Suffering an injury in a foreign country can be highly stressful and confusing, especially if it happens somewhere remote or with a language barrier, and during the time you are supposed to be enjoying. There are a number of steps you should take if you find yourself in this situation, which we outline in this guide.
It can be easy to panic after being involved in an accident abroad, but this can lead you to make mistakes that could prove costly, or avoid taking the proper steps required to get the support you require. The first thing to keep in mind is that you will most likely have options; take stock of your situation and try to best understand what your circumstances are and how your accident happened in the first place.
In many cases, you will be able to cover yourself financially by taking legal action - but before anything else, you should prioritise your health and safety.
As you would in any other situation involving an injury, seek medical attention from a doctor. You may be concerned if there is a language barrier or if the medical facilities are not up to a good standard. Regardless, most hospitals will do their best to admit you. If you are with other people, ask them to help you arrange your medical treatment. If you have been injured and are struggling to move, you should not attempt to do something yourself that may put you at risk of further injury.
Even if you feel fine after your injury abroad, you should not ignore the importance of seeking medical treatment. You may not realise the full extent of your injuries, which can be caused by the adrenaline that is a result of high-stress situations, such as an accident, or the symptoms may simply not have manifested yet. Regardless of your condition, seek attention from a medical professional to be sure that you are safe.
To contact the emergency services, research what the correct emergency number is for the country you are in. In many cases, this will either be 112, 911 or 999. If you have a modern mobile phone, it is most likely that it will already have the emergency number programmed in, and you should be able to locate it easily. You should also take steps to notify the nearest embassy to your hospital - the embassy staff will record your incident and this may help significantly if you decide to claim compensation.
If your injury was the result of a crime, you should notify the local police, and you may receive a visit from a police officer or an embassy staff member.
In the event of a serious injury, you may need to return to the UK for treatment. In this case, your repatriation will be arranged by the embassy or medical authority.
One of the most worrying factors for many British people when suffering accidents abroad is the reality of having to pay for medical expenses, compared to things that would otherwise have been covered by the NHS. Do not let medical bills dissuade you from seeking essential medical attention. In many personal injury cases, you will be able to claim compensation for your suffering - a compensation claim will help you to cover any medical expenses you incurred due to your accident abroad. Your priority should be to seek medical help to assure your health - the cost of this should not be a substitute for your health.
If you suffer your injury abroad in an EU country, you may also be able to claim free or reduced-cost healthcare if you hold a European health insurance card (EHIC) or global health insurance card (GHIC). To be extra safe, you should also take out travel insurance. Combined, these two factors will work to cover some or all of the medical costs you incur. These costs can be expensive, however, and you should do everything possible beforehand to make sure you can afford them.
Once you have made sure your health is in safe hands, consider whether your injury was the fault of a negligent party. If your accident abroad was caused by someone else, it is likely that you will be able to make a claim for compensation - many people are unaware of the fact that compensation claims can be valid even if you were not in the UK at the time of your injury.
To claim compensation, you will need to be able to prove two things:
To prove this negligence, you will need to gather supporting evidence, which our expert personal injury solicitors can help you to identify, collect and present.
If you were abroad as part of a package holiday and you suffered injury due to one of the activities, staff members, or in one of the locations of the package, the negligent party will most likely be the holiday provider.
If you were injured due to an organisation's activities, or due to a hotel stay, the organisations responsible for your safety and care will be the ones liable for your accident abroad claim.
When you call us, our solicitors will offer you practical advice on whether you can claim compensation, what steps you will need to take and how much compensation you may be able to secure. We will guide you through the entire process and help you to get the care you require.
For more information on holiday injury claims, call our accident abroad personal injury solicitors today for advice and support. Contact us on 0345 872 6666, or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.