Accidents Abroad Travel law experts

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1 Accidents Abroad Travel law experts

2 ABOUT LEIGH DAY ABOUT LEIGH DAY We are one of the UK s leading personal injury firms. Our dedicated travel team specialise in providing legal advice to people injured abroad whether that be on a package holiday, in a road traffic accident or whilst working in a foreign country. From straightforward whiplash injuries to life changing incidents causing long-term brain and spinal injuries, our team has extensive experience of the consequences and can provide first class legal advice and support to you and your family. Our reputation Independent client guides have identified us as one of the country s leading firms of claimant personal injury solicitors with a reputation for integrity and reliability. Leigh Day have achieved some ground breaking results in international catastrophic claims. Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession Client service We know that taking legal action can be daunting. This anxiety can be heightened if the accident occurs abroad. We put the needs of the individual at the centre of every claim and never forget that the impact of an injury can substantially disrupt you and your family s life and can even change it forever. Our role is to be your friendly, experienced guide, giving you expert advice to lead you successfully to a positive outcome as swiftly and professionally as possible. Funding Our initial advice is free of charge and confidential. We understand that the financial implications of bringing a claim can be a concern and we will therefore provide you with a clear, comprehensive explanation of all the different funding options available for bringing your claim including legal expenses insurance, no-win no fee agreements, contingency agreements or private funding. We can also offer after the event (ATE) insurance which will provide crucial costs protection in the unlikely event that your claim does not succeed. What we can do to help you Assess your claim and provide clear advice on your prospects of success. Come and visit you at home if you are not well enough to travel to our offices. Pursue a claim for compensation against the tour operator/insurers/airline responsible. Arrange funding for rehabilitation to enable you to achieve the best possible recovery and make an early request for an interim payment to help assist you with costs of every day bills and expenses. Liaise with foreign lawyers and experts to ensure you get the best possible team dealing with your case. Obtain medical and other experts reports to deal with your injuries and needs such as care, accommodation and equipment. Ensure that all of the evidence required to maximise your compensation is obtained. Financial Compensation If you are involved in an accident abroad which is caused by someone else s negligence then you may be entitled to be compensated for your injuries, loss and damage sustained. The level of compensation available could depend on the laws of the country where the accident occurred but will generally include: Compensation for your injuries Compensation for expenses incurred including medical treatment, loss of earnings, travel expenses, care and assistance Compensation for losses / expenses in the future such as treatment, loss of earnings and in severe cases, care and accommodation and equipment

3 CLIENT STORY Cycling accident in Portugal Mr Davis, a member of British Cycling, has been a keen cyclist for many years. Unfortunately, whilst visiting Porto in Portugal for work purposes on 7 May 2014, he was involved in a road traffic accident. Mr Davis was cycling along a main road when a car turned left across his path, forcing him to take evasive action. He was thrown off his bicycle as a result and sustained serious injuries, including an open book fracture of his pelvis, spinal fractures (T12/ L3/L5/S1), dislocation of his left shoulder and rib fractures. He was taken to hospital in Portugal following the accident and underwent major surgery, before being repatriated by air ambulance to a hospital in the UK where he underwent further surgery. Mr Davis family flew out to Portugal to be with him in hospital following the accident. Leigh Day were contacted by Mr Davis wife whilst she was in Portugal, and the firm was able to provide guidance and support. A meeting with the family was arranged upon Mr Davis return to the UK and Leigh Day subsequently arranged for an Immediate Needs Assessment to be carried out, which was funded by the Portuguese driver s insurers. Leigh Day have also appointed lawyers in Portugal to investigate liability and advise on the aspects of the case which are governed by Portuguese law. Although such investigations are ongoing, Leigh Day has focussed on the importance of early rehabilitation for Mr Davis in order to maximise his long term recovery. In doing so they have persuaded the driver s insurers to fund all recommendations contained in the needs assessment report made including extra physiotherapy, provision of a taxi account, and a private assessment with an Occupational Therapist. A case manager from a rehabilitation company is working closely with him, again funded by the Defendant s insurers, to ensure that his ongoing needs are monitored and acted on accordingly. Despite the life threatening injuries sustained by Mr Davis, he is recovering well and is keen to return to cycling and to his previous level of fitness. He has recently started to use a static bike and hopes to get back on his bike again. I am very grateful to Leigh Day for all of the support they have provided since my cycling accident in Portugal. The rehabilitation package, funded by the Driver s insurance company, was implemented shortly after my first meeting with the team at Leigh Day and has been central to my progress. It s very humbling and encouraging, and really does inspire and motivate me to make the most of the opportunities made available to me. Thank you. Mr Davis, Leigh Day client

