Thousands of schoolies are heading off overseas for fun and adventure, but it is important to know what can be done legally should there be an accident, mishap or misadventure.
Travel law specialist Victoria Gallanders, solicitor at Stacks Goudkamp Law Firm in Sydney, offers this advice for schoolies whose overseas adventure goes seriously wrong:
A common danger faced by schoolies is transport accidents, especially on motorbikes and mopeds. For example a girl is hit by a motorbike in Bali and suffers a broken leg. What are her legal rights?
In the first instance it is imperative that schoolies have adequate travel insurance and that they comply with the conditions of their policy while they are away. Let’s say she did have travel insurance and received medical treatment she needed in a private medical clinic in Bali.
On returning to Australia she continued to experience pain and restricted mobility. She couldn’t continue with her bar job to save money for university, and her parents incurred expenses like travel costs to medical appointments and medication costs.
Travellers have legal rights to claim compensation even if they are injured overseas. In this instance if the motorbike was insured a damages claim could be submitted to the Indonesian third party insurer. If the motorbike was not insured or didn’t stop, a claim could instead be submitted to the Indonesian third party insurance fund of last resort. If the motorbike was driven by another tourist, other legal avenues may be available.
It is important to report the incident to police and gather as much information about the accident as possible before returning home. Take photos and obtain names and contact details of those involved and witnesses.
Although a claim is possible after returning to Australia, Indonesian law will apply to most aspects of the claim including time limits. It is important to act quickly when returning to Australia and seek specialist legal advice.
Victoria Gallanders is available for interview on legal issues regarding travellers.
Level 20 227, Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
T: 02 9237 2222