Holidaygoers face lower compensation overseas
The Association of Personal injury lawyers has warned that many British holiday makers could be seriously under compensated if they suffer some form of personal injury whilst abroad and booked there holiday independently.
The travellers who avoid travailing via the holiday package system will have to claim for compensation via the countries own legal system - a process which can be long, drawn out and often very confusing. It also means that the damages awarded via the foreign legal system are calculated in a different way to the courts in England.
A national campaign has been launched to calling on the European Commission, (EC) to give the go ahead for people who suffer some forms of personal injury to be able to make a claim in their own country, rather than the country in which the injury took place.
In a statement released on the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, (APIL) website, John McQuater, president of the APIL, said it is crucial that the EC allows all personal injury victims access to their own country's legal system.
He said: "It is extremely important that people injured abroad are allowed to seek compensation in the country in which they live."
Different countries apply different laws
"A holidaymaker injured in Greece, for example, should be allowed to come home and claim for his injuries through the British courts."
Mr McQuater explained that as the law now stands, tourists on package holidays are protected by the package tour regulations, but those who book their own flights and accommodation, for example, are at risk of being under-compensated should they be injured, while away on their holidays. In fact anyone travelling independently, including students travelling during gap years, will be at risk.
Mr McQuater, said: "No matter how the injury was caused, people should have the right to claim in their own country."
It is very disappointing that the EC is only considering this option for road traffic accidents, when in fact it should be looking at all types of personal injury."
Mr McQuater went on to explain that compensation in one country may be calculated in a very different way from that of another.
Compensation calculations differ
Legal systems vary across Europe and compensation awarded in one country may not reflect the losses the victim may experience once he gets back home."
"Things like state benefits and salaries are taken into consideration when compensation is calculated, so it stands to reason that the most accurate way to compensate an injured person is to base the award on the victim's country of residence."
"Unless the EC decides to change the law, there is a real danger that people could lose out on the compensation they need to get their lives back together again, once they return home," he said.
With many shunning package holidays and trying to do it cheaper themselves more and more holiday makers will be travelling without the protection of being able to claim in the UK.
This summer could see a rise in the number of personal injury claims being made by holiday makers, in foreign countries, meaning that many could be grossly undercompensated by the foreign legal systems.