We acted for a client who was on a canal boat holiday in France, organised through a UK tour operator.
Our client and her friends had hired the canal boat to travel along the Canal du Midi in the south of France.
Early in the trip, it became clear that there was a mechanical fault with the boat’s steering mechanism. Our client and her party had resolved to make the tour operator aware of the boat’s issues as soon as they were able to moor. However, when attempting to moor, the mechanical failure occurred again, causing the boat to crash into a concrete bridge.
At the time of the accident, our client was cooking in the boat’s galley. As the boat collided with the bridge, she was thrown to the floor and the hot food she had been preparing flew off the stove and landed on her exposed skin, causing significant second-degree burns. She was taken to hospital and given emergency treatment, but ultimately received extensive and permanent scarring as a result of the crash. She has also suffered from the psychological impact of such a traumatic experience.
We were instructed by our client to pursue the claim against the UK tour operator pursuant to the Package Travel and Linked Arrangements Regulations 2018. According to these regulations, transport covers those instances where the customer is provided with a vehicle of transportation to use at their discretion, both to reach a destination and to use while at their destination. The boat the group had hired is considered accommodation under the regulations and the holiday can therefore be considered a package holiday.
We worked with lawyers from our French office and our marine team, to clarify the local standards applicable to French river cruises and to clarify the documents we should reasonably expect to see from the tour operator.
Although liability was denied, by working with our international network and by taking a collaborative approach to resolve the matter, we were able to secure a satisfactory settlement for our client.