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Time Limits for Holiday Compensation Claims

If you have suffered from illness or injury whilst abroad you may not realise how much time you have to make a claim for compensation or how long your tour operator has to respond to your complaint.

Unfortunately, the law stating how long you have to make a compensation claim for injury or illness that happened abroad is different if the incident occurred onboard a ship or plane.

If you have concerns about the time limits for making a personal injury claim against your tour operator we recommend you contact us for free advice. The law can be dependent on where, when and how your accident or illness occurred.

How long do I have to make a holiday claim?

Hotels and Resorts - For an accident or illness that occurred on a package holiday you have 3 years to begin legal proceedings against the tour operator. Time begins from the date of your accident or illness.

Boats and Planes - However, if your accident or illness happened onboard a boat or you were injured on an aircraft then the time limit will be 2 years providing the flight or voyage was between two different countries.

The law on time limits for claims is complex and we do suggest that you talk to us as soon as possible for advice, especially if you are worried that you may not be able make a claim in time.

What is the time limit if my booking is with a foreign hotel?

A common question that we are asked concerns time limits for personal injury claims directly in a foreign country.

  • If you booked a package holiday with a UK based tour operator then time limits for personal injury claims directly in a foreign country are 3 years from the date of the incident
  • However, if you have booked directly with a foreign hotel, it may be that you need to take advice from a lawyer who is a resident in that country to find out about the relevant time limits for making a claim.

We may be able to help you in this instance although you should bear in mind that time limits will vary between countries and will not be the same as in the UK.

Holiday Hotel Watch

Can the tour operator impose its own deadlines for making a claim?

The simple answer is no. The booking conditions in most holiday brochures include a clause stating that you must make any complaint within 28 days after you have returned home.

Depending on the type of claim, for accident or illness claims you will still have 2 or 3 years to commence court proceedings and the tour operator will not be able to dismiss your claim by simply saying that you should have responded within the time detailed in their booking conditions

How long does a tour operator have to respond to a claim?

ABTA guidelines stipulate that a travel agent has 28 days to respond to a complaint or request. If you have made a claim for an accident or illness on holiday, the tour operator will be entitled to a 6 month period to provide you with a response and liability position.

This is not to say that the tour operator will rely on the full 6 month period to respond. When Simpson Millar LLP becomes involved it is often the case that early compensation offers are made by the tour operator within a few weeks or months of the claim starting.

If you have been told by your tour operator that you can expect to wait 6 months for a response to a holiday claim then we suggest that you contact us because the value of your claim may be much more than you realise.

How Simpson Millar LLP can help you

If you are in any way worried about whether you have enough time to pursue a travel agent or tour operator, we suggest that you contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.

We advise about the time limits for making claims, and also help with things such as claim value, who to sue and what you are able to claim for. See our successful case studies to see more.

Get in touch for a chat about how we can help you by filling in our quick, no obligation enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on 0808 145 1353.

Author: © 2014

Dated: 26/02/2014

Holiday Claims Expert James Blower