Accidents Abroad

TUI agrees damages for holidaymaker who needed hospital treatment after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after trip to India

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Anne Thomson

Litigation Executive

6 min read time
01 Feb 2022

A woman who was taken so severely ill after returning home from holiday in India that she needed hospital treatment has been awarded £6,750 damages after being diagnosed with pneumonia and Legionnaires’ disease.

The woman, 62, from the West Midlands, spent two weeks at the Hard Rock Hotel in Goa on a package holiday booked through tour operator TUI. She started to feel ill for the final three days of her holiday, and by the time her flight home landed at Birmingham Airport she was so ill and weak she needed a wheelchair to get off the plane.

Over the following days at home she suffered sickness, extreme tiredness, shivers and a number of blackouts, feeling so unwell she admits she became “worried about dying”. She was eventually taken to hospital by ambulance where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and Legionnaires’ disease.

Investigations centred on ‘mist fan’ which cooled hotel guests

The woman, who has now made a full recovery, contacted our travel litigation department at Hudgell Solicitors and following investigations, a successful holiday illness compensation claim was made on her behalf. The compensation settlement was agreed out of court, without any admission of liability being made by representatives of TUI.

“I have never felt so ill in my life, at one point I really did think I was going to die,” the woman said. “I’d started to feel ill over the final few days of our holiday, and my eyes puffed up as well so I had to wear my sunglasses all the time. I initially put it down to the food and the heat, but I couldn’t enjoy the final days of our holiday at all.

“Then, when we were at the airport waiting to come home, I was sick and started to get worse. I just wanted to get on the plane and get home, thinking I’d be ok in a few days. However, on the flight it was awful. I was sick again and shivering all the way home.

“I was drinking lots of water but my mouth seemed dry all the time, and I just felt weaker and weaker. By the time we landed I couldn’t even walk.

“When I was home my doctor gave me some anti-sickness tablets and antibiotics, but it made no difference and I was still really ill for the next couple of weeks. On a few occasions, such as when I was going upstairs, I blacked out completely and my husband found me. It got so bad that I felt like I was going to die so my husband called an ambulance.”

Once in hospital the woman was placed on fluids and intravenous antibiotics, having been told by a nurse that there was “a lot of poison in her body”. It was discovered she had pneumonia and Legionnaires’ disease, and with appropriate treatment, she made a full recovery.

Symptoms can be dismissed by holidaymakers for ‘common illnesses caught abroad’

Anne Thomson, Litigation Executive at Hudgell Solicitors, represented the woman in her legal claim and alleged that she had been exposed to legionella while at the hotel, either through the hotel bedroom air conditioning, or more likely through ‘mist fans’ aimed at keeping guests cool outside.

“Hotels can be susceptible to this dangerous bacteria given it develops in water systems such as showers and air-conditioning systems, and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can sometimes be mistaken for common illnesses picked up abroad as they can be flu-like, with shortness of breath, chest pains, temperatures and coughs,” she said.

“Our client and her husband became aware of other people who had stayed at the hotel also becoming ill towards the end of their stay, and following the eventual diagnosis at hospital, questions were quite rightly asked about some of the water systems at the hotel.

“Our client and her husband repeatedly found their room to be extremely cold, so much so that she was having to lay under blankets, fully clothed, when the temperatures were so high outside. The air-conditioning would always be left on by hotel staff attending to the room, and our client turned it off every time she was in as she said it was like being in a freezer.

“Importantly, our client also explained that she spent several hours every day by a mist fan which sprayed a mist to cool residents down when lying around the pool.

“An independent medical expert consulted as part of the case was of the opinion that the incubation period for legionella suggested the infection had been contracted during the couple’s holiday in Goa and that, on the balance of probabilities, the infection was likely acquired from the hotel, most likely from the mist fan, but also possibly from the air-conditioning or showers. This evidence was helpful to our case and we were delighted to secure a very good settlement for our client.”

The woman added: “I’m really grateful for the support of Hudgell Solicitors. It was my daughter who said we should seek legal advice given what I had been through and I am glad we did as it was an awful thing to experience. It wasn’t just a case of a holiday being ruined, it was really frightening at one point with regards my health.

“Hopefully legal cases can help keep hotels and holiday operators on their toes in terms of preventing this. I have become more aware of the dangers, and I wouldn’t want anybody else to go through what I did.”

Hudgell Solicitors are on hand to help if you think you have a valid claim for an accident abroad or holiday sickness claim, having successfully won compensation for many other holidaymakers who have been negatively impacted by the actions of others.

If you’ve recognised that you or a member of your family has come to harm abroad because of the actions of someone else, then you have the right to seek compensation and file a claim with us. Our overseas compensation solicitors will centre their case around your interests and needs, ensuring the most appropriate and effective legal and medical specialists are handling your claim.

The first step is to get in touch. You can begin by contacting us via our claim form and selecting Holiday Accident as the type of claim. You can also call us for a confidential discussion on your current situation or arrange a meeting to suit you via our online form.

You can get in contact with a member of our specialist teams on a range of different compensation claim types, including holiday injury claims.


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TUI agrees damages for holidaymaker who needed hospital treatment after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after trip to India

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