Suffering an accident during a holiday, in addition to the immediate trauma, can have consequences and repercussions on daily life thereafter. As such it is advisable to seek consultation to obtain the fairest and fastest compensation possible.
Yearly vacations for most people is a hearty investment. After months of savings, planning, and excitement, it is traumatic to suffer an accident while on holiday, even more so if the injury is caused due to the negligence of others.
It is comforting to know that if you suffer an injury abroad you are entitled to compensation if requested, even if the recuperation process is more intimidating than if such an event were to happen in your home country.
The intervention of a lawyer who is familiar with the legalities of the country where the event occurs can expedite the process.
Common accidents to occur on holiday
While traveling, you can be subjected to all kinds of accidents which can undermine the joy of your holiday and thus motivate you to seek reimbursement for damages swiftly.
It is essential to document these potential incidents through photographs, retainment of receipts and accurate record-keeping of dates, places, circumstances, and witnesses.
Most common accidents incurred while on vacation:
- Accidents in hotels
- Accidents during guided tours
- Food poisoning
- Accidents during sporting activities
- Accidents while in transit
- Trauma or drowning in recreational waters (sea, pool, river, lake, spas)
In regards to medical care, it must be emphasized that while in the European Union there is a reciprocal pact between the various health systems which enables EU citizens the right to obtain medical attention in any EU state. However this changes when leaving these borders, and medical care can reach prohibitive costs quickly.
Such is the case in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Japan where the privatization of health means strong speculation on the provision of care.
Our advice is to take out health insurance before going on vacation abroad.
Each country has its distinct laws regarding incidents so that even with claims for compensation, it is necessary to adhere to local regulations.
The unforeseen circumstances of travel which do not relate to physical injuries, but are however very inconveniencing, can also compromise the joy of vacation.
Such inconveniences that may occur during a voyage can be anything from loss of baggage to flight cancellation, or to discrepancies in quality or quota of what was promised during booking. Some such inconveniences include:
- Failure to start: depending on the different reason underlying the situation described below, it is possible to recall various types of protection, diversified according to the original setting of the holiday (for example organized travel, tour operator, independent traveler, etc …);
- Trip cancellation of flight or ship.
- Flight delay (delays not attributable to the passenger, but to the airline; in such cases where the conditions required by the regulations are met, one is entitled to a reimbursement for pecuniary compensation (fair EU Regulation no. 261/2004) with which common rules have been established regarding assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, sudden and unexplained flight cancellation or prolonged delay. Additionally, it is also possible in Italy to recall the protection of the Passenger Rights Charter, established by ENAC – Italian Civil Aviation Authority.
The reimbursement for pecuniary compensation can range from €250.00 to €600.00 depending on the flight route and the national or transnational nature of the flight itself, in addition to the compensation for financial and/or non-pecuniary damage accrued due to the inconvenience occurred.
- Loss of luggage
- Insufficiencies of Hotel Standards
- Itineraries canceled during a cruise
All the items listed above fall into a category referred to as “ruined vacation damage”.
The first person to contact if something goes wrong on holiday is the person directly responsible for the respective feature of your trip, for example, the tour operator or hotel manager, in an effort to have the issue dealt with directly by them.
Accidents on holiday abroad
If you are not particularly familiar with driving, it is advisable to refrain from driving a vehicle while you’re abroad, as dealing with different driving regulations, signage, etc., may lead to hazardous events.
If you do choose to drive whilst abroad, one way of protecting yourself is to take out special insurance.
In Europe, there is a regulation, implemented in Italy in 2003 (D.Lgs.190 / 03), which protects travelers involved in road accidents while they are in one of the partner countries adhering to the green card (also known as the International Motor Insurance Card).
In these circumstances, by law, you can claim compensation from the foreign insurance plans of those who are at fault in the accident. This is always possible if the vehicles involved are insured in a member state of Europe.
Because every company is obliged by law to appoint a representative agent for all states of the SEE (European Economic Area), you can contact the appointed representative in the event an incident occurs.
In an effort to protect EU citizens involved in accidents, Europe has imposed the IDD directive (Insurance Distribution Directive), active in Italy since October 1st, 2018, which requires insurance companies in the Member States to provide minimum coverage that is the same for everyone.
The process, although understandably longer, is the same to follow in the case of a road accident in Italy.
In the event where you must find the company that insures a foreign vehicle involved in an incident, you can contact CONSAP (Automobile Public Insurance Services SPA) and speak to the authorized representative in our country.
After making contact with CONSAP, the claim process for reimbursement of damages begins and a reply will be delivered within three months. In the event of serious impediments to compensation (lack of reply by the insurer, incidents with uninsured vehicles, unidentifiable vehicles, etc.) CONSAP can provide for an Indemnity Body (compensation insurance).
Road accidents in a country not in compliance with the Green Card
If the incident occurs while you are on vacation in a foreign country (and in some cases also in European countries) that do not adhere to the Green Card, the procedure to be followed still involves sending a request for compensation to the company that insures the vehicle responsible for the accident.
As per time expectancy and procedure, it is impossible to make assumptions, and thus in these cases, it is advisable to rely on a professional who can follow up with the procedure and companies involved.
The burden of proof is in the hands of the claimant who must demonstrate (with evidence) that they are the victim of the accident.
Therefore, before making a claim, you must undergo certain formalities as they are required, such as medical examinations to understand the extent of the damage suffered.
Experience teaches us that whoever causes an accident tends to minimize their responsibility, thus the victim provide as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that incident in question happened as a result of the other party’s negligent behavior.
Most cases are resolved out-of-court when the other party accepts responsibility or does not contest. However, some cases are much lengthier and complicated, which is why the help of a lawyer who is an expert in personal injury and belongs to the jurisdiction in which the events occur is valuable.
If you, or one of your relatives, have suffered an accident on vacation, take action to assert your rights and receive what is owed before it is too late.
Our lawyers experienced in personal injury are accustomed to obtaining compensation from those responsible, getting you what is due for the physical, mental and financial losses suffered.
We also welcome you to contact us at the Boccadutri Law Firm if you feel that your holiday has been compromised by an unexpected event attributable to third parties and would like guidance or further information, please contact us here.