By Ben Rose, holiday claims expert, Neil Hudgell Solicitors.
As the summer season gets into full swing, many families will be looking forward to that much-anticipated break away, escaping to the sun, sea and sand of foreign lands for a week or two.
Whilst the adults might be happy enough to laze by the pool all day, chances are the kids might need a little more occupying and attention often turns to some of the local attractions, such as theme parks and waterparks.
Presented with a glossy brochure or website, families may be persuaded into booking excursions based on the strength of the images alone, which is often where problems can arise.
Although rides may appear controlled and well-maintained on the surface, safety regulations and standards abroad can often be less stringent than they are here in the UK. There have been several reports in the media lately, detailing horrific injuries sustained by holidaymakers abroad.
Dad-of-two, Jamie Norman, suffered serious injuries to his face, arms and legs after the trap door on a 60mph vertical slide didn’t open properly at the Aqualandia waterpark in Benidorm, Spain. Despite Mr Norman requiring medical attention, the slide re-opened after just 15 minutes.
Even more troubling was the death of a teenager who is believed to have fallen from the rollercoaster after a safety harness malfunctioned at nearby theme park, Terra Mitica,
Although rare, such incidents highlight the importance of carrying out detailed research ahead of visiting foreign attractions. The odd minor accident at such locations is, in all honesty, inevitable, but repeated reports of mechanical failures and dangerous near misses should instantly set alarm bells ringing.
Years of experience dealing with holiday claims has taught me that the great majority of travel companies protect themselves from accidents of this nature, particularly those involving alcohol or occurring within the resort complex. Loopholes included in the terms and conditions make it extremely difficult to make subsequent claims, so be sure to read the small print carefully when booking your holiday. Also watch out for excursions being sold by your rep in the resort. It may be that these are not covered under the package holiday.
And, above all, if you’re planning an adrenaline-fuelled day out when you get to your resport, ensure you have taken out a comprehensive insurance policy that covers the relevant activities. At least then, if, in the worst-case scenario, you do experience an accident abroad, you won’t be hit with a hefty medical bill for the privilege.