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How Can You Avoid Holiday Claim Time Limitations?

Spain, Turkey and Egypt are top of the list of destinations for travelling Brits who’ve suffered food poisoning and holiday illness outbreaks. But if this is a known fact, why is it that so many British holidaymakers have been deprived of thousands of pounds in compensation for holiday illnesses?

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The answer is time limits; but how can British holidaymakers who have fallen ill whilst overseas hope to make a claim or protect themselves from such laws in the first place?

How to Prepare in Advance

This same three-year rule applies to any holidaymaker who booked a package holiday with a UK-based tour operator. So if you’ve suffered a holiday illness on your package holiday in Spain, you have three years to pursue a claim. This is because you’re protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Read more information on time limits for pursuing claims and how our travel lawyers can help here.

For those with travel insurance and EHIC cards, any medical costs may have been covered in advance. The costs of a holiday illness may come as quite a shock, but even for the well-prepared traveller, an unforeseen illness could result in financial concerns you can’t plan for – such as time off work.

If you’ve been struck down by a holiday illness that wasn’t a package holiday, see our previous blog, Can I Claim Compensation if I Was Injured on a Non-Package Holiday?

The Trouble With Time Limits

Spain is currently Britain’s most popular holiday destination, with more than 12 million of us visiting Spain, the Balearics and Canaries in 2014. Foreign Office figures say that in the same year around 700 British holidaymakers received hospital treatment for injuries or illnesses. In May 2015, the travel law team at Slater and Gordon commissioned the research of 2,000 holidaymakers following a rise in the number of people seeking our help after falling ill abroad.

UK holiday makers should be cautious if they have an accident or illness in Spain, as in many cases where it wasn't a package holiday a one year time limit in which to commence court proceedings can apply. In most cases this time limit can be extended and in other cases longer time limits may apply and therefore we would always recommend injured people seek appropriate legal advice from a travel law expert when they arrive home.

When it comes to compensation claims for holiday illnesses and injuries suffered whilst abroad, it can sometimes be the case that people forget the same laws don’t apply overseas as they do at home. In the UK, if you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you have three years to file a personal injury compensation claim.


Joanne Berry is a senior travel litigation solicitor at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.

If you or your party suffer a holiday illness, our No Win, No Fee Solicitors can help you with your claim for compensation.

Call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.

From outside the UK please call +44 20 7657 1555.


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