What to do if you are injured overseas

Travelling abroad can be a life-changing experience filled with wonderful memories and opportunities. However, injuries can happen anytime, anywhere, even while you’re taking it easy on an overseas break.

From a simple trip and fall in the grounds of a resort to taking part in leisure activities, all can lead to an injury. Unfortunately, the cost of sustaining an injury overseas comes at a far greater price, with expensive medical bills and limited access to health care, not to mention impacting your well-deserved vacation.

If the injuries were caused by the actions (or inactions) of a third party, seeking medical treatment can assist your chances of gaining compensation.

Here’s what to do if you sustain an injury overseas.

1. Receive medical attention immediately
Whether your injury is minor or major, your first step should be to seek medical attention immediately after sustaining an injury. Sometimes travellers are reluctant to seek professional help, and this can not only negatively impact your overall health but create legal complications if you are looking to claim down the line.

2. Contact your travel insurance supplier
If you have travel insurance, you should contact your insurer quickly to advise them of your injuries, they can provide advice on where the local medical centres are to get the appropriate care.

If you don’t have travel insurance and need to seek medical assistance, ask your resort manager or tour guide for advice (if applicable). Otherwise, we recommend speaking to the closest Australian Embassy in that country. Find more information on where to find your closest Australian Embassy in your country of travel. 

3. Keep records
It is important to keep a record of everything where possible; every minor detail should be recorded during this time. Anything that is relevant to how the injury came about is crucial, for example: 

  • report how, when, where, why the injury happened
  • take photographs of where the incident occurred
  • ask for the names and addresses of witnesses, so that in the event of a claim being disputed, the witnesses could provide the extra support needed to potentially win your case.


4. Request all your medical documents
If you are looking at forming a legal case around your sustained injuries, then your lawyer may want to look at the medical documents from your injury abroad. When receiving treatment, ensure you request these documents at the time. Obtaining these documents when you are home can be a lengthy process that can slow down your case and create issues.

In addition to these medical documents, you may be able to claim (depending on your cover)  for other expenses such as medication, medical-related travel, cancelled flights, accommodation etc. As these expenses will need to be paid up front, we advise keeping all receipts and invoices of these costs to ensure you are financially compensated when home. 

5. Report the accident to the authorities
Depending on the severity of the injury, having a documented report of the injury from a higher authority can support your legal case. Depending on your situation it is important to:

  • report the incident to the manager, if it happened in a resort
  • report the incident to the local authorities, if it was in a public space 
  • if you are to report the incident to either of the above, ensure you request the report for evidence.


6. Seek medical attention once home
Once you are home, we suggest seeing your general practitioner to have the injury assessed.  This can allow the doctor to give you medical advice and ensure the injury was properly treated while abroad.

Travelling abroad should be about making memories with your loved ones, but in the event of an injury make sure you follow these steps. They can make all the difference and take the hassle out of a legal claim in the future.

If you are unsure whether you have a right to claim or have any general questions around your injury, be sure to contact a law firm to have your claim assessed. LHD lawyers specialise in travel compensation and can give the right advice.

Information supplied by LHD Lawyers

Have you ever been injured overseas? Did you follow these procedures, or do you have your own tips to share with our members?

Related articles:
Travel insurance for cruising
What travel insurance won’t cover
Avoiding travel insurance mistakes

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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