Are Tour Operators Liable?

Who Is Liable For Slip & Trip Accidents While On Holiday In Spain?

Victims of slip accidents while on holiday in Spain should find it easier to prove negligence, as the Spanish Technical Construction Code now includes a requirement for testing slippery floors.

In the past, if a person suffered a slip accident abroad it has been difficult to claim compensation as it is the claimant’s responsibility to prove that local safety standards have been breached. As the TRL Pendulum, the UK’s accepted method of testing the co-efficient of friction of floors has been included in the Spanish Technical Construction Code (CTE), both interior and exterior floors can now be tested following an accident to see if any such breach has occurred.

For example, one of the areas covered by the CTE is swimming pools. It states that exterior areas including swimming pools should have a Pendulum reading of plus 45. Therefore if a person slips in one of these areas and the results achieved following testing are less than appear on the CTE, it can now be argued that local safety standards have indeed been breached.

According to the FTO (Federation of Tour Operators) “There is a direct responsibility placed on tour operators for the safety of their customers. Tour operators are legally responsible for the components of the package - coach transfers, hotels etc, if negligence is proved. They cannot avoid responsibility by attributing it to their sub-contractors. UK customers can sue operators in UK courts and no longer have to pursue action against contractors in overseas courts.”

The Package Travel and Holiday Regulation 1992, defines a Tour Operator (or Organiser) as one who combines two or more elements of travel. As a tour organiser the travel agent could also be held liable if a person slips while on a package holiday they have organised.

In short, the tour operator or organiser has a legal duty to take reasonable care of their clients whilst on holiday. If they put a person in accommodation where the facilities are dangerous or members of staff are careless, they may be held responsible for an accident which causes that person injury.

One of the main causes of accidents while on holiday is slipping on hotel floors, stairs, baths and showers. These include slips on a wet floor where negligent staff fail to put up warning signs or there is a lack of anti slip tape on stairs etc. In the past, claims for these types of accidents have been dismissed as claimants failed to prove the hotel had breached Spanish safety standards. Under the 1992 Regulations, tour operators are liable when a claimant can prove a hotel has failed to comply with its national standards, even if it has not been forced to do so.

“As specialists in the anti-slip industry we offer Victims of Slip & Trip Accidents, Tour Operators and Personal Injury Lawyers a floor testing service abroad.” Says Paul Webb of Stop Slip Ltd. “As the Pendulum appears on the Spanish building code as the recognised testing method of co-efficient of friction, we can visit sites on behalf of Tour Operators and undertake slip tests to ensure that floors in the hotel meet the standards set out in the CTE. If the floors are found to be sub standard, we issue a report advising on ways of being due diligent and how to manage the risk.” Webb explains.

“Alternatively, if a person does unfortunately suffer a slip or trip accident while in Spain, we can provide that person or their Personal Injury Lawyer, with a written report including photographic evidence of the offending floor or surface for use in personal injury claims. Having bi-lingual staff in Spain means we can react quickly when an accident occurs. Gathering evidence as soon as possible is crucial following a slip or trip accident. ” Says Webb.

Stop Slip Ltd is based in the United Kingdom and Spain. The company specialises in undertaking slip tests, supplying world class anti-slip products, and advising companies on how to manage the risk of slip and fall accidents.