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What to do if you get injured on holiday and how might this change after Brexit

Whether you’re looking to jet off on an activity-packed winter getaway or are planning your dream summer holiday, having the correct travel insurance is extremely important, and could save you a substantial amount of money in the case of an unfortunate accident.

However, according to research conducted by ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association,  almost 10 million British holidaymakers fail to take out the correct travel insurance when they travel overseas, putting themselves at risk of having to pay medical bills that could potentially cost thousands.

With the UK still facing uncertainty around what could happen post-Brexit, here is our advice on what to do if you get injured on holiday, and how this could change once Britain leaves the EU.

Take out travel insurance that covers every eventuality

When planning your holiday, always look to take out a suitable level of travel insurance. Don’t just buy the cheapest or most basic policy, make sure it’s the right fit for you and your holiday. Otherwise, you may find that you’re only covered up to a certain amount or not covered at all in some circumstances. In most cases, travel insurance will only cover associated medical costs as well as lost luggage and flight delays, not compensation for pain or suffering, or loss of earnings.

Having a suitable insurance policy will allow you to receive the correct medical care and may help you reclaim some associated expenses.

Understand when to seek medical care

For some injuries, such as broken legs, head injuries, knee injuries and dislocated joints, it is highly likely that you will need medical attention, so contact the resort’s emergency service as a first port of call.

Should you have suitable travel insurance or an EHIC, you shouldn’t need to worry too much about medical costs. However, if you don’t, you or someone acting on your behalf will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ Overseas Healthcare Team to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate. This proves you’re entitled to an EHIC and can be used to get the same cover.

Gather evidence

Ask a member of your party to gather as much evidence as possible. Whether this is noting down names and contact details of witnesses or taking pictures of the accident site and your injuries, it could come in handy further down the line. If possible, write up what happened to cause your injury in as much detail as you can and remember to keep records of when you visited a doctor, clinic or hospital, and keep hold of any accident-related expenses.

Report the incident and know your rights

If you’re on a package holiday, report your accident to the holiday organiser or their resort representative. You should also take a look at your consumer rights when booking a package holiday.

After you have established the facts of the accident, you will need to decide whether or not you report it to the local police. As well as this, you should contact your travel insurance provider as early as possible. They will advise about your medical and legal situation. It’s important to never admit liability or engage in any correspondence without the advice of a qualified solicitor or lawyer that specialises in this area of law.

What to do when you get home

The full impact of an injury suffered on holiday might not become apparent until you arrive home. Some injuries can leave people unable to work and facing potential loss of earnings. Sometimes further expenses can be incurred in order to receive essential rehabilitation. If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you could be eligible for compensation. We would advise speaking to a solicitor that specialises in this area of law as soon as possible to find out if they’re able to help you.

Will this advice change after Brexit?

Much will depend on the final terms of any Withdrawal Agreement, if an agreement can be reached, and much uncertainty remains. If a deal is agreed, the EHIC scheme should still be effective during the originally planned transition period (29 March 2019 – 31 December 2020). It is also envisaged, if a deal is agreed, that a similar form of reciprocal healthcare arrangement will exist after 31 December 2020 as the Government has introduced The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill, which should allow the EHIC scheme to continue.

Travel insurers, understandably, are still carefully considering the terms of the policies they will provide post-Brexit. We will need to wait and see what the Brexit outcome is but holidaymakers will need to carefully consider whether the travel insurance policy they are taking out actually covers them for their specific holiday.

Depending on the terms of any Withdrawal Agreement, if any, the ability for an English domiciled individual to bring any claim for injuries and consequential losses in England could be affected. Specialist legal advice will certainly be required to understand the complex legal issues that Brexit will bring about.

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