4 CLIENT STORY Road traffic accident in Croatia Miranda s daughter suffered a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident in Croatia. When Miranda was informed of the accident she immediately arranged to travel over to Croatia. Miranda s sister recommended that she instruct Leigh Day to proceed with a legal claim immediately. Once Sally Moore, head of personal injury, was appointed, she arranged interim payments to support Miranda and her family whilst her daughter was in hospital in Croatia, which continued throughout her legal case. She organised a hospital plane to get Miranda s daughter back to the UK when she was medically stable to travel. Interim payments were used to pay for private therapies, a specialist brain injury case manager, medical treatment and to fund adaptations to their home and as things progressed paid for accommodation and support which enabled her to live independently. The structure of the final settlement included annual payments managed by a deputy to meet her daughter s day to day needs for the rest of her life and a lump sum award. Miranda said: My daughter has made a good recovery, but she is not the same person as before the accident. She is lucid, good fun and will have a good quality of life, but will never be able to hold down a full time job. Whatever the meeting was, Sally often arriving on her bicycle, would rock up and there she was showing the human face. It was almost like having another family member sitting in on everything. Miranda, Leigh Day client CLIENT STORY Accident in Italy LJ was walking past a door in the hotel in which she was staying when the pane of glass in the top part of the door suddenly fell out as she walked past, slicing down her leg and severing various tendons and ligaments. The claim was brought against Lastminute.com who obtained an indemnity from the insurer of the hotel in Italy at which the accident had occurred. Despite over a year of intensive treatment, she continued to suffer with extreme pain and foot drop and was unable to return to work. She ultimately underwent a below knee amputation. Following the amputation LJ started to make good progress with her mobility after being provided with an Echelon foot prosthetic but developed a neuroma requiring further revision surgery. Thereafter, LJ had severe difficulty in obtaining a prosthesis with the correct socket alignment due to residual swelling and fluctuating fluid levels in her residual stump. Christine Tallon, her lawyer from the personal injury team at Leigh Day, was able to put LJ in touch with Proactive Prosthetics who worked closely with her to improve her socket fitting. They were also able to offer her a trial of an I-Walk bionic prosthesis called a BioM which provides an amputee with a power assisted ankle system. The high cost of the BioM increased the value of her claim significantly. The defendants argued that the traditional prosthetic would have be been good enough for LJ. However, the claim was settled shortly before trial for an amount that allowed her to buy the BioM prosthesis and allowed for the additional costs of purchasing mobility standard adapted accommodation. I was lost and scared following my injury but with Christine as my solicitor, I felt safe and with much care and understanding after losing all my confidence, I was guided through the legal process without fear. Trust is important and I am relieved that I went with Leigh Day. A big thank you to all involved with my care. LJ, Leigh Day client

