Accidents are one of the most unwelcome things in life and they are not always unfortunate unavoidable events; negligent individuals and organisations are frequently responsible. Now the airlines are now operational again and the tourist destinations are opening up again the potential for accident arises and possibly increases slightly due to the capacity for some deterioration due to lack of use during the lockdown. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 3.8 million UK residents normally travel to Europe each year, of that number approximately one in 20 visitors will have an accident. There will be a sharp decline in the number of tourists and travellers due to the coronavirus crisis; it remains to be seen whether there will be proportionately fewer avoidable accidents or whether the restrictions of lockdown will result in recklessness and negligence on the part of some people. The most common causes of accidents resulting in injuries to holidaymakers abroad are sports activities or traffic accidents.
If you have the misfortune to be injured overseas a simple guide as to whether the accident was the fault of others is the "but for..." test. If you accident would not have occurred "but for" the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of others that you could not have predicted or avoided it is possible that you may have a claim for compensation for your injuries. Accidents obviously range from a relatively minor inconvenience the a major catastrophe with varying degrees attached to the necessity of obtaining compensation.
Giambrone's personal injury team are well aware that any person attempting to obtain damage for the foreseeable future will be faced with not only the aftermath of the coronavirus and the economic as well as the personal devastation it has caused but also the radical changes faced by the final run to the complete separation from Europe which is increasing looking as if the potential for a no-deal Brexit has returned. The Hague Convention is likely to be the more significant arena for a range of legal actions but not all countries are signed up to it. The UK took steps in December 2018 to ensure that it will become party to the Convention, in its own right, immediately after the proposed date for Brexit. The UK became a Contracting State on 1 November 2019 to ensure the continuity of cross-border legal matters.
It will become imperative to engage the services of a law firm with Giambrone's capacity to be heard before a range of courts in a range of jurisdictions. Piero Mastrosimone, head of the personal injury team, commented "it is all the more imperative for an injured party to gather as much information as possible surrounding the causes and circumstances of their accident, together with the contact details of any potential witnesses." Piero suggests that the following information is obtained at the time or as close to the time of the accident:
- Photograph and document all the surroundings and relevant factors involved in the accident, including your own footwear and clothing as soon as possible.
- Where appropriate report the incident to the local police.
- Ask for the contact details of all potential witnesses, including the medical staff and the police.
- Visit any shops or other commercial premises where staff may have had sight of the accident for potential witnesses.
- Return to the site of the accident after time and take note (and photographs) of any attempt to hide or repair dangerous areas or items, or add items such as safety signs to create the impression that the victim was to blame.
- Obtain documentation and reports from medical and police sources regarding your injuries.
- Write contemporaneous notes outlining the entire incident, if possible signed by your witnesses.
- Where appropriate inform the British consulate or embassy.
- Ask the manager of the hotel/restaurant/bar/nightclub where the accident took place for details of their insurance and legal team.
If you believe your accident was not your fault you are entitled to receive compensation for the injuries and the consequences arising from the injuries such as a prolonged period away from work, limitations you may suffer when playing sport, or a musical instrument due to lack of dexterity or strength, a faculty may have been damaged or your ability to concentrate may be limited. If you were on holiday and an accident prevented you from continuing your holiday or significantly impeded your enjoyment you are also entitled to compensation for that loss.
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.