Advice About Accidents On Holiday In Croatia
There is no denying that Croatia has become one of the more popular places for Brits to visit over the past few years. This is because it is affordable and has a lot to offer. While most people thoroughly enjoy their time in Croatia, there are those whose vacation was ruined due to an illness or injury. If you had an accident on holiday in Croatia, this guide provides a lot of essential information on how to go about making a personal injury claim for compensation. No matter what type of illness or injury you suffer, or how serious it is, the information in this guide will help you to start a claim’s process in the right way.
Jump To a Section
- A Guide To Croatian Holiday Personal Injury Claims
- Having A Holiday Bug Or Injury In Croatia
- Who Is To Blame For You Accident Or Injury On Holiday?
- I Had An Accident On Holiday, What Do I Do?
- Help And Support For Travellers To Croatia
- Embassy Support For British Nationals Abroad
- What Are The Benefits Of Travel Insurance?
- Popular Resorts And Destinations In Croatia
- Common Types Of Illness While On Holiday
- I Had A Food Allergy Or Food Poisoning When On Holiday, What Do I Do?
- Sickness Caused By Lack Of Staff Hygiene
- Claim Compensation For A Car Accident In Croatia
- Lack Of Hotel Facility Maintenance Causing Injury
- Common Types Of Croatian Holiday Accident
- Can I Claim Compensation Under The Package Holiday Travel Regulations?
- How Do Holiday Accident Claims Work?
- How Much Are Croatian Holiday Personal Injury Claims Worth?
- Useful Links And Further Information
As mentioned in the introduction, Croatia is most certainly a place that is increasing in popularity amongst Brits. Statistics don’t lie! In fact, the figure of 800,000 was anticipated in terms of British tourists in 2017, and this was exceeded. Today, it is expected that more than one million tourists from the UK will visit Croatia annually. However, if you are one of the few who had a nightmare experience due to an illness or injury, you may have compensation on your mind rather than sun, sea, and sand, and rightly so. This guide provides valuable information on how to go about making an accident claim in Croatia, and includes advice on the steps you should take, and how to get assistance. We will also take a look at some of the different types of claims that people make while in Croatia which range from whiplash to food poisoning.
On top of this, the guide provides an insight into the level of compensation you may receive, as well as providing essential advice on how you can find the best personal injury solicitor to represent you.
If you come down with a holiday bug or you are injured in any type of accident when you are in Croatia, you may have grounds to file for compensation providing the incident was not your fault. The best way to illustrate this is with an example. Let’s take food allergies for instance. If you had an allergic reaction because you were not informed of allergens in a specific meal or pre-packaged food, your claim may be valid. However, if the fault falls on your shoulders for failing to spot the allergen description on the menu, you won’t be able to claim compensation.
When determining whether you may be entitled to claim compensation for a Croatia holiday accident or illness, there are three key questions you need to ask yourself. These are as follows:
Who caused the accident?
You need to show that someone else is responsible for your injuries if you are to make a successful Croatian holiday claim. You must be able to prove that a third party either made an error or acted negligently and that this resulted in the accident that occurred, and consequently the injuries you sustained. You certainly would not be able to make a claim if you were responsible for your injuries or illness. However, if you were partially to blame, you may be entitled to a smaller sum in the way of compensation. When it comes to making a Croatia holiday compensation claim, there are many different individuals or parties who could be to blame for what happened to you. For example, it could be your tour operator, an individual driving a vehicle, or the hotel you stay at.
Have you seen a doctor for your injuries?
It is vital to see a medical professional if you are to build a strong case for compensation. Of course, in most cases, this will be essential, more especially if you suffer severe injuries. However, when it comes to minor injuries, some people elect to cope themselves, or they get a friend or family member with medical experience to check an injury out. If you do this, you would struggle to get compensation, as there is not going to be any professional evidence to back up your injuries and/or suffering. You need the doctor to provide an official medical report because this is the most crucial piece of evidence in any compensation claim.
When did the accident occur?
Finally, the date of the accident is important because there is a time limit on all personal injury claims. The time limit starts from the date of the incident, and it is worth noting that court proceedings must be issued within this statutory time frame. Usually, the limit is 3 years, but it does differ depending on how you booked your holiday and the type of incident that occurred. In some instances, there is only a 1 year time limit which is why seeking legal advice early is essential. While 3 years seems like a long time, the longer you leave it, the more difficult you may find making a claim becomes.
There are a number of important things you need to do if you have been injured while in Croatia. This includes the following:
- See a medical professional – The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Of course, you need to see a doctor for health reasons first and foremost. However, as mentioned earlier, some people try to cope with their injuries themselves. This is especially the case when it comes to holiday car accidents. Many people try to cope with the injuries themselves because they sustain mild whiplash, an injury that can often take hours or even days to show itself. Because of this many people avoid a trip to hospital. However, if you don’t seek medical attention, you would struggle to build a strong case against a third party. This is because the medical report provided by a doctor is the most important piece of evidence in any personal injury claim.
