Being injured in an accident abroad can be traumatic. It can be confusing determining whether you should use a local or an Irish solicitor, and language barriers can add to the stress*.
However, if you were not to blame for the accident abroad, you may be able to claim for the injuries suffered and costs incurred. To enquire about your entitlement to claim, contact your trusted solicitor to discuss the process and answer any questions that you may have.
Accident and illness abroad claims guide
If you have been injured in an accident or suffered an illness abroad, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Here is a guide to help you with some of the questions you may have:
- How to claim damages for an accident or illness abroad: To start your claim, all you have to do is contact a personal injuries solicitor for an initial consultation. They will discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident or illness and advise you on whether or not you can claim
- Appearing in court abroad: When an accident or illness occurs in another country, you can often make the damages claim in Ireland, especially if the organisation involved is based here or in the EU. However, most claims are settled without the need for a personal court attendance, even after formal legal proceedings have been issued.
- Time to make a claim: Whereas in Ireland you may have two or more years from the date of the accident to make a claim, time periods may be shorter for accidents that occur in other countries, so consult your solicitor as soon as possible.
- Time to settle a claim: Claims may take months or years, depending on such factors as the complexity of the case, the level of damages involved, and whether the other party accepts responsibility.
Common Types of Accident or Injury Whilst Abroad
There is array of ways in which a person can suffer an accident resulting in injury whilst abroad. Below we take a look at some of the more common accident types and how to bring a claim for injuries arising from an accident.
Injuries and accidents abroad or on holiday
Holidays are meant to be a time to relax and enjoy yourself. It can be upsetting to suffer illness while you are on holiday, but you may be able to claim financial compensation, if your holiday sickness was caused by somebody else’s negligence.
Here are some common causes of holiday sickness and illness:
- Food poisoning
- Illness caused by contaminated water
- Illness caused by counterfeit or poor quality medication
- Flying too soon after surgery (increases the risk of blood clots)
Traveling to another country for medical care has become a common occurrence due to the lower cost of medical treatment in other countries. People often travel overseas for cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery, for example. It is important to be aware of the risks of these procedures before you travel.
- Check the qualifications and the credentials of the care provider.
- Secure a written agreement of the treatments, care, and costs before you go.
- Find out the legal remedies open to you if anything goes wrong.
- If you are going to a place where you do not speak the language, determine how you will communicate with your care providers.
- Bring copies of your medical records, detailing any allergies you may have.
- Get copies of all your prescriptions and medicines, including their generic names.
If you have been injured in an accident at sea, you could be eligible to claim for financial compensation. Whether you are a cruise ship passenger, a ferry passenger, or you work at sea, you are entitled to be shown a duty of care from the operators of the ship. You should be protected against the risk of accident and injury
Cause of accidents at sea and cruise injuries
Accidents at sea and cruise injury claims can happen for reasons including the following:
- Accidents embarking or disembarking (getting on and off the ship)
- Defective or poorly maintained equipment
- Slips, trips and falls
- Insufficient staff training
- Poor weather conditions
- Poor decision-making
Whether you have been injured in an accident at sea as a passenger or crew member, you may be able to make a claim if you can prove that the operators of the ship failed to fulfill their duty of care toward you or showed negligence. Consult a solicitor for further advice on pursuing an accident at sea or cruise injury claim.
Holiday accidents can ruin a relaxing break away, but you may be able to claim for any injury you suffer, if you can prove that the accident was due to somebody else’s negligence.
Common Causes of Holiday Injury & Illness
- Food poisoning
- Illness caused by contaminated water
- Injuries suffered when using substandard equipment
- Slips or falls around swimming pools
- Unsafe accommodation
- Road traffic accidents
- Snow sports accidents
The Package Holidays and Travel Act 1995 is the law that outlines the circumstances in which a person injured on a foreign package holiday organised by an Irish company can make a holiday accident claim in Ireland. All claims are reviewed by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board before being settled or going to court. It is important to consult a solicitor in Ireland as soon as possible after the accident.
Many people are unaware of their rights when they are involved in a road traffic accident abroad. If you have been injured in a car accident in the EU, the EU Fourth Motor Insurance Directive (2000/26/EC) allows you to bring a claim against the defendant and the defendant’s insurers in the country where you live.
Here are some things you need to consider when bringing a claim for personal injury in Ireland arising out of a road traffic accident abroad:
- The Statute of Limitations in Ireland gives you two years to bring a claim for personal injury, but the time limits imposed in the country where the accident happened may be different.
- The level of financial compensation awarded is usually set by the country where the accident happened.
The complex issues involved in dealing with a road traffic accident abroad mean it is a good idea to consult a solicitor for advice on how to proceed. You also need to notify your insurance provider of the accident immediately.
If you have been the victim or the relative of a victim of a terrorist attack abroad, nothing can fully compensate for the trauma you have suffered. However, victims, survivors and their families may be able to make a claim for financial damages for the physical and psychological damage of a terrorist attack.
There are systems in place to help you get the support you need if you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a terrorist attack. A committed personal injury solicitor will handle your claim with compassion and sensitivity, prioritising your well-being at all times.
If you have been injured while working abroad, you may be able to claim for damages if you can prove the accident was caused by your employer’s negligence.
Just because you are working for an Irish company, it doesn’t mean that you are working in Ireland. Companies are becoming increasingly global, so if you are injured or become unwell following an accident while working for your employer abroad you may be entitled to claim.
You will need to prove that your employer or another employee was responsible for causing the accident through negligence or a breach of duty of care. This can be a complex area, so consult an experienced solicitor for further advice.
