Restricted personal injury claim cut-off points are catching British holidaymakers out who are injured abroad
Hugely popular with British tourists annually, holidaymakers planning on jetting off to Spain this summer are being afforded the timely heads up on a small legality which could end up costing them a small fortune in the long run should they fall victim to injury or illness whilst visiting what is officially classed as THE most visited destination for holidaying Brits.
Legal experts are warning those intending to travel to Spain to be well aware of the country’s regimented (and strictly observed) one-year time limit with regards to personal injury compensation claims. Specifically important for those non-package tourists heading out there this year (and beyond) is a reminder that Spain – including its islands (the Balearics and Canaries) – impose this often-overlooked stipulation when it comes to the period immediately after sustaining an injury/contracting an illness; in terms of following it up with a claim.
According to reports, some 12 million Brits made a bee-line for Spain and its islands in 2014, whilst the Foreign Office report that almost 700 of us were in receipt of hospital treatment after suffering either from sickness or injury.
Yet very few holidaymakers understand that of those who book their hotels and flights directly (as opposed to package arrangements) there is a strictly adhered to claim processing/compensation-seeking cut-off point which stands at 12 months; should they become ill or injured during their stay in Spain.
An underlying fact that a lot of holidaymakers aren’t privy to from the outset due to Spain being out of kilter with the acknowledged claim duration periods flagged up by other popular tourist destinations across Europe; with France being a point in question, where some claims have a post-accident compensation claim period of up to 10 years after the event.
One leading personal injury claims firm admits that it’s seen a significant volume of enquiries from injured holidaymakers who have unwittingly fallen foul of this largely unheard of time restraint, which is of concern to them.
Indeed the firm acknowledges just how challenging the ensuing situation can be when a spokesperson representing it says; “It can be really difficult to have to tell someone that they have missed their chance to claim by only a few weeks or months, especially if they are still recovering.”
Outlining just how vital it is to instigate compensation proceedings with a personal injury claims specialist as soon as possible, this particular company stresses; “In reality, an injured person should contact a lawyer to start their claim some months before the year has elapsed and ideally as soon as possible.”
Experts point out that the time limit applies to the actual date at which a claim was filed with a Spanish court. Of course here in the UK the playing field is entirely different, whereby injured or ill holidaymakers are afforded a three year window in which to trigger a claim, which is possibly what some tourists have in the back of their minds if and when they are struck down by a range of potential issues while holidaying abroad.
This false assumption has a nasty habit of costing people dearly though, which is why the scenario is being highlighted here and now; and going on to explain that should individuals or families have booked their flights and hotels separately (an increasingly popular way in which to organise trips) then they are subject to the local laws from the outset.
A leading personal injury claims solicitor offered their advice on the best way to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this, starting with the suggestion that you look to book a package holiday over all alternatives; not least because of the more expansive rights and support received if something should take a turn for the worse while you’re away.
They also make a point of reminding tourists of the vital role a dedicated travel insurance policy plays, whilst also reminding people to always contact your holiday rep when things take a turn for the worse. In addition to this, the Foreign Office also reminds holidaymakers of their responsibilities which should be sorted a long time before you arrive at the airport, chiefly doing our homework on the country we’re visiting beforehand.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said; “Plan your trip using our foreign travel checklist, learn about the laws, customs and entry requirements of the country you’re visiting using our foreign travel advice and make sure you have the right travel insurance.”