- Get contact details – you need the contact details of the person who caused the incident providing they did not flee the scene. For car accidents or coach incidents, you would need their name, telephone number, address, vehicle registration number, vehicle make, vehicle model, and the details of their insurer. Aside from this, it is a good idea to get the details of anyone that saw the accident. The reason being that witness statements can help build a solid case against a third party
- Keep proof of expenses – you need to keep proof of all of the costs you encounter as a direct result of your injuries. This includes things lie prescription costs, vehicle repair expenses, loss of income, travel expenses, childcare costs, counselling costs, and such like. You can claim for these as ‘special damages’, but you will need receipts and other relevant documents in order to do so
- Contact a reputable law firm – the only other thing you need to do is find a leading law firm in the UK who would provide further advice which can be found towards the end of this guide.
It can feel like there is no help available when you are injured in another country. However, there are places you can turn to, including the following:
- Your travel company/ package holiday company,
- The Croatian healthcare system
- A travel insurance provider
- The British Embassy
If you are injured in an accident in Croatia, a member of staff at the British Embassy would ensure your family members are aware of what has taken place. The contact details of the main embassy in Zagreb, and the consulate in Split are found below:
British Embassy Zagreb
Ivana Lučića 4
Telephone +385 (1) 6009 100
British Consulate Split
Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda
Telephone +385 (1) 6009 100
There is some great advice on travelling to Croatia on the UK Government website too.
If you suffered an illness or injury on holiday, you would obviously need medical attention. As Croatia is in Europe, your European Health Insurance Card is valid when you are in Croatia. If you do not have an EHIC, you can apply for one, free of charge, at the UK Government website. However, do not let the validity of your EHIC lull you into a false sense of security. While this card could give you access to reduced state healthcare or even free treatments, this is not the case for all forms of medical care, and so travel or global health insurance is still a necessity.
There are lots of great places to visit in Croatia. Where you go would depend on the type of holiday you are looking for. From cultural city breaks and adventure-sports holidays to partying and relaxing on the beach, Croatia is a place that caters for it all. If you are in search of culture and history, destinations like Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb come highly recommended, boasting historic centres and Austro-Hungarian, Venetian, Byzantine, and Roman monuments. What about those of you who are looking to relax on the beach? Spiaza and Susak, are certainly worth a mention. Desert island getaways don’t come much better than this.
There is no denying that food poisoning is the most common illness claimed by those going on holiday in Croatia. While most people do tend to recover quickly, there have been life-threatening cases that involve this type of this illness. Common symptoms include dehydration and nausea.
If you suffered food poisoning, you could be able to make a claim, providing you did not cooked something yourself in your apartment and made yourself ill, of course! There are some things you can do to reduce the chances of suffering from food poisoning which include the following:
- Avoid any uncooked vegetables and fruits, for example, don’t eat salads, as they way they may have been handled could be unhygienic
- Use alcohol-based hand gel regularly
- Avoid food that has not been stored at the correct temperature
Of course, there are no guarantees, but the above steps should help to reduce the chances of an illness.
Aside from making a holiday and food poisoning claim, you may also be able to claim for a food allergy. If you had an allergic reaction, it could be that the restaurant is to blame because they did not put this information on the menu or inform you that allergens were present. When it comes to packaged food, allergen information needs to be displayed on the packaging. If it not, you may have grounds for compensation.
When we go on holiday, or out for a meal, or we spend our money on any other sort of service, the minimum we expect is high standard levels of hygiene. However, the sad truth is that there are a number of businesses out there that let the industry down. If you have experienced poor hygiene while on holiday in Croatia, and this has caused you to fall ill, you may be able to secure a compensation payout.
The figures regarding road traffic accidents in Croatia do not make for good reading. In 2017, there were 331 fatalities on the roads in Croatia. What makes this even more worrying is that it represents a 7% increase on the previous year. Of course, you may be able to claim for a serious injury or a minor injury. Family members could also claim when it comes to fatal accidents.
Whiplash is a common injury that often occurs when someone has been involved in a road traffic accident. If you have sustained this type of injury, you may be able to get compensation if you did not cause the car crash in question yourself.
How do you get whiplash? As mentioned, this usually occurs as the result of a holiday car accident. The injury is caused by an impact to the head which jolts backwards and forwards in a violent manner. This is referred to as whiplash. The result is pain, a restricted movement, and other potential symptoms, such as nausea and blurred vision. One of the difficult aspects of whiplash is the fact that the symptoms take a while to present themselves. In short, may feel fine immediately after the incident, but a few days later you could feel terrible. This is why you are advised to see a doctor straight after a car accident, even if you do not think you have suffered any kind of injury.
