Holiday claims after water accidents

The family of an American man who died after being sucked into a hotel whirl pool whilst on holiday in the Bahamas are suing the hotel, saying that his death could have been prevented. The 33 year old man was holidaying with his fiancée when the suction of the pool’s drain pulled him under the water. His fiancée said that hotel staff ignored her shouts for help. She jumped in when she saw that he had not come up for air but was unable to save him. Other guests also tried to help but there was no switch off mechanism nearby. None of the hotel staff were able to give CPR whilst an ambulance was called. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital. The family are now suing the hotel’s American-based marketing company and the manufacturers of the whirlpool. They argue that there should have been a shut-off mechanism in case of emergency and there should have been staff with basic first aid training.

Holiday pools can be dangerous. Over the last six years, 30 children under 10 have drowned whilst on holiday. More than half of these cases were among children under 4 (figures from Child Accident Prevention Trust). In many cases, the child had wandered away from its parents and fallen into an unsupervised pool.

In 2010, a 6 year old boy drowned in a hotel pool in Mexico. He had gone missing just before the accident and was found dead at the bottom of the pool. Most hotel pools are unsupervised and do not have a lifeguard on duty. This means that parents are responsible for supervising their children around water. However, despite parents’ best efforts, accidents can occur.

If an accident has occurred that could have been prevented, you may be able to make a holiday claim. A 27 year old woman was holidaying with her boyfriend in Tenerife. On the first day of their holiday, they dived in to the pool. She hit her head on the bottom of the pool and was knocked unconscious. She was revived and taken to hospital but suffered a spinal cord injury. She was able to make a slow and painful recovery through exercise and strength training but her mobility was affected during this time and she had to take time off work. She submitted a holiday claim and received £22,200 compensation. Some of the depth markings on the pool had come off and there were no signs warning against diving. The hotel did not accept full liability for the accident because the woman could have checked it was ok to dive before she did dive in but accepted that there were steps they could have taken which would have prevented the accident.

There are lots of different accidents which can ruin a holiday. Hotel pools are not the only hazard; walkways and flooring can provide a trip hazard, accidents can occur on excursions or as part of activities, such as jet skiing and rental cars can be involved in road accidents.

A man in America successfully claimed compensation after he was abandoned at sea whilst on a diving trip. He went out with 20 other scuba divers but when the time came to get back on the boat, he was marked off as aboard when he was in fact 400ft away, blowing his safety whistle. The boat sped off without him and it was only because another boat filled with boy scouts spotted him that he survived the ordeal. Upon return home, he consulted a lawyer and filed a claim for compensation.

In another accident, this time in New Zealand, a jet boat and jet ski collided. A 22 year old woman who was a passenger on the jet ski was seriously injured and suffering a head injury in the collision. An inquest into the incident found that a helmet could have spared her this injury. The jet boat was also not following the ‘keep right’ rule of travelling across water. She spent seven months in hospital and may never fully recover. Two of the three jet boat passengers were killed. This incident highlights some of the dangers of water sports.

If you have been involved in an accident whilst on holiday, make sure you write down the details as soon as possible. Also, try to get the details of any witnesses. You may also want to take photos of the scene of the accident, which will help to back up any holiday claim. Legal procedures are different if the accident took place abroad so you should speak to a specialised solicitor who will be able to provide advice and guidance.

Macks Solicitors have many years of experience dealing with holiday claims. Call us to speak to one of our experts about the possibility of making a holiday claim.

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