What to do when you’re seriously injured abroad?

Injured abroad

When planning your next big adventure, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of what you might wear and what you’re going to be doing. But one thing that is usually left out is what you need in order to protect yourself if the unexpected happens.

Before going anywhere, you need to make sure you’ve got Travel and Health Insurance. It’s an essential for travelling and quite frankly, not worth the risk of not having it. There are so many different types of policies that will fit whatever holiday you’re planning on going on. Some providing you with 24-hour emergency service and assistance. Different types of insurance companies can cover anything from sudden illnesses, to sporting injuries occurred during such activities as skiing, bungee jumping – even shark diving! Ensure to pick the right policy for you and your needs.

In addition to his, if you’re traveling within Europe, it’s recommended to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card is not only free but will entitle you to healthcare that is either free or at a reduced price. This does not include repatriation to the UK or private treatment.

There are a few things to remember with pre-travel preparation. Whilst it is beneficial to have an EHIC, it does not act in the same way as travel insurance, so be sure you are equipped with both. Also, every country has different healthcare systems so be sure to research what you would be covered by. You can do this by checking the NHS travel advice pages which lay out the key differences.

If an accident happens…

Call the emergency services

When the unexpected happens, it’s important to try and stay calm. In most European countries calling either 911, 999 or 112 will connect you to the emergency services. But, if in doubt, check the local number before travelling – just to be sure.

If the accident is serious, you must contact your travel insurance company to explain the situation as soon as possible. As mentioned before, most of the policies include a 24-hour assistance service and they will be able to advise you on what to do next.

Contact your nearest embassy

A serious injury or illness could lead to you having to stay in hospital for a period of time. Whether only a short-term or a lengthier stay, the next step you or someone within your group should be doing is calling the nearest embassy to alert them of your predicament.

Shortly after contacting the embassy, you should receive contact from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who will be able to make correspondence with your family as well as liaise with your travel insurance company. If needed, they will also arrange a medical evacuation. It is however important to note that they will not pay the medical bills or provide treatment themselves.

It won’t seem like a top priority in a time of trauma, however it’s important to note that there are two important steps that need to be taken to ensure accurate cause of incident can be determined. This will support your injury case more efficiently.

Collecting Evidence

Depending on the type of injury you have sustained, it may be difficult to completely recall the events perfectly, or even write them down. If this is the case, try to either note down as much information as you can remember at the time, or ask someone to help you make a record. Keep this on hand as you may be able to recall more at a later date. In which case, having someone to record these memories is essential to forming an accurate timeline of events.

It can further support you to obtain photographs of where the accident took place. Any potential damage to the surrounding geographical area caused by the accident should also be recorded. In addition, a before and after picture of any injuries sustained could be helpful to support a case, should legal action be required.

If you are able to get in touch with anyone who may have been present at the time, this could also benefit your case by adding a witness account to your documentation.

It’s important to be prepared for everything. Keeping a record of everything from the dates you’ve visited or been visited by a doctor, to saving copies of official reports are essential to a case file. If you have had to change any plans, for example the length of your stay, make sure you keep all receipts safe until you can file them away with the rest of the information you’ve managed to obtain. These can undoubtedly be of significant importance to you in the near future.

Report your accident

It’s extremely important to make sure that all parties available are well informed about the events that took place. If you were on a package holiday, you need to report it to the company or their representative. If you weren’t staying at a private hotel, try to make contact with whoever you were staying with on your holiday – whether it be an online accommodation provider or a local hostel. Ensure that you get a copy of their entry into their accident book if it happened on their premises as well.

Once your travel insurance provider has all the information they need, they will be able to advise you on both your medical and legal situation moving forward. Just be sure to remember that if the accident was not your fault, to never admit liability or engage in any correspondence with parties involved. Speaking immediately to a qualified solicitor or lawyer is advisable in any cases of serious injury – abroad or at home.

If you’ve had a serious injury abroad and are looking for representation or advice, we could help you. Get in touch with our expert team at Lysander Law today.