If you've been assaulted abroad, you may believe you have to put the event behind you. However, you could have grounds to make a claim for damages for the injuries you suffer. An assault abroad can be a traumatic experience, but compensation could help you to get your life back to normal .
These are some of the assault abroad claims your solicitor may be able to help you with:
- Gun attacks
- Rape and sexual assault
- Terrorist attacks
Even if you have not sustained a serious physical injury, you may still be entitled to make a claim for the psychological effects of your attack. Damages could help you pay for medical treatment or cover any losses you suffer from not being able to work.
Nobody wants to get food poisoning, but getting it on holiday is particularly unfortunate. If you become ill with food poisoning while on holiday because of poor levels of hygiene or improperly cooked food, you could be eligible to claim damages.
Food poisoning on a package holiday
If you booked a package holiday through an Irish tour operator, you are covered by the Package Holidays and Travel Act 1995. Its regulations may allow you to claim compensation from the hotel or tour operator responsible for your illness.
Tour operators are legally obliged to ensure that the hotels they work with follow general hygiene procedures and follow international food safety standards. If they breach this duty of care, and you become sick as a result, you could be able to claim against them.
However, not all cases of food poisoning are the result of the tour operator’s negligence. For your claim to succeed, you must prove they were responsible for supplying the contaminated food or poor levels of hygiene that caused your sickness.
If you wish to pursue a holiday food poisoning claim, you should:
- Seek medical help immediately.
- Keep receipts for any medication you buy.
- Report your sickness to your tour representative or the hotel management.
- Photograph any areas with markedly poor levels of hygiene.
- Get contact details from any other guests with similar experiences.
- Record everything you ate and where, in the 48-hour period before you became ill.
- Contact your GP when you return home
A snow sports holiday is usually an invigorating experience, but accidents can happen. Most winter holiday makers are not unaccustomed to the slopes, so they are at an increased risk of suffering an injury. If you have been injured in a snow sports incident, you may be entitled to make a claim if you can show that somebody else’s negligence caused the accident.
Different countries often can have different rules and regulations around snow sports accident claims. However, recent changes to European law mean that more compensation claims can be pursued through the Irish courts against insurers based in EU member states.
For claims against parties outside the EU, you may be able to pursue claims directly against insurers and other parties, but it can be complex. That is why it is so important to consult a good solicitor if you've been in a snow sports accident.
Common causes of snow sports claims are:
- Collisions between skiers and snowboarders
- Injuries involving ski lifts and other machinery
- Faulty or poorly set up ski equipment
- Accidents caused by poor tuition
- Avalanches and piste management
Collisions between skiers and snowboarders
Skiers or snowboarders colliding with each other is the most common reason why snow sports accidents happen. Most of the responsibility for the accident usually lies with the person uphill because the person downhill is unaware of who is behind them.
Witnesses may be vital for proving which skier or snowboarder caused the collision. It is also important for skiers and snowboarders to stay within their capabilities and to make every effort to avoid fellow slope-users. If you’re involved in a collision, get contact details of the people involved and any witnesses.
Injuries involving ski lifts and other machinery
When properly maintained and operated, ski lifts, snowmobiles, and piste machinery should not cause injury. Unfortunately, inadequate maintenance, poor instruction by lift attendants, or badly located chair lifts can cause accidents.
Other accidents involving machinery include collisions with snowmobiles travelling in the direction of approaching skiers. Machinery operators are responsible for the safety of others on the slopes. The ski resort is also responsible for its employees’ negligence, so if you have suffered an injury involving ski machinery, you may be able to claim compensation.
Defective or incorrectly set ski equipment
Serious injuries can occur if the bindings attaching the ski boot to the ski don’t release as they should. This safety mechanism should prevent injury if you fall, but if the skis or bindings are defective or staff at the ski shop did not set them properly, it could cause injury instead. Depending on how you booked your ski hire, you may be able to claim against the operator or against the ski shop itself.
Accidents due to poor tuition
Ski instructors are responsible for ensuring that classes contain skiers of similar ability and that the slopes they choose are of an appropriate level of difficulty for their students. They must also provide adequate guidance on the slopes. If you suffer an injury because of the instructor’s negligence, you could make a claim against the tour operator the lesson was booked through, or against the instructor’s employers or insurers.
Avalanches and piste management
Of course, snow sports are never entirely risk-free, so hazards may arise when conditions become dangerous. Operators and local municipalities are generally responsible for ensuring that their slopes are in a suitable condition to minimise these hazards.
Piste operators should alert skiers and snowboarders to:
- Poor slope conditions
- Adverse weather conditions
Piste operators are also usually required to maintain and mark slopes appropriately. The consequences could be dire if skiers and snowboarders are not informed of the risks from conditions, or if routes are not maintained properly.
It does not matter where in the world you receive treatment, medical professionals have a duty of care to patients. If you have suffered as a result of medical negligence abroad, your lawyer may be able to help you to make a claim. Medical negligence can apply whether you became unwell or injured on holiday, while working, or travelling specifically for medical care. Here are some of the situations in which you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence abroad:
- Treatment after a slip, trip or fall
- Treatment after a snow sports accident
- Treatment after a road traffic accident
- Birth injuries
- Emergency admissions
- IVF treatment
- Cosmetic surgery
- Dental treatment
Claims for medical negligence are complex, but when you are claiming for medical negligence abroad, it can get even more difficult. That’s why it helps to have a legal expert on your side to help you with the process, so that you can concentrate on your recovery.