Cape Verde holidaymakers claim for serious harm

Three British holidaymakers are undertaking holiday accident claims against a tour operator after they sustained serious injuries on a beach in Cape Verde.

The injuries occurred in three separate incidents, when each of the Claimants was struck by waves on a private stretch of coast at Riu Touareg, a five-star resort in Boa Vista.

Why are they taking legal action?

Although there were flags in place indicating it was safe to enter the sea, the waves were so powerful that they caused the holidaymakers to be injured. Two sustained serious fractures to their legs, whilst the other had fractures to her spine.

It is believed that several other holidaymakers have been injured on the same beach.

All three Claimants were hospitalised and had to undergo surgery. The Claimants continue to have difficulties with mobility and experience ongoing pain.

Because the flagging system indicated it was safe to swim, those responsible for that system may be found liable for the Claimants' injuries.

Tour operators' duty of care

The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 introduced the right for injured Claimants to pursue a claim against a package tour operator through Courts the UK.

The Regulations aim to ensure that Claimants do not incur difficulties in trying to pursue several different foreign suppliers, with which they have no direct contract.

Under Regulation 15, the UK tour operator is liable for the proper performance of the contract, including liability for the actions of its agents abroad. This means it has a responsibility to ensure the foreign suppliers perform their respective parts of the contract to a reasonable standard, or it may face a direct claim by a customer for any damage caused.

This includes ensuring that the beaches they are sending holidaymakers to have suitable safety measures in place to reduce the risk of accidents.

Details of the Cape Verde case

Swimming and water sports in Cape Verde are heavily advertised and are a main attraction for many guests.

In this case, the UK-based tour operator sold holidays to the Riu Touareg resort on the island of Boa Vista.

The travel company also advertised the private beach nearby, where it is believed that the accidents took place. It was alleged that the tour operator should have made sure that appropriate warning systems were in operation for the protection of their guests.

The tour operator has continued to deny responsibility for the injuries sustained by the Claimants, and court proceedings have been issued.

Whilst the travel company is directly liable to the consumer for any loss or damage sustained, the tour operator is may be entitled to pursue a separate claim for reimbursement against the foreign provider.