Seeking treatment is critical for injuries and illness abroad

Minor injuries and illnesses sustained while on holiday are often left untreated. Unfamiliarity with foreign healthcare providers leads many travellers to postpone treatment until they return to the UK. Delaying treatment however can result in a worsening of symptoms and lasting damage.

Getting medical treatment for even minor injuries is recommended by both healthcare professionals and personal injury solicitors.

The cost of delayed treatment

In a recent, ongoing case a holidaymaker in Egypt cut his toe on the lining of the hotel pool. The wound was bandaged but no further treatment was sought until the man returned home. He was subsequently admitted to hospital and diagnosed with a severe bone infection. Part of the man's foot was amputated. Due to the ongoing effects of the infection, including back pain, the man was unable to work and left his job.

Holiday injuries requiring such drastic treatment are rare, but even in more common cases of holiday illness or injury, including food poisoning, seeking proper medical care as soon as possible is strongly recommended.

Prevention and treatment of food poisoning

Gastric illnesses can result from poor hygiene on the part of hotel staff, undercooked food, and contaminated water supplies and pools. The most frequently diagnosed illnesses include e-coli, cryptosporidium, salmonella and shigella.

Travel guides give valuable advice on prevention, such as drinking only bottled water, but arranging appropriate travel insurance remains a key piece of preparation. Insurance ensures appropriate treatment can be arranged as fast as possible, allowing the ill party to focus on their recovery rather than large hospital bills.

Can you make a claim against a hotel or airline?

If you become ill while on a package holiday, you are protected by the Package Travel Regulations. Under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, tour operators are held to be liable for injuries suffered as a result of negligence on the part of a supplier, such as a hotel operator or airline.

These regulations were came into force in 1992 following a EEC directive and allow a holidaymaker to bring a personal injury claim in the UK against their UK tour operator. This can make reaching a settlement and receiving compensation much easier than would be the case if the claimant was required to sue a hotel owner in another country.

In the case of the man who injured his foot, solicitors brought a claim against the tour operator on the injured claimant's behalf. In addition, an interim payment of £25,000 was secured to assist with treatment and living costs during his recovery.

Seek medical care as soon as possible

If you experienced injury or illness while abroad and are unsure about how to proceed, seek medical care if you have not already done so. Even if the symptoms of food poisoning have subsided, seeking advice and treatment from a medical profession is advisable. It may be the case that pathogens causing the sickness remain.

In addition to getting treatment for the illness or injury, inform the tour operator representative as soon as possible and get confirmation that they are aware of the issue in writing.

If you are unsure as to whether the circumstances of your case entitle you to make a personal injury claim for an accident or illness abroad, contact Quittance for more information.