Read the latest magazine... Download

What To Do If You Suffer An Accident On Holiday

Holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment. However, accidents and illnesses can happen even when you are away. If you suffer an injury or become ill during your trip abroad, it is important to know how to handle the situation properly. Being prepared and understanding the steps to take after an incident can help travellers respond in the best way, when faced with an unexpected health emergency.

Here, we’ll outline the key actions holidaymakers should take if they unfortunately suffer an accident or ailment during their overseas travel. Being informed on the appropriate measures to follow will help ensure your health and safety are looked after, when faced with the stress of dealing with an accident or illness far from home.

Seek medical advice immediately

If you experience an injury, sudden illness or other medical emergency during your holiday, seeking prompt medical attention should be your first priority. Take a minute to calmly assess the situation and the condition of the affected individual, and provide any first aid you can safely administer while waiting for professional help.

For serious conditions, call the local emergency services right away; for less severe issues, transport the patient to the nearest medical facility, clinic or hospital. When you arrive, have details of the incident ready to provide to the staff along with any medications, allergies or prior conditions of the patient. Be sure to ask for copies of medical documentation and bills or receipts before discharge. Getting appropriate medical care quickly can help minimise further harm from injuries and ailments suffered abroad.

Document the incident

Documenting the details of any accident or medical incident that occurs during your trip is vital. Take photographs of injuries, damage or other evidence before getting medical care, provided it is safe to do so. You may also want to ask witnesses to provide their contact information, and written statements on what they observed. Gather and keep copies of all documentation you receive, including medical reports, bills, receipts, police reports and insurance claim paperwork, which will be beneficial if you need to file a personal injury claim.

It’s also a good idea to write down the relevant facts, times and details while still fresh in your mind, because it’s easy to forget after the event. Thoroughly documenting the who, what, where and when provides important records should an insurance claim or lawsuit arise. Keep these safely stored and readily accessible – clear, comprehensive documentation strengthens your case.

Contact your travel insurance provider

Contacting your travel insurance provider promptly after an accident or illness abroad is crucial. Review your policy and call the emergency assistance number for your insurer as soon as realistically possible. Provide details on what has transpired, enquire about next steps for claims processing, and answer any questions the representative may have clearly and honestly. Follow your insurer’s guidance regarding the completion and filing of all appropriate forms, supplying documentation and arranging approved medical transport or lodging if deemed necessary.

Remain in communication with your insurance provider as your situation evolves. They can advise if additional actions are required on your part during the claims process. Understanding your policy coverage and promptly informing your insurer of the emergency can streamline obtaining reimbursement for eligible costs. Do not delay contacting them after an unexpected injury or sickness.

File a report with the police

For accidents or injuries that involve another party or criminal activity, filing a report with the local police is strongly advised. Locate the nearest police station or call the local emergency number to request an officer promptly after the occurrence, or as soon as medically feasible. Provide details of what happened and ask the authorities to file an official report. Obtain a copy of this report, as you may need it for your insurance claim and possible legal proceedings later on. 

Supply the police with contact details for witnesses and any other evidence you may have gathered related to the incident. If possible, get a case number and the badge number of the officer with whom you file. If another party was at fault, ask the police about local laws regarding liability.

Thoroughly documenting law enforcement's knowledge of the event, provides important legal records and proof needed to establish fault and pursue compensation. And don’t leave the country without reporting to the police; if a crime led to your injury or loss.

Make sure you have your EHIC card

One important preparation before travelling from the UK to Europe is obtaining an appropriate health insurance card. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows UK residents to access medical treatment in EU countries, covering you for injury, sudden illness or pre-existing conditions. While these are still valid until expiry, the UK has now introduced the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to replace EHIC cards. Applying for a GHIC provides the same coverage as an EHIC when travelling in the EU.

Visit the NHS website to apply for your GHIC prior to your holiday departure. This will cover you for emergencies and ensure you can receive healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free when visiting Europe. Those travelling to Norway can also use their UK passport to obtain medically necessary treatment while there. Outside the EU, the UK has arrangements with some countries that enable British travellers to get discounted rates on medical care.

Suffering an accident, injury or illness while on holiday can add unwanted stress and inconvenience to your trip, but unfortunately it can happen when you’re least expecting it. Knowing how to respond appropriately can help minimise the challenges faced, and make life easier later on in the event you need to file an injury claim. Following this guidance will allow you to handle the emergency in the most efficient way. While an unfortunate event, handling an accident or sickness overseas judiciously means you can continue your holiday or return home safely.

