Lawlink – Recourse for holiday injury

Injured arm

Q: My family and I recently spent a lot of money on a full board package holiday. My eldest son tripped over a defective poolside tile and broke some bones in his hand. We were due to leave the following day and the local GP told us to just go to A&E when we got back to Ireland. Thankfully there was not too much damage done, but my son will be in a cast for a few weeks and be unable to play sports or do homework. He was in a fair bit of pain. Do I have any recourse?

A: This can be a complicated situation – thankfully there is scope for you to bring an action against the package tour operator, provided that the package tour operator is based in Ireland.

To be classed as a package holiday, you must have purchased transport, accommodation, and tourist services arranged by the operator. To be clear, if you bought your own flights, paid for your own hotel, and paid for tourist services from separate companies, you cannot proceed via this route.

Most package holidays include, at the very least, flights, transport to your hotel, and the stay in the hotel. If this applies to you, your son should be able to take action against the package holiday provider.

If the package tour operator isn’t established in Ireland, you may have to take action in the country where they were established. Again, further complications may arise if you bought the package holiday from a UK-based industry. You should consult with your solicitor in this regard.

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If you cannot rely on the above, there is still scope to bring action in the country where the accident happened. However, that would depend on the laws of the particular country in question. Your Irish solicitor would have to liaise with a lawyer in the country of the accident.

You should ensure that you keep records of any out-of-pocket expenses that you or your son had to spend. He should ensure that he gets all necessary and appropriate treatment, goes to physiotherapy, etc., as required. You should make an appointment with your solicitor without delay, bringing with you all receipts for payment of the holiday, any other receipts and details of the doctor who initially treated your son while abroad and the treating orthopaedic surgeon here in Ireland.