Located a short plane journey away, Belgium provides a great spot for anyone seeking a weekend break, or something longer! While Belgium is a beautiful country, with lots to offer, it is also a place where accidents could happen. After all, you could fall ill or suffer an injury, no matter where in the world you travel to. If you have had an accident on holiday in Belgium, you may be entitled to seek the compensation you may deserve. However, you would need to provide accurate information regarding the accident in Belgium you were involved in with more information on how to go about things provided in this accident claims guide.
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- A Guide To Personal Injury Compensation Claim For Holiday Accidents In Belgium
- What To Do If You Are Sick Or Injured On Holiday In Belgium
- Who Might Be To Blame For Your Accident, Personal Injury, Or Illness?
- What Should You Do If You Had An Accident On Holiday In Belgium?
- Where You Can Find Help For An Injury Or Illness
- Can The British Embassy Help Me?
- Why Should You Get Travel Insurance Before Any Trip Abroad?
- Top Places To Go In Belgium
- Common Types Of Holiday Illness
- My Holiday Was Ruined By Food Poisoning Or Food Allergies, Can I Get Compensation?
- Sickness Caused By Lack Of Staff Hygiene
- Personal Injuries In A Car Accident On Holiday Abroad In Belgium
- Injury Caused By Poor/ Lack Of Hotel Maintenance
- Common Types Of Holiday Accidents
- Can I Make A Package Holiday Accident Or Illness Claim?
- How I Get Compensation With A Holiday Accident Claim Solicitor?
- How Much Can I Claim For A Personal Injury On Holiday In Belgium?
- Resources And Useful Links
Have you been injured while taking a trip to Belgium? Perhaps you know someone who has had a Belgium holiday accident and you are looking for information to help him or her make a claim? No matter what applies, this guide provides helpful information on what to do when injured in an accident in Belgium. You will find essential advice on how to go about making this type of claim which includes details on the steps you need to take when involved in an accident and how to get assistance in Belgium.
Our claims in Belgium guide also provides a valuable insight into the country’s healthcare system and how you may be able to access it.
From motorcycle accidents to Eurostar accidents, we place our focus on some of the most common type of incidents that could happen in Belgium. We also provide essential information regarding the terms associated with compensation payouts and how you can find a personal injury solicitor who would act on your behalf.
Whether you were involved in a motorcycle accident, a Eurostar accident or any other type of accident in Belgium, our comprehensive guide can help you make the right decision on whether you can claim compensation for an illness or injury sustained in Belgium.
One reason why a lot of people don’t make a claim is because they do not realise there is a basis them to do so. If you suffered an illness or injury in Belgium, you may be able to file a claim providing you can prove third party negligence.
As an example, if during take-off you are injured while on the plane going over to Belgium because something fell out of the overhead locker and hit you on the head and it was because an air steward failed to shut the locker properly, you could have the basis to file a claim. However, if you were attempting to get your bags out of a locker in mid-flight and something fell out injuring you, it is highly unlikely that you would be able to secure compensation.
To determine whether you are entitled to compensation, there are three key aspects you need to consider which are detailed below:
- Responsibility – First and foremost, you need to determine who may be to blame for the accident you were involved in. In most cases, this could be the tour operator you booked your holiday through or the hotel you were staying at. However, there are many different parties and people who could be responsible, an example being that it could be a driver who crashed into you. In order to make a successful claim, you would need to show they could be held responsible for your suffering but you should seek advice from a personal injury solicitor who would determine whether or not you could claim compensation from the driver . It is worth noting that if you caused the accident in which you suffered an injury, it is unlikely that you could make a claim for compensation
- Medical attention – the second crucial factor to bear in mind when it comes to determining whether you have a case, is whether or not you went to see a medical professional/doctor. It is vital that you were examined by a doctor for a claim to have any chance of success. A doctor would put together a medical report which documents the extent o your injuries and the treatment plan you have to follow. The report would be used to determine how much money you may receive if you are entitled to file an accident at work claim. Without a medical report, the chances of being able to file a claim for compensation would be nil
- Date of the accident – if you are to make a claim, the accident must have occurred within a personal injury claims time limit associated with cases that involve accidents in Belgium which could be anything from 2 to 5 years. However, the time the deadline begins may differ depending on the circumstances surrounding a personal injury claim. In short, the time limits can often vary from case to case. Although this may seem like a long time it is imperative to note that during this period court proceedings have to be issued and it is worth noting that you would find the process a lot easier the sooner you make a claim. Moreover, as mentioned, it could be that you have a shorter period which could be as little as 12 months to make a claim which is why it is important to seek legal advice sooner rather than later
If you are going to make a claim after an accident on holiday in Belgium, the steps you should take are as follows:
- Get professional medical assistance – this is the most important step when it comes to any type of personal injury case. It does not matter how minor your injuries are, or how much you hate hospitals, you simply must see a doctor if you are injured in an accident in Belgium because the medical report they provide is the most vital piece of evidence you would have, and it would be used to determine how much compensation you could receive
- Inform the right people about the accident – there are a number of different people and organisations you may need to report the accident too if you have been injured in Belgium. This includes the police if you are involved in a car accident and been assaulted and suffered criminal injury. You would also need to call the travel company you booked your holiday through, as well as your insurance provider
- Get witness contact information – Did anyone see what happened? If so, make sure you get their name, email address, and telephone number because witness statements could help build a solid case against a third party
- Contact a legal firm – for an accident claim against a third party to be successful, you need the legal expertise of a personal injury lawyer who has the necessary experience in dealing with this type of claim which would help ensure you are awarded a level of compensation you deserve
- Keep proof of expenses – any costs and other expenses that you incurred due to the injuries you sustained can be claimed but you must provide relevant receipts as proof of expenditure. This would include travel costs and prescription expenses which could be awarded in special damages
If you are injured on holiday, you may feel like you have nowhere to turn for assistance. However, you can seek help and advice from various organisations which includes the following:
- The travel company/ package holiday company you booked your holiday through
- The Belgian healthcare system
- The travel insurance provider
- The British Embassy
If you have an accident on holiday in Belgium, a member of the British Embassy should visit you and they should also inform your family of what has occurred. You can find the contact details for the British Embassy in Brussels below. You can also find useful travel advice for Belgium on the UK Government website.
