Winter holidays - accidents and compensation


Skiing holidays and winter breaks are uppermost in the minds of many at this time of year. It is important to remember that they can be dangerous – and as with any holiday, you are entitled to reasonable standards of care.

Just because you have suffered an injury whilst engaged in a winter sport, be it skiing or snowboarding, do not assume that you have to accept the blame. The fault could lie with the tour operator, instructor or guide. If you booked the holiday in the UK, a claim for compensation can be brought in this country, rather than the country where the accident occurred.

If, for example, you suffer injury because your ski instructor or guide has taken you on the wrong slope, or one too challenging for your level of expertise, then they or their employers can be liable. Likewise, if you are provided with the wrong equipment or even if you slip on a path within the resort that has not been cleared of snow or ice properly, compensation for your injuries and any lost earnings suffered can potentially be obtained.

This does not mean that every accident on a winter sports holiday is necessarily the fault of the tour operator, as was shown in a recent case involving a toboggan. Two holidaymakers had completed an organised toboggan run and dismounted from their toboggans at the appropriate point. However, rather than walking back to they bus as instructed by the tour guide, they then got back onto their toboggan and lost control and one lady suffered a serious leg injury. In this case, the holiday company was held not liable and the judge emphasised that adults are responsible for their own risky actions and “should not believe that whenever an injury occurs someone else must be to blame”.

It is easy to forget that a skiing holiday is like any other holiday and that the same standards apply to your accommodation and resort as those that apply to summer holidays. In this instance The Package Travel, Package Holiday, and Package Tour Regulations 1992 apply to provide protection to those who suffer injury or illness on holiday. If there has been negligence, they allow a claim to be brought against the tour operator in the English courts providing the holiday qualifies as a package holiday under the regulations. In order to qualify, the holiday must include two of the following within the package: travel, accommodation or tourist services.

If you or a family member is unfortunate enough to suffer injury or illness this skiing season, or indeed have done so within the last three years, and you believe that your holiday company was at fault then you may benefit from contacting one of our team of Accident Compensation solicitors in Reading, on 0118 939 3999 or email

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