Imagine saving hard all year in order to afford your dream overseas holiday, only to see it ruined through no fault of your own. Unfortunately, this is a scenario which thousands of holidaymakers face every year when they travel abroad on a package holiday.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve fallen victim to illness from food poisoning, bed bugs or a poorly maintained air conditioning unit; you may have a right of redress – despite the sea of stories which have appeared in the national media recently.
Quite rightly, a major crackdown on fake and exaggerated holiday sickness claims has been launched by the government in a bid to stem the number of false claims for food poisoning being brought by British holidaymakers. This includes warning people that they can face up to three years in prison if they are found guilty of making a fraudulent claim.
But whilst everyone in the travel industry should be doing everything they can to prevent bogus compensation cases ever being pursued, it should not deter people with genuine illnesses from bringing a claim.
If someone has suffered because of poor hygiene standards or a substandard approach to health and safety, they have a right to seek justice – without being vilified for doing so. Remember, the individual has not done anything wrong!
Don’t underestimate the importance of holiday sickness claims
As a holiday sickness claims solicitor with more than a decade of expertise in this area, I have successfully helped hundreds of people to gain compensation. In all of those cases, the person involved deserved to recover damages for the pain and suffering they experienced.
Some of these cases involved people with moderate symptoms, where sickness or diarrhoea resulted in their dream holiday (which they’d saved long and hard for) being completely ruined – through no fault of their own.
However, there have also been more serious instances, where food poisoning resulted in long-term implications such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Fibromyalgia.
In extreme cases, this level of symptoms can leave the person unable to work and needing specialist care and home adaptations in order to cope with the long-term consequences of the illness.
Back in 2009, I worked on a case where a grandmother was left partially disabled after suffering organ failure, temporary blindness and septicaemia as a result of food poisoning she contracted on a two-week holiday in the Dominican Republic.
She received £240,000 in compensation after doctors discovered she had contracted an infection in her brain, liver and pancreas. The mother-of-three is now mostly confined to a wheelchair and forced to take 23 tablets a day for various heart, bowel and bone conditions.
No one could deny that she deserved to be compensated for her considerable pain, suffering and future medical needs.
If you or someone you know has suffered a similar fate, you have the right to have your voice heard too. And there’s no need to feel guilty about it because of the current crackdown on bogus claims.
How we assess genuine holiday sickness claims
There are a number of stringent checks we carry out when assessing whether we believe a holiday sickness claim is genuine and has reasonable prospects of succeeding.
At Hudgell Solicitors, our ethos is to always see the person and not just the claim – which is why we check the veracity of each individual’s symptoms at the outset of a case.
In order for us to pursue a holiday illness claim, we need to establish who it would be against and on what grounds.
If you booked your break as a package holiday through a tour operator, that company is responsible for your health and safety. In cases where the flight and accommodation have been booked separately, the hotel itself would be liable.
Depending on the severity of the illness, the following checklist is a good course of action to take before seeking holiday claims advice:
- Always inform the hotel and your tour rep of your illness and ensure it is noted in their report book.
- If you discover that another person is suffering with the same symptoms, exchange contact details. The more cases there are, the more likely that the source of the illness outbreak is the same.
- Take photographic evidence of the hygiene standards in operation, such as an unclean swimming pool or insects and birds on food serving areas.
- Keep any receipts for medicines that you obtain from a pharmacist as evidence of treatment.
- If necessary, visit the hotel or resort doctor to have your symptoms assessed.
- Provide a stool sample to the doctor so that a pathogen or germ can be traced, potentially right back to the original source of the issue.
- Upon your return to the UK, consult your doctor immediately especially if symptoms persist.
What to do if you’ve fallen victim to illness on holiday
At Hudgell Solicitors, we know how important it is to secure justice for what has happened to you – and we’re happy to offer free specialist advice on all aspects of a potential claim.
But before deciding whether to take legal action, it’s a good idea to seek holiday claims advice from an expert solicitor who can help you to carefully consider the strength of your case.
If you’ve suffered when travelling abroad, don’t be put off by the negative publicity about holiday claims which has been in the media recently. Please fill in an online call-back form or call our team today and we will be happy to discuss the exact details of your case.