More from Features

  • Home Style: Romantic Vision

    Tim and Jenny Backshall rescued a derelict timber-framed hall house, respecting its history while future proofing for generations to come

  • Be Well, Move Happy: Connections & Sports

    In the second month of this new health column, Sara Whatley looks at the health benefits of connecting with others and joining a sports club

  • Building Dreams at Bridgers Business Barns

    Space may have been the final frontier for Captain Kirk, but for Anthony and Chris Harris it’s something they’ve created for others to utilise, to fulfill their dreams; and with that in mind they built Bridgers Business Barns as Robert Veitch recently discovered

  • Occupation: Weird and Wonderful

    Kevin Newman is a Sussex-born author, historian, tour guide and history teacher. He has written extensively about Sussex history and here, he shares with us an insight into how some local folk made their living in days gone by

  • Understanding Mental Health

    Mental health charity MIND’s ‘Time To Talk Day' on 1 February is all about opening up conversations around mental health. With this in mind, Adele Trathan explores understanding and recognising mental health issues and ways to access help

  • Money Matters: Food for Thought

    How does your household expenditure on groceries compare to the average UK household? Adele Trathan explores what we spend on food shopping and ways to help the weekly budgeting

  • Win A Two-Night Suite Stay At Buxted Park Hotel

    Subscribe to Sussex Living's free digital edition and we'll enter you into our draw to win a beautiful two-night stay for two in a luxury suite with dinner and breakfast, at the stunning Buxted Park Hotel near Ashdown Forest!

  • Stunning Sussex: A County Blessed With Beaches And Greenery

    Sussex has always been a popular county and continues to attract a growing number of professionals, young families and retirees keen to take advantage of its healthy balance of beach and countryside living...

  • Most Popular Mocktails To Try This Dry January

    Fancy giving dry January a go? Then we have the perfect selection of mocktails for you to make this year. And some are easier than you think!

  • These are things you'll want to know about skincare in 2024

    Less is more. Don’t get conned. It’s a scam. These are the sorts of phrases you will hear Consultant Dermatologist Dr Natalia Spierings saying about the skincare industry. She candidly speaks to Sara Whatley about ageing, menopause, Botox, and ‘Big Skincare’

  • Step to it! Embrace fitness and health in 2024

    Step boldly into 2024 embracing all aspects of fitness and health from the online to the in person. Sara Whatley discusses what’s trending this year...

  • Is moderation the answer? Sara Whatley discusses the merits of a non alcoholic Christmas

    Whether you are enjoying an alcoholic beverage or a temperance drink this Christmas, the key to drinking well is moderation, suggests Sara Whatley

  • Five Ways To Modernise Your Kitchen

    They say the way to most people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Therefore, the adage of the kitchen being ‘the heart of the home’ holds very true in this day and age, particularly as the winter chill encourages indoor hospitality...

  • Christmas Gems: Stocking Fillers That Are Extra Special

    Advertising Feature: With the Christmas lights officially switched on and twinkling decorations adorning high streets across Sussex, the countdown of shopping days remaining until the big day has well and truly begun...

  • London Travel Report: A Tale of Two Exceptional Hotels

    Advertising Feature: As the winter chill begins to embrace us and the festive season beckons, Bill Murray and his wife have embarked on a delightful journey from the serene south coast to the bustling heart of London...

  • Autumn In Your Garden

    Autumn is a transitional month in the garden, as the vibrant colours of summer fade into the warm hues of autumn.

  • Autumn Fashion Tips for Women

    As the leaves change and the temperatures drop, Autumn brings a shift in fashion choices for women in the UK. It's a month that allows for creative and comfortable styling, blending the warmth of autumn with the anticipation of winter. Here are three fashion tips for women to stay stylish and cozy in Autumn:

  • It’s time for a new hobby

    Embracing a hobby is a wonderful idea for women in the UK, offering a plethora of benefits that enhance overall well-being and personal growth. Here are several reasons why it's a fantastic idea for women in the UK to engage in hobbies:

  • Tips & tricks to help you have a budget friendly Christmas

    This year the cost of living crisis, rising fuel bills and rampant inflation will make affording Christmas much harder than usual. Yet, you can still enjoy a magical Christmas on a budget, and we’ve put together some ideas to help you embrace the festive season with minimal cost.

  • How to take stunning family photographs

    Capturing cherished moments with your family is a beloved pastime, and with smartphones becoming increasingly advanced in terms of photography, you can easily take stunning family photos. Here are three valuable tips for taking better family photos with your smartphone, relevant to those living in the UK: