the party responsible for your harm

Under the Limitation Act 1980, there are a few exceptions to the three-year limitation date to start a holiday accident claim in the UK. For example:

  • A parent or guardian can claim on behalf of a child at any time before they turn 18. Otherwise, the three-year time limit for making a claim only begins to run once the child becomes an adult. They can then claim compensation themselves up to their 21st birthday.
  • If the injured person lacks the mental capacity to start a holiday compensation claim, the time limit is suspended. A litigation friend could seek damages on their behalf at any point. The claimant may lack capacity due to an accident abroad or a pre-existing condition like an intellectual disability or mental health disorder.
  • If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you could claim holiday accident compensation within three years from the date of death or when you became aware of the cause of death.
  • If you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at sea, the Athens Convention 1974 sets a two-year time limit to start a claim. The same time limit applies if you suffered an injury on an international flight, including any accident that happened after passport control in an airport.

If you have to claim holiday accident compensation abroad, the time limit can vary depending on the country where the accident occurred and the specific circumstances of the case. For example:

  • There is a one-year time limit to make a personal injury claim in Spain, Greece and Thailand
  • There is a two-year time limit to start a claim in Italy and Ireland
  • There is a five-year time limit to claim in Belgium and the Netherlands

It is important to note that beginning the claims process as soon as possible is generally advisable, as this can help ensure that essential evidence is not lost and increases the chances of a successful outcome. Delaying the claims process may risk exceeding the limitation period, which could result in losing the right to claim compensation altogether.

Therefore, if you are considering making a holiday accident claim, seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is recommended to understand the time limits and ensure you take the necessary steps promptly.

Does it matter whether I had a package or a non-package holiday?

Yes, it can matter whether you had a package or non-package holiday when it comes to your legal rights and ability to claim compensation. If you booked your holiday independently, the claims process is typically more complex.

A package holiday is one where the traveller books all of the following at once and for one fixed sum, through a tour operator based in the UK:

  • Flights to and from the destination
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Taxes

In this case, any holiday accident claim would be made against the holiday company itself. This is due to the legislation outlined in The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992. Under these regulations, the tour operator may be held responsible for any accidents or injuries during your holiday, regardless of whether they were directly at fault. That means you may have a stronger case for claiming compensation.

These regulations offer guidance and protection for tourists and make it easier to secure compensation following an accident abroad. Before their introduction, pursuing compensation through the legal system of a foreign country was usually complex and time-consuming. To ensure that your holiday accident claim is dealt with quickly and effectively, you should report any incident at the resort or to the holiday company’s UK head office as soon as possible.

On the other hand, if you booked your travel independently, the package tour regulations do not offer protection, and your legal rights may be more limited. In most cases, if you have made direct bookings for travel and accommodation, the process may be more complex and require pursuing legal action in the particular country’s legal system.

In any case, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Injury solicitors have extensive experience supporting victims of accidents abroad in completing holiday compensation claims in a wide range of countries worldwide. They understand international legal systems and requirements and can advise you on the best course of action to take.

How much compensation could I claim for an accident on holiday?

The amount of compensation you could claim for an accident abroad or in the UK would depend on various factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the extent of your financial losses, and the specific circumstances of your case.

Before starting negotiations with the other side, your solicitor will consider all your losses to calculate the maximum compensation you could claim. Your settlement will typically cover two types of damages:

General damages are awarded for the injury or illness and take into account the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Psychological trauma
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of ability to pursue a hobby or social event

Special damages are awarded for all the financial losses and expenses associated with your holiday compensation claim, such as:

  • Medical expenses, such as costs for treatment, medication, rehabilitation, and any necessary medical equipment
  • Lost wages, if you were unable to work due to your injuries
  • Costs associated with travelling to and from medical appointments
  • The cost of any activities or reservation fees that you paid for but were unable to attend due to the accident
  • Loss of earning capacity, if you are left with a permanent disability
  • Costs of care and assistance during recovery

The compensation for general damages is awarded based on the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. You can see some examples of holiday accident compensation below:

  • Up to £4,050 for minor hand injuries such as soft tissue injuries with recovery within six months
  • Up to £8,740 for a moderate wrist injury, such as minor fractures that fully heal within two years
  • £33,430 to £111,690 for a severe arm injury resulting in some degree of disability
  • £10,890 to £16,380 for a shoulder injury such as a fractured humerus needing surgery
  • £11,730 to £26,050 for moderate back injuries that may result in an increased risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain
  • £186,890 to £240,590 for serious head injuries with reduced life expectancy, changes to personality and intellect and severe physical symptoms
  • £7,780 to £12,010 for minor leg injuries with recovery within a few months
  • £11,730 to £42,710 for moderate ankle injuries like ligament tears or fractures causing long-term mobility issues

A solicitor can give you a fair estimate of your holiday accident compensation prospects during a free case assessment over the phone. You can also use our compensation calculator to view examples of compensation amounts for many other injuries.

Can holiday accident claims be made using no win no fee?

Yes, you can make a holiday accident claim using a no win no fee arrangement. That means your solicitor will not charge any upfront fees and will only be paid if the case is successful.

In the event of a successful outcome, your solicitor will charge a success fee, which is a percentage of the compensation awarded to you. The success fee will be thoroughly discussed from the outset and is capped at 25% of your settlement.

By claiming holiday accident compensation on a no win no fee basis, you are also protected from paying any legal costs if your case fails. This protection is guaranteed by the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy that your solicitor will take out on your behalf before starting legal proceedings. In the event of a loss, ATE insurance will cover the costs and disbursements that you would otherwise be liable for, such as:

  • The defendant’s solicitor fees and legal costs
  • Court and council fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Cost of medical and police reports
  • Travel expenses
  • Paralegal, secretarial and other staff time
  • Barrister fees

The ATE policy is self-insuring, meaning you do not have to pay for the premium if your holiday accident claim is unsuccessful. If you win the claim, the defendant will have to cover most of your legal costs and disbursements, so you will not be left out of pocket in any case.

For a free case assessment of your holiday accident claim with a friendly and experienced solicitor, call 0800 032 3660 today. Alternatively, you can enter your details into the contact form below if you would prefer to receive a call back.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.