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Holiday sickness claims rule changes must not prevent those genuinely ill due to negligence receiving damages

There has been much talk in the press recently about the increase in the number of holiday illness claims being brought against English tour operators, as well as some individuals making fraudulent holiday sickness claims following a foreign holiday.

As a result of the increased number of claims and the “fraudulent” claims, the Ministry of Justice is bringing in new rules in May 2018 that solicitors must follow when making gastric illness claims on behalf of clients.

Whilst some law firms are up in arms about these new rules and the effects they will have on their business, here at Hudgell Solicitors we welcome any change which reduces fraudulent claims being made.

Such fraudulent claims lead to all being unfairly tarnished with the same brush, and that sadly has an impact on people with genuine claims when their illness is caused by the negligence of others.

The big question most will be asking is what will these changes now mean for the holidaymaker who suffers an illness on their holiday?

The short answer to this question is “nothing”. If you suffer a genuine gastric illness abroad then do not be shamed into believing that you can’t make a claim.

As an individual who has suffered gastric illness abroad as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you are entitled to access to justice for this illness and compensation for not only your illness but the cost of your holiday and any other losses that you might have incurred.

The onus always has been and always will be on solicitors to ensure the instructions given to them by their clients are factually accurate and correct before a claim is pursued.

At Hudgell Solicitors we are proud to offer a team of travel litigation specialists to act for people who, through no fault of their own, suffer genuine gastric illness on what should be one of the happiest and most relaxing times of their year.

Equally, where we suspect that an individual is being less than truthful, we are not afraid to ask the difficult questions and provide robust advice to a client as and when required.

With the above in mind, and the summer holiday season about to start, here are our top tips to keep you and your family safe from gastric illness when travelling abroad:-

  • Ensure that you alert your holiday company of any dietary requirements that you or your party may have. Ensure these dietary requirements are forwarded to your airline and hotel before you travel.
  • Ensure that you have adequate holiday insurance. Some people have holiday insurance provided through their bank accounts, credit cards etc and assume that it will cover them whatever the circumstances and wherever they travel. This is not always the case and you should double check with your insurance provider exactly what cover is provided.
  • A change in temperature, food, water and surroundings can cause you to become unwell through no fault of your accommodation provider. Ensure that you pack enough sickness and diarrhoea medication for your entire family.
  • When out enjoying the sun ensure that you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as dehydration can lead to sickness and diarrhoea. Keep a particular eye on children and make sure they take regular breaks in the shade.
  • Ensure that you apply regular and sufficient strength sun cream as sun stroke can also be a major factor of sickness, diarrhoea and dehydration. Ensure that children are given a high factor sun cream and that it is reapplied after fun splashing in the sea or pool.
  • If you have booked all-inclusive accommodation and the food is of a high standard, then try not to eat or drink outside of the accommodation complex as you do not know the hygiene standards of other local bars and restaurants.
  • If you see food or drink in your accommodation complex that you believe is undercooked, looks dirty, is being stored incorrectly or have any concerns whatsoever, do not consume the same and inform a member of staff immediately.

In the unfortunate event that you and your family suffer illness while abroad and you believe this is the fault of your accommodation provider follow the below steps to ensure that you give your claim the best possible chance of success

  1. Immediately alert the accommodation management and your holiday representative abroad of your illness. Do not wait until you leave before making a complaint. Make sure that a documented log is made of your illness and that you are happy it accurately reflects the circumstances of your illness. Try and retain a copy of the report for your own records.
  2. Be sure to take the name of the accommodation management and local representative that you report your illness to.
  3. Keep a clear log of the dates your illness started, stopped and the symptoms that you suffered. Ensure to include how the symptoms changed and progressed over time.
  4. If required, seek medical treatment abroad. Your representative will be able to assist you with this.
  5. Keep copies of any documentation detailing the medical treatment you received abroad.
  6. Keep receipts of any medication purchased abroad or expenses made.
  7. Take photographs of any undercooked food or poor hygiene practices at your accommodation which you believe may have caused or contributed to your illness.
  8. Upon return to the UK ensure that you seek medical advice from your GP and also alert your holiday company of your illness by contacting their complaints department.
  9. Do not provide your details to any individual who approaches you while you are abroad and who claims they will obtain compensation upon your return to the UK.
  10. If you believe your illness was caused by someone else’s negligence, obtain expert legal advice from a solicitor in England with expertise in this niche area of the law.

We wish everybody who travels on holiday a safe and pleasant time. However, should you wish to speak to one of our expert travel advisors then contact us on 0808 231 6028 for honest, upfront advice.

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