Not only is seeing a doctor a wise move in terms of your health but if you want to make a claim for compensation it is imperative that you seek a medical attention. Otherwise, how are you going to prove that you were injured in the first place? When you see a doctor, he or she, is going to provide you with a medical report, and this report documents your injuries and the recommended treatment plan. The report would be used to determine how much compensation you would receive. As such, it is understandable that the report forms a vital part of a claim and why it is so important to seek professional medical attention.
If a hotel is not maintained properly, it can easily result in someone suffering an injury. There are so many different ways that poor hotel maintenance can cause injuries. If hotel rooms are not maintained properly and there is broken furniture present, it can cause injuries. Moreover, poor swimming pool maintenance (whether the water is not kept at the right PH level or the area around the pool is not maintained properly), can cause accidents. General upkeep around the hotel can cause falls and trips. Moreover, gym equipment maintenance, or a lack of it, can cause many accidents too.
There are many different types of accidents that could happen in Croatia. Some of the most common include the following:
- Swimming pool accidents
- Flight accidents
- Food poisoning
- Sickness from badly maintained pools
- Food allergies
- Gym equipment injuries
- Spa or beauty treatments which go wrong
- Injuries on excursions or tours
If you have had an accident on a package holiday, you may be able to make a Croatian hotel accident package holiday claim. With these cases, in order to be classified as a package holiday, you would need to have booked at least two of the following through the same company as part of the same deal:
- Accommodation, transport, and/or tour services
If you are thinking about making a claim to secure compensation for something that happened in Croatia, one of the most important things you need to do is choose an expert personal injury lawyer who would work hard to secure you an acceptable level of compensation. It is never wise to cut corners or simply go for the cheapest solicitor you can find when filing a Croatia accident claim. Below are some top tips on finding the best solicitor to act on your behalf:
- Make sure the solicitor has the required experienced and has handled similar cases – needless to say, everyone needs to start a career somewhere. But, when it comes to your chances of getting compensation, you cannot afford to take a risk on someone who has not gained the necessary legal experience. Instead, you need someone who has worked in the industry for a number of years and has handled cases similar to yours
- Open effective lines of communication from the offset – it is pivotal to ensure that the solicitor of choice is easy to contact and that they communicate with you on a regular basis to give you updates on your case. You certainly do not want to feel like you are left in the dark
- Be sure that the solicitor has a good reputation – take the time to read comments that have been left by other people who have already used the solicitor in question. If you come across a lot of comments from dissatisfied individuals, then you know to look elsewhere
- Go for a No Win, No Fee solicitor – last but not least, it is vital to select a no-win no-fee solicitor. The reason being that there are many benefits associated with going down this route. You would not need to make a large upfront payment to begin the claim process, and financial risk is minimised as well because you do not pay legal fees to the solicitor if your case is not a success. You can also be confident that the solicitor in question would only take your case if there is a genuine chance of winning compensation
What does your solicitor need from you?
- Details of the accident – the first thing you need to do is provide your solicitor with thorough details regarding what happened. This includes how the accident occurred, where it happened, and when it happened. The latter is particularly important because there is a time limit on all personal injury cases
- Contact details for any witnesses – did anyone witness what happened to you? If so, getting their name and their contact details is a move that will benefit you greatly. This is because witness statements are an excellent form of evidence
- Details of your injuries – your solicitor needs to know about your medical diagnosis and the course of treatment you need to follow. This is why it is vital that a doctor examines your injuries, as they will provide you with a medical report, and this is the most important piece of evidence in any personal injury claim
- Proof of loss of earnings – have you suffered a loss of income due to your inability to work during the recovery phase? If so, you may be able to claim for this, but you do need to have proof. Therefore, get a letter from your employer, or proof of your earnings prior to being injured if you are self-employed.
- Proof of any other related expenses – there are many different costs you may incur because of your injuries. Examples include prescription expenses, travel costs, counselling expenses, and the cost of childcare. Again, you can claim for all of these as special damages, but you do need to provide proof
One thing we do not recommend you do is use a personal injury claims calculator to determine how much compensation you may be able to get. The reason being that these tools are not reliable – they are merely a marketing material. The table below gives you an understanding of different payout amounts, as provided by the Judicial College Guidelines. When claiming, you would be able to claim for the injuries you have sustained, as well as any other costs suffered in the process which are covered by special damages.
|Severe head injury||£214,350 - £307,000|
|Severe shoulder injury||£9,500 - £37,000|
|Loss of benefits||£5,000 - £500,000|
|Loss of earnings||£10,000 - £400,000|
|Wrist injury||£2,550 - £44,500|
|Knee injury, severe||£39,700 - £72,970|
|Pain and suffering||£1,000 - £200,000|
NHS Croatia – Advice specific to the country can be found here.
Legal Expert Croatia – A detailed guide on making Croatia claims
Edited Honey 20/1/20