Accidents often happen on holidays, but it used to be difficult to secure compensation. Some comfort was afforded to families travelling abroad under the Package Holidays (Trade and Travel) Act 1995 where in Section 20 it provides that “The organiser shall be liable to the consumer for any damage caused by the failure to perform the contract or the improper performance of the contract unless the failure or the improper performance is due neither to any fault of the organiser or the retailer nor to that of another supplier of services…”
In this case, a family brought its three year old on holidays with them to Tenerife on a package holiday.
The father injured his hand on a ceiling fan that was fixed too low and complained to reception to no avail. The hotel told him they had no alternative room when he raised the issue again a day later. A few days later he lifted his child up and the fan hit the back of the child’s head requiring stitches.
The father sued and expert evidence established the fan was fixed too low and was a hazard and the father had complained twice about this to reception with no success. The hotel had not disclosed that there was in fact another room which they could have moved to thereby avoiding the child’s injury.
The Court found there was a clear breach of the Tour Operator’s duty of care to the plaintiff. The father had twice complained about the fan and an accident was therefore foreseeable. If the family had been moved to another room, the accident would not have happened.
The child was awarded €8,500 in damages and the father was refunded the cost of the holiday.
It might be useful to point out, as an adjunct to the above Court decision, that if the family had arranged the holiday themselves without any agent, they would not have secured compensation unless they issued proceedings in Spain against the hotel.
If you have any queries regarding injuries sustained on a package holiday please contact us by phone at 061 501100, email Thomas Dowling, litigation partner at [email protected] or get a call back by completing our contact form so we can provide you with further information or advice.