Accidents Abroad: The Five Most Common Holiday Injuries

With summer almost here, many thoughts will turn to sandy beaches and sun-soaked afternoons around the pool.

However, while many holidaymakers may be working out budgets or creating a packed itinerary, it also pays to invest in holiday insurance and brush up on the safety risks.

Many Brits are unsure what to do in the event of an accident when away, so it’s wise to familiarise yourself with your holiday destination’s medical procedures.

We look at some of the most common holiday injuries and share some expert legal advice for when accidents do happen.

1.      Slips, trips and falls

Lounging around the pool with book (or cocktail) in hand can be one of the real joys of a summer vacation. That’s not to say this relaxing pastime doesn’t come with its hazards.

Every year, approximately 155,000 injuries occur in or around swimming pools with many as a result of slippery surfaces.

Holiday venues should safety-proof their poolsides by minimising splash, providing slip-resistant flooring and encouraging guests not to run poolside.

2.      Sunburns and heatstroke

Us Brits aren’t used to the Sun so may not be best placed to properly protect ourselves against its potentially harmful effects.

In a recent survey, 32% of Brits said they travel abroad to simply kick back and sun bathe yet even the most dedicated sun worshipper needs to take necessary precautions to guard against nasty burns, heat stroke and even skin cancer.

Take it easy the first few days by letting yourself acclimatise and limiting your exposure to shorter intervals.

Remember, SPF is an absolute necessity with fairer complexions requiring higher factors. Even if products are waterproof, they often lose potency after a dip in the sea or pool so remember to reapply liberally for maximum protection.

3.      Food poisoning

Fears of foreign food can seem like an antiquated throwback these days, yet a combination of extra heat, humidity and unfamiliar water can contribute to an upset stomach for many British tourists each year.

According to a recent survey, Spain is the most common destination for food poisoning. Bacteria can grow quicker in warmer climates so remain cautious around riskier foods like seafood or chicken.

Should you take ill, make sure to consume as much water as possible as vomiting leads to excessive dehydration. Rest as much as possible, eat bland foods and keep surfaces clean to avoid spreading infection.

4.      Sporting injuries

A well-planned holiday can often mean a winning mix of rest and recreation. Warmer climes can be a chance to try new, more exotic sports like surfing or scuba diving while homeland pursuits like football, golf or tennis may take on fresh focus.

Make sure to kit yourself out with the proper clothing and equipment and ensure you have travel insurance, and your Global Health Insurance Card is up to date. Without this, healthcare costs can vary around the world, a simple knee scan could set you back around £5,000.

It’s also wise to check the credentials of the company should you book any trips or excursions. A simple scroll through their online reviews could inform you of any potential safety hazards.

5.      Road accidents

A change to right hand driving can baffle even the most experienced of drivers. Statistically, only 30% of the world’s countries drive on the left (as in the UK) so chances are you’ll be finding your bearings.

Drivers should take their time and pay extra attention to the speed limit until they adjust to the change. Driving cautiously can prevent a whiplash injury or something more serious.

In the case of a crash, Susanne McGraw, Head of Personal Injury at Watermans advises: “Unfortunately, accidents do happen and making a claim against a company or individual abroad can be daunting.

“If you think you need to pursue a claim, the best thing to do is seek legal counsel immediately. Expert help can make the claims process as straightforward as possible and fight to secure you the maximum level of compensation.

“In addition, access can be arranged to any additional services required such as physio or counselling to help you recover.”