5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS I am planning on taking a holiday abroad. Is there anything in particular I should do before I book / travel? In order to ensure adequate protection in the event that anything goes wrong, we would advise that you book your holiday with a reputable agent/tour operator ideally as a regulated package holiday. I have a European Health Insurance Card. Do I also need travel insurance? We would strongly recommend that you take out adequate travel insurance as well as obtain a European Health Insurance Card ( EHIC). The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and it is crucial to understand the limitations. The NHS website explains that a free EHIC will only entitle you to basic state medical treatment at a local hospital and does not provide private medical treatment, cover for lost or stolen property or repatriation to the UK if your injuries are serious. Travel insurance, subject to any exclusions within the policy wording, will provide this cover. It is therefore crucial that travellers obtain both the EHIC and private travel insurance cover before their trip. Failure to do so may result in expensive medical and travel costs back to the UK. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS I ve had an accident abroad. What should I do? Even with meticulous planning and adequate insurance cover, incidents can happen. There are a number of practical things we would recommend: It is important to gather as much information as possible whilst at the location, to avoid crucial liabilty evidence being lost. If you are unable to do so ask a family member or friend to help. If appropriate, contact the police and take their full details. Even if you are very tense, cooperate with the police and try to keep calm. In a road traffic accident, fill out an Accident Report Form (known as a European Accident Statement) and take the carbon copy. This document can be obtained from your insurer before you travel or is usually provided by the other party. It is a useful, contemporaneous record of the parties and circumstances involved in an accident and can be a vital piece of evidence should liability be disputed. If you do not agree with the document or do not understand what has been written, do not sign the document. Use your smartphone, take photographs of the accident location from different angles including any road signs, road markings. Take photographs of the damaged vehicles and any injuries. Take down the name and addresses of any witnesses, independent or not and any other holidaymaker who may have suffered from a similar illness/incident. Keep copies of any paperwork including booking documentation, excursion information, expenses receipts. Seek medical attention and ask for a copy of your hospital records before you are discharged. Contact your travel insurers to notify them of the accident and, if necessary, to arrange private medical care and / or repatriation home. Seek expert legal advice from experienced travel lawyers such as Leigh Day to deal with any civil or criminal matters that arise.

6 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Who can I take action against if I have had an accident abroad? MEET OUR TRAVEL TEAM Sally Moore - Head of Personal Injury / This depends on the type of accident you have been involved in. We are able to take action against the following potential defendants the tour operator, the airline, the cruise company, the foreign hotel, the foreign insurance company, your employers. Generally you do not need to take action in the country where the accident occurred but if this should be necessary we will advise you of your options. Sally is regarded by market sources as a hugely conscientious lawyer with a tremendous grasp of the subject who fights her client s corner, can be tough and makes good decisions. She is a member of the Law Society s personal injury panel, is a Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and is recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers guide to the legal profession as a leading individual in the field of personal injury claims. Sally is Chair of Headway West London. How long will my holiday accident claim take? It is difficult to provide an answer to this question, as our answer will depend on a number of factors. Bringing a claim following an accident abroad can take time but please be assured that we will endeavour to deal with your claim as efficiently and swiftly as possible. Why should I choose Leigh Day to act for me? Leigh Day are recognised as one of the country s leading personal injury firms. You will have access to a dedicated team of experienced, specialist travel lawyers. You don t have to worry about costs: we act on a no win, no fee basis. A strong 25-year history of acting for victims of accidents abroad. Extensive experience in handling compensation claims for catastrophic injuries, including amputation, severe brain and spinal injuries. You know your interests will always come first, because we only represent victims, never defendants. Clare Campbell - Partner / Clare specialises in acting for claimants involved in accidents abroad including road traffic accidents with complex jurisdiction and applicable law issues, claims under the Package Travel Regulations, workplace accidents abroad, maritime and aviation cases, accidents in America and large group illness litigation. She is a member of the Law Society, The American Association for Justice, The Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Travel and Tourism Lawyer s Association. Christine Tallon - Partner / Christine specialises in high value catastrophic injury claims, including brain injury and amputee claims and fatal accidents. She also handles claims involving accidents abroad in which jurisdictional issues often arise. She is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. a member of the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers and an accredited member of the Law Society Personal Injury panel.

7 They provide high-quality legal advice, are experienced in dealing with legally and factually complex cases, and are committed to their clients needs. Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession T F Priory House 25 St John s Lane London EC1M 4LB /LeighDayLaw /company/leigh-day

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