Illness or injury compensation claims in Greece
The following guide sets out everything you should know about making a successful injury or illness compensation claim in Greece.
Our panel of solicitors are no longer able to assist with compensation claims for accidents abroad.
The time limit for making an injury claim following an accident or illness in Greece depends on the circumstances of the case.
|Circumstances of injury or illness||Limitation date*|
|Where the holiday was booked through a UK-based package tour operator||3 years|
|Where the trip that was booked privately (i.e. not a package holiday)||Up to 5 years (see Time Limit Calculator)|
|Road traffic accidents in Greece||2 years where strict liability provisions apply; 5 years otherwise|
|Maritime accidents||2 years from the date the injured passenger disembarked|
|Railway accidents in Greece||3 years|
|Where the injury occurred on a flights to or from Greek airports including :
Travellers injured in Greece are encouraged to contact a solicitor as soon as possible. Time limits vary considerably, and it may be necessary to gather medical reports and other evidence before proceeding with a claim; carrying out these steps can take time.
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.
Who to contact
Calling 999 from a UK-registered mobile phone in Greece will transfer you directly to the Greek emergency help line. You can also phone 112 to reach the Greek emergency services. The Greek police are known as the Hellenic Police (Elliniki Astynomia in Greek). The force's responsibilities include counter-terrorism, road traffic policing and border control.
Emergency numbers to contact specific emergency services are:
- Hellenic Police - 100
- Ambulance service - 166
- Fire service - 199
What to do
Regardless of whether you have returned home from Greece, are being treated by the Greek medical services, or are continuing with your holiday, consider the following. You may decide not to proceed with a claim at a later date, however, these steps can improve your claim chance of success if you do decide to go ahead.
- Seek professional medical attention
- Contact your travel insurance provider
- Report the accident or illness to your holiday rep, the police, the hotel manager or someone in authority
- Make sure the details of the accident are recorded appropriately, e.g. in the hotel or venue's accident book
- Gather the names and addresses of witnesses
- If possible, take photographs or video footage of the place where the accident happened
- Keep records of the dates you visited the hospital or saw a doctor
- Contact a solicitor to discuss whether any additional information is required
If you have been injured in a road traffic accident in Greece, you may also need to:
- Report the incident to local police
- Gather relevant information such as the colour, type and registration number of any vehicle leaving the scene
- Not admit liability or engage in any formal correspondence without advice from a suitably qualified solicitor
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
In a medical emergency, phone 112 or 166 to arrange an ambulance ("asthenoforo"). The Greek word for "doctor" is "yiatros."
British visitors to Greece and the Greek islands are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC enables injured British tourists to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover the treatment that is necessary until your planned return to the UK.
The EHIC does not cover stolen property or travel costs, and it may not cover all aspects of healthcare. It is therefore important that you take out travel insurance before you travel and report any incident to your travel insurance company before making a personal injury claim.
Holidaymakers to Greece who booked their trip through a package tour operator are protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. Under the Regulations, anyone who has been injured during their package tour to Greece has the right to make a claim against the UK-based travel company, through the Courts in England and Wales.
UK-based package tours to Greece
A number of the major UK holiday companies operate package holidays to Greece including Thomson, Thomas Cook, First Choice and Olympic Holidays. Popular package tour resorts include Halkidiki on the mainland as well as the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Corfu, Kefalonia and Santorini.
The injury or illness should be reported to the tour operator's representative at the resort in Greece. If there is no rep at the resort, the incident should be reported to the holiday company's UK head office.
Below are listed some of the most popular Greek resorts and hotels as promoted by tour operators in 2016 (information provided for information purposes):
- Louis Creta Princess, Chania, Crete
- Chrissi Amoudia, Heraklion, Crete
- Ikos Oceania, Nea Moudania, Halkidiki
- Aghios Ioannis, Corfu
- Apostolata Island Resort, Skala, Kefalonia
- Blue Lagoon, Kos Town, Kos
- Lindos Royal, Lindos, Rhodes
- Skiathos Blue, near Skiathos Town, Skiathos
Road traffic accidents in Greece
According to Government data, there are almost three times as many road accidents in Greece as in the UK, including motorbike and moped accidents and bus or coach accidents. Holidaymakers are reported to be particularly at risk since they have less experience of driving on the local roads.
Remaining at the scene and reporting a road accident to the Greek authorities is essential. Under Greek law, reporting the incident and obtaining the required paperwork is a necessary step before a claim can proceed.
Food poisoning is commonly reported by travellers to Greece, and salmonella poisoning from contaminated dairy products, meat and fish is the most common cause of gastrointestinal problems, diarrhoea and vomiting among British holidaymakers.
A recent Government report ranked Greece fourth worst in the world in terms of the number of reported food poisoning cases among British tourists.
Each year, many British people are permanently injured because they have fallen off a hotel balcony. Young people aged between 18 and 35 are particularly at risk according to the FCO. Alcohol is cited as a factor of some falls, however lax and unenforced building safety standards have also contributed to accidents.
The minimum permitted balcony height in EU member states, including Greece. is 1m. In general, however, balconies only have to comply with the height regulations that were in place when the hotel was constructed or renovated, so standards may be less stringent in older accommodation.
Even if the accident occurred during a non-package holiday, it may still be possible to make a claim through the Courts of England and Wales.
If you think you may have a claim, it is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. While you will usually have 5 years to file a claim for an injury sustained in Greece, under certain conditions, the limitation date in Greece may be much shorter and gathering evidence can get more difficult the longer you wait to start a claim.
British Embassy Athens
1, Ploutarchou str
106 75 Athens
Telephone +30 210 7272 600
British Vice Consulate Corfu
First floor, 18 Mantzarou Street
49 100 Corfu
Telephone +30 26610 23457
The British Embassy also provide consular services in Crete and Rhodes and an honorary vice consulate in Zakynthos.
The nationwide network of QLS solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of compensation claim, from short-term injury cases to catastrophic injury. Selected for their track record in recovering compensation, Quittance's panel solicitors have years of experience handling claims on behalf of injured claimants.
About the author
With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert