If you have had an accident or been injured whilst you are on holiday abroad through no fault of your own, it is only reasonable and right that you should be able to some damages for another person's or organisation's negligence. There may be several options open to you depending on what actually happened. In the case of road traffic accidents there may be the option of suing the driver's insurance company. If an accident occurred during a package holiday there may be the option to sue the tour operator if the hotel's lack of adequate safety standards was instrumental in causing the accident. However, you should be aware that as far as safety standards are concerned, local standards apply, so if the hotel is constructed to a lower standard than generally found in England, for example, non-slip tiles may not have been installed around a swimming pool or thin glass may have been fitted to glass doors as opposed to shatterproof glass; you should be aware if the more robust safety measures are not usually present in the country you are visiting the hotel may not be deemed negligent.

Also, the tour operator will not be deemed to have failed in their duty of care by booking customers into a hotel that applies those lesser safety standards unless the standards are such that a reasonable guest may be expected to decline to take a holiday in the hotel had they realised that such standards prevailed prior to the holiday. In that case, should the lower safety standards be linked to an accident there will be liability. If such a case is brought against the tour operator it will fall to the injured party to demonstrate either that the hotel has safety standards below those normally applied in the country in which the hotel is located or no reasonable guest would choose to stay in the hotel once they were aware to the low safety standards.

There are international standards that are applicable, for example, in the case of food poisoning the international hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) system is generally accepted by the vast majority of hotels and local standards would not apply.

It is most important to make sure that you collect evidence to support your assertion that the accident was as a result of negligence. Photograph the hazardous environment that caused the accident for example broken equipment, or lack of signage in slippery situations e.g. no signs pointing out that a tiled floor is being or had just been cleaned and may be wet.

Holidaymakers are advised to make some background checks if they are visiting a country that they suspect may not share the same safety standards that they are accustomed to.

Finally, if you are asked to sign a waiver absolving the tour operator of any responsibility in the event of an accident for a particular excursion it should be regarded with extreme caution.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.