Having an accident on holiday is a sure way to put a downer on any trip. We go on holiday of course to explore, to take time out of our busy schedules, and to come back rejuvenated and full of energy – breaking a leg doesn’t quite fit anywhere into that plan.
If you have an accident in Europe then you’ll likely find yourself disappointed that you’ll be unable to continue exploring, and stressed to be returning in a worse state that you set off. At the same time though you may also be worried about whether or not you’ll be able to get the quality medical attention you need on short notice, and whether you’ll be able to travel and whether you can get compensation if the accident wasn’t your fault or if you lost money as a result. Here then we’ll look at how you can avoid letting an accident become a crisis, and how you can ensure you get the best medical and financial help quickly and easily.
Get Medical Attention
If you have injured yourself then under any circumstances the first and most important step to take is to get treated to prevent the problem being exacerbated. Find the number for emergency services in your country by asking a local or looking on a mobile, or failing that see if you can get someone to drive you to a hospital. Don’t worry about the money at this stage, your number one priority is your health and safety and that means getting treatment fast.
Okay, now once you’re being seen you can start worrying about the finances. Bear in mind here that many European countries provide free healthcare to their residents, usually through an ‘NHS’. However, regulations still exist here to control access and to prevent ‘health tourism’ – so you can’t just head over to Europe to get free care.
While the precise laws vary from country to country, you can usually be seen for free so long as it’s in a primary care facility, a GPs office, a hospital emergency room or a ‘walk-in’ centre. Likewise you can only be seen in these cases if it’s an emergency. Here you can get treated freely for a number of infectious diseases, some psychiatric treatment or family planning services.
If you have to be admitted to hospital however, even for a serious operation, you will most likely have to pay up. Of course though money should again be a secondary concern at this point and you should focus instead on getting back to full health/setting the bone/stopping any bleeding.
Once you’ve been treated, you may find yourself out of pocket, in which case you have a number of avenues to go down. One is to see if your treatment is covered by your regular health insurance policy – though you’ll need to read the small print in your contract to find out if you are covered when you’re overseas.
You should also look into your travel insurance policy, and again you might find that you are covered against the costs incurred by injury, or at least delays in your travel that might have resulted from your accident.
Another option is to try and seek legal compensation, and if the accident wasn’t your fault then you might be entitled to remuneration if you seek help from a lawyer. You may not even have to push the issue, and it could be that a well worded letter could help you to get compensation out of court. A law firm such as http://www.nowinnofee.com/ can help you with this process.