Injury or illness in Italy compensation claims
This guide looks at what you need to know about making an injury or illness compensation claim in Italy.
Our panel of solicitors are no longer able to assist with compensation claims for accidents abroad.
This section considers the most common circumstances causing illness and injury to British visitors to Italy.
Quittance have also publish a article considering holiday accident and illness claims in general.
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.
Holiday food poisoning and water-borne illness in Italy
While health and safety standards are adequate in most Italian resorts, a number of holidaymakers have reported experiencing food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Organisms such as campylobacter, salmonella, E. coli and norovirus can thrive in environments where hygiene standards have fallen. These organisms can cause serious and life-threatening illness in some, resulting in long-term health problems, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Skiing accidents and adventure holiday accidents in Italy
The Italian Alps are a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders, who flock to the resorts Corvara, Baddonecchia and Sauze d'Oulx for some of Europe's best pistes. The combination of speed and inexperience, however, has lead to a high number of accidents. In terms of injuries per number of participants, skiing is reportedly the most dangerous of all sports, with injuries ranging from broken bones to life-changing head injuries and back injuries.
It may be possible to claim compensation where the accident was caused by faulty equipment, poor guidance by ski instructors or the negligent action of another skier.
Road traffic accidents in Italy
Italy has almost twice the number of road deaths per capita as the UK according to figures from the World Health Organisation. The risk is particularly high in large cities such as Rome, the main reason being traffic congestion which has reportedly brought an increase in poor driving behaviour onto the streets.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident in Italy, it is recommended that you telephone the police (dial 113) unless the incident was very minor.
The authorities will gather evidence to establish the cause of the accident and prepare an accident report. The Italian Police also have the power to impose fines, seize vehicles in order to carry out further assessments or ask you to undergo a compulsory medical examination.
The FCO report on the most common issues facing travellers to Italy, but in practice the list of potential risks and causes of injury abroad is much greater. Holiday accidents that may liable for injury compensation also including:
- Airplane accidents, including embarking and disembarking
- Balcony fall accidents
- Boat and cruise accidents
- Carbon monoxide poisoning in poorly maintained and ventilated hotel rooms
- Taxi accidents
- Slips and trips
- Swimming pool and waterpark accidents.
Who to contact
The first priority is to seek medical attention for your injuries. Contact the emergency services using the following numbers:
112 - General emergency number (equivalent to calling 999 in the UK)
118 - Ambulance (Emergenza sanitaria)
113 - Police (Carabineri)
115 - Fire brigade (Vigili del fuoco).
British visitors to Italy are entitled to subsidised or free state healthcare as long as they are carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). EHICs are free and can be applied for online through the NHS EHIC website. You must reserve the card before you travel.
The EHIC does not cover costs such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or being flown back to the UK. Make sure you have valid travel insurance for your holiday.
When to notify the police of an accident
In the event of a road accident with no serious injuries, there is no obligation to contact the police. In all other situations, dial 113 and wait for the police to arrive. Motorways have SOS emergency freephones about every two kilometres.
The police will prepare an accident report. You must send this report to your insurer if you are making a claim under your travel or car insurance. The police report will also be a critical piece of evidence in any personal injury compensation claim.
To give your travel injury lawyer the best chance of making a successful claim, it is important to gather as much information about the accident as possible. Some of the steps you can take include:
- Reporting the accident to a person of authority, such as the police, your travel rep, travel operator or hotel manager. If the accident occurs in a hotel or restaurant, make sure it is written into the accident book.
- Obtaining details of the other party, such as the registration of the vehicle you have collided with and the driver's insurance details.
- Noting the name, address, phone number and email of any witnesses. Without their evidence, it can often be your word against the defendant's.
- Taking photographs of the incident site to support your claim.
These steps may be taken while you are in Italy or after you have returned home but the sooner you obtain the information, the better your chances of making a successful claim. Don't worry if you have missed out any of the steps, however. Quittance's expert panel of solicitors can work with you to help build a robust case.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Italy package holiday injury claims
Holidaymakers in Italy who booked their trip through a UK-based package tour operator such as Thomas Cook, Thomson and Kuoni are protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. A package tour is defined as any holiday that bundles at least two of the following three services into a single contract:
- Other significant tourist services such as car hire.
The effect of the Regulations is to make the tour operator directly responsible for any injury or illness you suffer while on holiday. This is significant, as it means that you can make a claim against the Uk-based tour operator through the British courts.
Italy holidays not booked through a UK-based tour operator
If you have put together the separate components of your Italy holiday yourself such as flights, accommodation and car hire, then your holiday is a "non-package" holiday. This type of holiday is not covered by the Package Travel Regulations, but you can still pursue a holiday accident and illness claim once you are back home in England.
For example, European regulations give you right to bring a claim in the British courts if you were injured in a road traffic accident in Italy. Claims against insurance companies may also be made through the British courts.
If you think you may have a claim, it is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Where it is possible to pursue a case through the British courts, Quittance's specialist holiday litigation solicitors can assist.
The time limit for making a claim will vary depending on whether you booked a package holiday in Italy and the circumstances of the injury or illness. Holidaymakers are advised to act quickly as soon as they return to the UK to ensure they have enough time to pursue a claim.
|Circumstances of injury or illness||Limitation date*|
|Injury or illness sustained on a flight, in a hotel or on a pre-booked excursion that was booked through a UK-based tour operator (package tour)||
|Injury or illness in Italy sustained during a private holiday (non-package tour)||5 years (time limits can vary - see Time Limit Calculator for more information)|
Injury or illness during a privately booked flight to or from Italy including:
|Road accident in Italy||2 years*|
*Time limits may vary. Please consult a solicitor and calculate your claim time limit remaining as soon as is practical.
British Embassy Rome
Via XX Settembre 80/a
Tel:+39 06 4220 0001
Visits by appointment only
British Consulate General Milan
Via S. Paolo, 7
Tel: +39 02 723001
Open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
Meet the QLS team
The nationwide network of Quittance solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, from relatively minor claims to long-term injuries. Our solicitors are chosen on the basis of their track record in recovering compensation and their specialist knowledge.
About the author
Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert