You have everything booked, your belongings already packed, and you are ready to go on holiday. You have arrived at your destination and are enjoying your holiday, but unfortunately you suffer personal injury during your holiday, confronting you with medical expenses, for example. Do you have to bear all these costs yourself? The real question is who is liable for the damages you suffer as a result of your injuries.
Injury on holiday at home
A holiday at home is very popular this year. Many Dutch people decide to go on holiday at home due to the uncertainty caused by the corona virus. There is plenty to do in the Netherlands. You can go cycling on Ameland, take walks on the Veluwe or go to an amusement park. Unfortunately, you suffer personal injury during your holiday.
During the summer months, most people go on holiday. As a result, it is very busy on roads and cycle paths. As a result, many traffic accidents occur. For example, a motorist hits another car from behind or a cyclist is hit by a motorist. Who can you then recover your material and immaterial damages from?
All motor vehicles in the Netherlands must have liability insurance. In the event of a road accident, you must fill in a collision form. This contains all the details of the parties involved, such as their contact details and with whom they are insured. The victim will then know which insurer he can recover his personal injury claim from. It is also wise to take photos and/or videos of the scene of the accident.
Special rules apply to cyclists and pedestrians who are hit by a motorist. Because they are weaker road users, at least 50% liability is assumed. This is different only in cases of force majeure on the part of the motorist.
Injury in a swimming pool
If the weather is nice at your holiday destination, you go to the swimming pool or a water park, for example. At the pool, you are walking, but the floor is very slippery. As a result, you fall hard and suffer personal injury. You break your arm, for example. Or there is insufficient supervision while the pool is very crowded. This causes the staff to realise too late that someone is drowning.
In that case, you can hold the swimming pool liable for this personal injury. This is because the swimming pool should ensure that, among other things, the pool floor is properly maintained. Also, the pool must ensure that there are enough staff if there are a lot of crowds. If the pool fails to meet these obligations, it will be liable for the injuries you have suffered. This is because if the floors were properly maintained or if there was more supervision, you would not have suffered an injury.
Injury on holiday abroad
Instead of holidaying in your own country, you can actually go on a sun holiday to a faraway country. Here, you unfortunately fall down slippery steps at a swimming pool, breaking your foot, or you step on glass on the beach. If you suffer personal injury while abroad, you will have to deal with many unfamiliar issues. You do not speak the local language, and you do not know the rules governing personal injury in that country.
In most cases, you as the injured party have travel and/or cancellation insurance. You can then rely on this to get compensation. However, often these insurances do not cover your entire damages unless you have extended this coverage. Unfortunately, this extended coverage often still does not ensure that your entire damage is covered. You can then hold other parties liable to get your personal injury compensation.
Often a package holiday is bought from a travel organisation, for example D-Reizen or TUI. This package holiday is an agreement consisting of different parts of travel services. Think of accommodation, transport, car rental and so on.
Suppose you suffer personal injury during one of these travel services, the travel organisation from whom you bought your package holiday will be liable. This was recently ruled by the Court of Justice. In the case before the court, a holidaymaker had been assaulted and raped by a hotel employee. This involved the hotel employee of the hotel that was in the holidaymaker’s package deal. For this incident, the holidaymaker could hold the tour operator with whom she entered into the package holiday agreement liable. You can also hold the travel service liable for other accidents that happen to you at one of the travel services in your package holiday. An example is if a staircase in the hotel is not stable enough, causing you to fall.
With a package holiday, you can therefore receive compensation if you have suffered personal injury. Even if the person who caused your injury is not under the direct control of the tour operator with whom you booked your package holiday. This is because you entered into a package holiday agreement with the tour operator. Therefore, they bear responsibility for what happens at those various travel services.
In a traffic accident between, say, two motorists abroad (within Europe), the same applies as a traffic accident in your own country. This has been discussed under the heading ‘injury on holiday at home’.
However, there are some differences. For example, the parties involved in the road accident have to fill in the European claim form in case of an accident within Europe. In your own country, you can then proceed with the claim. In addition, in your own country, you should approach the Dutch representative of the other party’s insurer if the other party is not Dutch.
Have you suffered personal injury and need the assistance of a lawyer? Please contact Elfi Letselschade Advocaat for a free consultation without any obligations.
Written by Mrs S.P. (Sasha) Versteeg