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Securing compensation for an injury suffered abroad might seem impossible, but there are specific regulations put in place to allow this to happen. If you have suffered an injury while travelling internationally, you may be able to claim compensation when you return to the UK due to conventions that are recognised by many countries across the globe. Personal injury solicitors will be able to use the ruling of such conventions to secure compensation for you, which may help you to get treatment or any other assistance you require.
The difficulty with claiming on travel injuries comes from the definitions of the different injuries, and the location you were at when the accident took place, as there are a few options that carriers can employ to reduce their liability. To assist with your understanding of this, read the following guide on the different conventions and regulations that UK solicitors can employ to help you claim compensation for your injury.
What are the Different International Travel Regulations?
Before beginning a compensation claim, you should seek advice about what rules are relevant to your injury. These differ depending on what type of trip you were injured on, and have varying requirements for success. The most prominent conventions that you may be eligible to claim under include:
- The Montreal Convention 1999 - for injuries incurred on carriage by air
- The Athens Convention 1974 - for injuries incurred on carriage by sea
- The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 - for packaged holidays that do not meet expectations and result in injury
These conventions not only outlined and introduced rules to which people can claim compensation by, but make the process more efficient and straightforward, as they outline regulations that solicitors in many countries can use to help those who have been injured.
Another regulation that is less commonly known about but which cover accidents that happen during travel is The Convention of International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), which applies in Europe, Maghreb and the Middle East, covering accidents suffered during international rail travel.
While not all countries have recognised these conventions as solid rules, it is important to seek specialist advice from lawyers that have an understanding of them so you receive the correct advice.
The Montreal Convention 1999
For injuries sustained by passengers on a plane, or during embarkation or disembarkation, the Montreal Convention 1999 may designate liability to the airline. The airline and its staff are ultimately responsible for your safety during a flight.
The convention does not just apply to aviation disasters, but also from incidents such as injuries caused by falling luggage from the overhead lockers, falls on the aircraft steps, being hit by the drinks trolley or burns from spilled hot drinks, for example. These are the most common examples of incidents which lead to successful Montreal Convention claims, and may be the easiest to prove. Eligibility extends to damage and loss of baggage, and even death.
The main difficulty that solicitors face when pursuing a case under the Montreal Convention 1999 is proving that an accident actually occurred. To do this, the passenger must be able to prove that:
The accident that caused injury or loss was unexpected, and was not caused by their own internal or bodily dysfunction
The accident took place on the aircraft, or during embarkation or disembarkation
Additionally, making a claim of this sort must be done within two years of the date that the accident happened, which is a strict and relatively short deadline, compared to other similar cases. The conventions also do not yet recognise psychological harm as grounds for a compensation claim, unless it is directly related to physical harm.
If you are injured during a flight, or during embarkation or disembarkation ensure you report the accident and your injuries to the airline staff and ask for a copy of the written accident report.
The Athens Convention 1974 and the Athens Regulation
The Athens Convention and Regulation help passengers who have suffered an injury or loss, during international travel by sea. This can be applied to ships, cruises, ferries or any other seafaring carrier that visit international ports.
Individuals who suffer an injury while on board a ship, or while embarking or disembarking, may be able to claim compensation, as the carrier is responsible for such damages. This also includes agents and workers onboard the ship.
The regime imposes a strict liability for injuries arising from shipping incidents, such as collision, capsizing, or an accident caused by a defect in the ship. Passengers will have to prove that they were injured on the ship and the circumstances of their injury. If injuries are sustained that are not because of a shipping incident, then it is still necessary to prove fault or neglect on the part of the carrier.
Any accidents or injuries suffered while in a port or other marine terminal and not onboard the ship will likely not be covered by the convention.
There are financial limits imposed under the terms of the regime, and it is, therefore, vital you seek specialist advice to understand these limits and how they interrelate with any contractual terms. There are also considerations to be given as to the appropriate place to pursue your claim, as you may have a choice of jurisdiction to consider.
Those involved in an accident have strict period of two years as of the date of disembarkation to begin a compensation claim.
For this reason, we recommend that if you are looking to claim compensation under the Athens Convention 1974, you contact legal experts for help as soon as possible. Visit our Cruise Liner Accidents page for more information on how JMW can help.
Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018
The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 cover package holidays, and mean that if you are injured or fall ill during a package holiday, you may be able to claim compensation from the tour operator with whom you booked your holiday. This is a huge advantage to consumers as it means you can bring a claim for compensation for a holiday accident in your local court, and the laws of England and Wales will apply.
An injured individual may be able to claim under the regulation if they booked and paid for their package holiday online, through information on a brochure, or through an agency.
The regulation places responsibility upon the tour operator to ensure your safety.
You should seek specialist advice to understand if the trip you booked satisfies the requirements of a package for the purposes of the regulation and what your rights of redress are. You may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and diminution in value of your holiday and any expenses incurred.
It is important to note that when assessing liability for your accident, the court will have to consider local standards of health and safety, rather than those of England and Wales.
JMW Can Help
If you have suffered an injury while travelling internationally, by air, sea, or any other way, you should contact the expert personal injury solicitors at JMW. We have a wealth of experience helping people recover compensation for injuries that were caused due to negligence, and our award-winning service has been recognised by the Legal 500.