Injured Whilst Holidaying Abroad? Specialist Legal Advice is Vital
If you are injured whilst holidaying abroad, obtaining just compensation can present serious difficulties. A case concerning a holidaymaker whose life was wrecked by a swimming pool accident in Ibiza showed, however, that specialist English lawyers are well up to meeting the challenge.
The man was attending an English-themed club on the Spanish island when he was found floating unconscious in its swimming pool. He had apparently fallen or dived into the pool and hit his head. Other guests dragged him to safety, but he was left tetraplegic and in need of round-the-clock care.
Legal action was commenced on the man's behalf against the Spanish company that ran the club and its Spanish liability insurers, seeking more than 10 million euros in damages. They, however, responded with arguments that the English courts had no jurisdiction to hear his claim.
In ruling on that issue, the High Court noted that it was agreed that the case should be tried under Spanish law. However, the case was unusual in that the club's services were clearly targeted at young British holidaymakers. Its English website and busy social media accounts were replete with images of iconic Routemaster buses and black London taxis.
The general rule under European law is that those facing civil proceedings within the EU are entitled to be sued in the country in which they are domiciled. However, the Court found that a good arguable case had been established that, in the particular circumstances, an exception to that rule applied.
The Court's ruling opened the way for the man's breach of contract claims to be tried in England. Consideration of whether the English courts also had jurisdiction to hear his claims of negligence and breach of statutory duty was deferred pending the outcome of a similar case currently before the European Court of Justice.