British Embassy Brussels
Avenue d’Auderghem 10
Telephone (+32) 2 287 62 11
A lot of people assume that they do not need to get travel insurance when visiting Belgium because a European Health Insurance Card would be valid. While the UK remains in the pre-Brexit stage, this would be the case buy for those who are unaware, the EHIC is available via the UK Government website free of charge which entitles you to free or reduced cost healthcare in Europe.
As such, many people wonder why travel insurance is required if this is the case? The reason is that EHIC will not entitle you to cheaper healthcare for all treatments and healthcare services which means you could be putting yourself in an extremely risky situation if you do not take out travel insurance when going to Belgium. It is important to take the time to find an insurance policy that suits your needs when travelling abroad.
There are lots of great places to visit in Belgium with some of the most popular places being listed below:
- Bruges – this is home to some of the most incredible medieval architecture. There are many amazing sites to see in Bruges, from the impressive Saint John’s Hospital to Gruuthuse Mansion
- Brussels – the capital city of Belgium, Brussels is a diverse city with many things to do, places to visit and wonderful restaurant and shopping options
- Ghent – Belgium’s the best-kept secret, Ghent is a place that boasts an incredible history and was one of Europe’s most powerful and richest cities during the Middle Ages
- Antwerp – a city that boasts many faces. Antwerp may not have the history that Ghent and Bruges do, but it is an incredibly city that offers lots of fun, great beer, and a selection of delicious food
- Ardennes – the ideal place for those seeking a bit of adventure. There’s camping, biking, and hiking with many cliffs, caves, and forests to explore. However, it is worth noting that if you do enjoy a more adventurous outing to the Ardennes, you may need extra insurance cover which is worth bearing in mind when choosing a policy
The table below provides the number of different nationalities that visit Belgium every year.
When it comes common illnesses, Belgium does not differ much from the UK. It is always advisable to carry an anti-bacteria hand sanitiser around with you and to be extra diligent wherever you choose to go on holiday. The last thing you want is for your holiday to be ruined by some kind of bug you may pick up abroad.
When it comes to seeking compensation for holiday accidents and illnesses, there is no denying that food poisoning is high on the list and it can happen in many different ways. Examples include food that has been left on a buffet table for too long, or food that has not been prepared or stored properly, or food that has been served raw, or food that has been contaminated which includes when vegetables are prepared on the same cutting board as raw meat.
This type of holiday illness is often minor with people recovering within a few days. However, there have been some extremely serious cases of food poisoning. You may also be able to make a claim if you had an allergic reaction because of food poisoning. In order to claim for a food allergy, you would need to show that the restaurant, hotel, supermarket or wherever you got the food from, is to blame because they failed to make you aware of the allergens present in the food.
We all expect high levels of staff hygiene in hotels, restaurants, and other places that are frequented by consumers. Unfortunately, some establishments do not meet the required hygiene standards. If you fall ill as a consequence, it is important to get the compensation you deserve and as such, you should seek legal advice so you know how best to proceed with a claim if it is deemed valid.
The most recent statistics for Belgium are for 2017. During this year, there were 38,020 road traffic accidents in Belgium. Moreover, 615 people lost their lives because of fatal accidents on the road. While this figure is high, it does represent an eight per cent decrease when compared with 2016. Here are some steps you can take to give yourself the greatest chance of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve for car accidents:
- See a medical professional – The importance of seeing a doctor cannot be stressed enough. However, this is something that some people overlook when they have only been involved in an incident that has resulted in minor injuries. If you do not see a medical professional, there will be no proof of your injuries, and thus claiming would be impossible
- Get the contact details of the person that caused the accident – You will need their basic contact information as well as the details about their insurer and their car, including the vehicle registration number, the make, and the model of the car
- Get the contact details of the people who witnessed the incident – Witness statements are great for proving the events that happened, thus you are advised to get your hands on the contact details of anyone who witnessed the car accident
- Keep proof of any expenses incurred – Any costs you have had to fund because of what has occurred to you could be claimed for. This includes things like travel expenses, loss of income, treatment costs, and the cost of repairing your vehicle if you have taken your own car to Belgium. However, if you are going to claim for all of these costs then you are going to need proof, so do not throw away your receipts and such like
From poor upkeep around the hotel grounds to poor swimming pool maintenance, there are many different ways that accidents can happen in this regard. You may have fallen ill because of a chemical imbalance in the pool, as an example, or you may have injured yourself while using the hotel gym because the equipment had not been maintained properly. You could get compensation for an accident on holiday for things like this.
Some of the most common scenarios that result in people seeking compensation for a holiday accident include the following:
- Swimming pool accidents,
- Slips, trips, and falls,
- Food poisoning and allergies,
- Car crashes or other road accidents,
- Injuries on tours and excursions,
A lot of people assume that making a claim for an accident on a package holiday is difficult. In fact, this is not the case, as there are rules and regulations in place which make the process easier. Even if you were injured at the hotel or on a tour provided by a Belgian company, you could make the claim against the package tour provider if the service in question was booked through them.
You would be shocked by how many people may be entitled to compensation yet they never made a claim. One of the reasons for this is because they are worried about the cost of hiring personal injury lawyers. They fear that it is going to be too expensive to make a claim, and then there is always the risk that the solicitor in question will not be able to secure compensation for them, and thus, in the end, all they have done is waste their hard earned cash. This is an understandable concern, but it does not have to be this way. You simply need to be diligent when choosing a personal injury lawyer.
There are some key questions you need to ask the solicitor you are considering to use in order to get to understand the fees that may be charged. These are as follows:
- How much is the case likely to cost?
- Can there by a No Win, No Fee agreement?
- How are your fees worked out?
- How are the fees paid if you lose the case?
- Are there any extras I may need to pay?
By asking the five questions above, you will get a good understanding of how much the case is going to cost, whether there will be any deductions if the claim is not a success, and how the costs are worked out.
Out of all of these questions, the most important thing to find out is whether the solicitor would be happy to work on a No Win, No Fee agreement. If they are not, then you are advised to look elsewhere. A No Win, No Fee agreement is one whereby you only need to pay legal fees if your solicitor manages to secure compensation for you. This offers you a significant degree of monetary protection. You know that you are not going to end up in the situation where you have spent tons on legal fees only to then miss out on compensation.
There are other benefits associated with going for a No Win, No Fee service as well. For instance, you are much more likely to benefit from a premium quality service. This is because a solicitor’s pay is performance related, and thus the solicitor is going to be impacted by the outcome of your case as well. You can also be confident that a No Win, No Fee solicitor will not waste your time. If they do not think your case is strong enough, they will inform you at the offset.
No matter what has occurred, if you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, it is vital to gather some necessary information and documents to support your claim and assist your solicitor. This includes all of the following:
- The details of the accident – You will need to provide your solicitor with information regarding how the accident happened, when it happened, where it happened, and such like. The date of the incident is particularly important, and this is because there is a three-year time limit on all personal injury cases. This starts from the date of the incident unless you developed an injury-related health issue over time, in which case you will have three years from the date of your diagnosis instead
- Contact details – You will need the contact details of the person who caused the accident, and you are also advised to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident as well
- Medical information – If you are to have any chance of securing compensation, you would need to see a medical professional, and so you would need to provide your solicitor with details regarding your medical diagnosis, as well as any treatment you received
- Supporting documents – Last but not least, you will need to keep a hold of any documents that back up your case. This includes any receipts and other documents that prove the costs you have suffered as a result of your injuries. This could include counselling expenses, loss of income, treatment costs, travel costs, and such like.
When making a claim, you would receive compensation for your injuries based on the extent of the original injury, any lifelong effects, and the treatment needed. As mentioned earlier, you would also receive money for out of pocket expenses. Below, we have put together a table of average payout amounts to give you some insight. This information comes from the Judicial College guidelines.
|Severe shoulder injury||£9,500 - £37,000|
|Severe head injury||£214,350 - £307,000|
|Knee injury, severe||£39,700 - £72,970|
|Wrist injury||£2,550 - £44,500|
|Pain and suffering||£1,000 - £200,000|
|Loss of earnings||£10,000 - £400,000|
|Loss of benefits||£5,000 - £500,000|
The NHS – Belgium – Information coming from the NHS about travel to the region
Legal Expert Belgium – a comprehensive guide for potential claimants
Edited Honey 20/1/20