What to do if you have been injured in an accident in Australia?
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) report that British holidaymakers have been injured in wide range of incidents while travelling in Australia, from extreme sports like surfing to dehydration while bushwalking. While there are a number of dangerous animal species in Australia such as venomous snakes and spiders, alligators and sharks, such attacks are very rare.
Phone 112 to speak to the emergency services in Australia.
In Australia, the Australian Federal Government (AFP) deals with crimes that fall within the law-making responsibilities of the Australian government. State and Territory crimes fall within the law-making responsibilities of State and Territory governments. It can be difficult to know which crimes fall under which category, but generally State and Territory governments deal with localised issues, such as theft, drink driving, assault and fraud, while the AFP deals with wider crimes such as terrorism, drug smuggling and human trafficking.
You should report crimes such as assault or theft to the local police in the area where you are holidaying.
Whether you have returned home from Australia, are being treated in an Australian hospital, or are continuing with your holiday, following these steps can give your claim a better chance of making a successful holiday accident and illness claim.
- Get medical attention from a local doctor or hospital and keep any paperwork
- Contact your travel insurer as soon as possible
- Report the incident to the authorities and/or to the holiday tour operator
- Take photos of the scene of the incident, and gather the names and contact information of any witnesses
Our network of solicitors do not currently have the capacity to take on holiday-related injury and sickness claims outside the UK. It is recommended that you contact a personal injury specialist solicitor to discuss your options as soon as possible, as some jurisdictions have limitation dates of less than the three year limit that is standard in the UK.
Medical treatment following an accident
Call 112 to speak to the Australian emergency services. Although British citizens are entitled to a limited subsidised health services from Medicare for medically necessary treatment while holidaying in Australia, the FCO strongly recommend taking out travel insurance with suitable coverage for your trip.
What are the time limits to claim compensation in Australia?
|Circumstances of injury or illness||Limitation date*|
|On a flight to or from Australia, in a hotel, or during an pre-booked excursion or activity, and where the holiday was booked through a UK-based package tour operator||3 years|
|Injury or illness in Australia during a trip that was not booked as a package tour||3 years (time limits can vary - see Time Limit Calculator for more information)|
|Injury or illness on a flight not booked through a UK tour operator, to or from international airports including:
*Contact a specialist solicitor for more information or calculate how long you have to make a claim here.
Holidaymakers are advised to start their claim as soon as possible to ensure there is enough time for their solicitor to make appropriate enquiries in support of their claim before the time limit elapses.
Package holiday injury claims in Australia
The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 enable people who have been injured abroad to make a claim against the UK-based holiday company, through the Courts in England and Wales.
Package tour operators in Australia
A number of the major UK holiday companies operate package holidays to Australia, including Thomas Cook, Virgin Australia, Expedia and Co-operative Travel. If you suffer an injury or illness while on a package holiday in Australia, you should report it to the tour company's representative at the resort. If there is no rep available, a report should be made to the operator's UK head office.
Sports and adventure holiday accidents in Australia
Australia is a popular destination for adventure activities and extreme sports like surfing, bushwalking and white water rafting. Injuries resulting from these activities are common, such as broken bones, fractures, concussions and lacerations.
Australia is a very hot and dry country, and British holidaymakers who are unaccustomed to the heat can experience heat stroke and dehydration if they are not properly equipped while exploring the outback. Operators of walkabout-style Outback tours should ensure that tourists are suitably prepared for the tour; this may include safety warnings or the provision of water and other supplies.
Marine activities like snorkelling and SCUBA diving are popular around the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Scuba operators must ensure the safety of holidaymakers under their supervision, including the maintenance of scuba equipment and ensuring dives are carried out in safe areas.
Road traffic accidents in Australia
Due to the size of Australia, many holidaymakers choose to hire a car or a campervan to travel along coastal roads. Outside the built-up cities the roads are usually free from traffic and well-maintained. However, the road death rate in Australia is still higher than in the UK - 5.2 per 100,000 compared with 2.8 in the UK.
Driving laws and regulations differ in each state, so be sure the relevant state regulations to check before driving.
What to do next
Whether you have been injured while bushwalking in the Australian outback, while surfing in Sydney or while snorkelling in Cairns, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
For more information, or to discuss your options with a specialist travel solicitor, contact Quittance on 0800 612 7456 or (+44) 800 612 7456 from outside the UK.
Useful contact details
British High Commission Canberra
Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla
Canberra ACT 2600
+61 (0)2 6273 3236
British Consulate General Sydney
Level 16, Gateway Building, 1 Macquarie Place
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 (0)2 9247 7521