During the summer the travel law team received instructions from insurers to advise on two claims involving serious injuries resulting from balcony falls in Spain. This coincides with a recent spate of incidents covered in the press with some reports saying that as many as eight people have been killed and more than 30 injured this year in Spain alone.

‘Balconing’ –the practice of jumping from a balcony towards a swimming pool is particularly popular with young British tourists in lively resorts such as Ibiza and Magaluf. Unsurprisingly, most balconing incidents occur in the early hours of the morning and involve the consumption of alcohol.

These cases can prove challenging for insurers, who are naturally reluctant to pay out for claims resulting from reckless and/or inebriated behaviour. The problem they face is that it is often difficult to obtain supporting evidence to justify a declinature, since friends of the policyholder are usually reluctant to help. It is also not possible to obtain evidence from the hospital or the police if the insured fails to cooperate.

Such cases can cause a very serious financial burden for the unsuspecting parent. Many young people do not take out travel insurance, leaving parents to pay for the expensive medical and repatriation bills. Medical evacuation is also not covered by the reciprocal health arrangements between Spain and the UK, or by the European Health Insurance Card.