Unnecessary Risk-Taking Means Tour Operator Not Liable for Accident

With the holiday season upon us, a recent case shows that there are limits to the liability of tour operators when accidents occur, especially when they are the result of rash behaviour.

The case involved a man who fell from the balcony of his hotel in Tenerife and sustained serious injuries. When he and his family closed the sliding door, it had locked them out. In order to effect a re-entry to their room, the man decided to climb onto the adjoining balcony. However, he placed his weight on a decorative feature on the wall which, unknown to him, was made of polystyrene. It gave way and he fell 20 feet, fracturing his skull.

His claim for damages against the tour operator failed. His obvious rashness in taking the risk of climbing between balconies when there was no immediate threat to the safety of him or his family meant that he could not shift the blame onto the tour operator. The inability of a decorative feature to bear weight was understandable and the alleged defect in the self-locking mechanism that caused them to be locked out was not in point.

If you are taking a package tour and are injured or made ill as a result of something done (or not done) by the tour operator or their agent, you may have a claim for damages. However, if you contribute to your injury through your own behaviour, the compensation payable may be reduced. In cases such as this, a claim may fail altogether.