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Accidents Abroad – Air and Sea Travel

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Air & Sea Travel Accidents Abroad

The UK might be enjoying one of the hottest summers in recent years, but that won’t stop many of us from enjoying a holiday overseas. While most of us come home with happy memories from our trip, unfortunately in some cases having an accident abroad can leave you in need of expert legal help.

In the first of three blogs looking at how to deal with injuries sustained on holiday, we will first look at travel to and from your destination. In particular, our focus here is on what your rights are if you are injured on a plane or boat.

Elements of a successful claim

If you do suffer an accident while travelling to or from your holiday destination, there are a few criteria that must be satisfied if your personal injury claim has any chance of succeeding.

What is an aircraft/sea vessel?

This may seem like a strange question, but as far as the law is concerned the nature of the vehicle you travel in will affect your claim.

Naturally, most holidaymakers will make their trip on a commercial aeroplane or cross channel ferry, but there have been cases reported where claimants have attempted to secure compensation for injuries sustained on vehicles such as paragliders and jet skis.

International carriage

A successful claim will require your journey to have involved international carriage. This is defined as a journey in which the point of departure and arrival are in different ‘State Parties’. An exception to this would be if your departure and arrival points were in the same State Party, but there was a stop off point in a different one along the way.

UK domestic flights have a separate set of rules entirely, so it is best to consult your personal injury solicitor for specific guidance in this case.

Agreement between the parties

Your claim is only likely to succeed if you are a valid passenger. This will mean that a written agreement exists between you and your travel provider that sets out the conditions of your journey.

Of course, this will also mean you have a valid ticket for travel. For example, people boarding without paying would not succeed in a personal injury claim.

Embarkation and disembarkation

It is possible to claim compensation for accidents sustained during the embarkation or disembarkation of your plane or boat. However, where these processes begin and end has been a source of debate, and past cases suggest injuries sustained during embarkation may be more likely to succeed.


If the fault for the accident can be proven to lie with the passenger, then the carrier may be able to exonerate themselves of any blame for the injury, so it is important to think carefully about whether your accident was indeed someone else’s fault. Damaged pride or embarrassment will not be enough to secure you compensation.

Accident abroad claims with Sheldon Davidson Solicitors

If you would like further advice on this subject, the experienced team at Sheldon Davidson Solicitors will be happy to answer your questions.

Check back with us over the next few weeks too, as we move on to package holidays and road traffic accidents abroad.

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