Holiday accidents and illness claims

Holidays are usually a time for relaxation and enjoyment. They are viewed as an essential part of our hectic lifestyles and are something we look forward to.

Most holidays pass without any problems but there are situations whereby someone becomes ill or injured through no fault of their own. The impact of this in some cases can be catastrophic.

The consequences of an accident whilst abroad can be long term even permanent. A mild injury can affect the quality of your holiday but more serious injuries can mean a ruined holiday plus time off from work which impacts in other ways.

This is likely to impact upon your income and your lifestyle in general. If one of you has become ill or injured and is away from work then the corresponding loss of earnings may cause financial hardship. Plus there may be additional expenses such as medical costs, trips to hospital, specialist services such as physiotherapy etc.

Types of claims for compensation whilst on holiday abroad

If you have fallen ill or been injured as a result of an accident whilst on holiday then you can consider making a claim for compensation. Most claims for holiday compensation abroad include:

  • Road accidents abroad, e.g. car or cycling accidents
  • Falls and trips
  • Sports accidents, e.g. skiing, watersports etc
  • Injuries sustained in the hotel
  • Illnesses such as Legionnaire’s disease, food poisoning etc
  • Injury sustained on a cruise ship or a boat trip

Any claim made will be for the injury or illness itself plus the time and inconvenience caused. It will also cover loss of earnings and any other additional expenses.

Making a claim for compensation from a holiday accident or illness whilst abroad

It used to be the case that if you were injured whilst on holiday abroad that you would have to pursue a claim for compensation in the country where it occurred. This was often a long drawn out and costly experience.

But legislation has been brought in which enables injured parties to claim for holiday compensation through the UK courts. This is known as ‘Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992’.


However, if you have devised your own package holiday, for example choosing accommodation and flights over the internet then you may not be covered by this.

If you decide to use a tour company then check to see if they are covered by this legislation. If not then consider travel insurance instead as this should protect you in case the worst happens.


If you decide to make a claim then you have the choice of using a claims assessor (also known as a claims management company), a personal injury lawyer or a solicitor.

These and other aspects of the claims process is discussed further in our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for a holiday accident or illness abroad

There is a limit of 3 years for making a compensation claim as a result of a holiday accident or illness.

Personal Injury Guide

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