TUI Loses Holiday Claims Trial after Our Clients Suffered Gastric Illness at the Nubian Island Hotel in Egypt
The Law Of… Taking on a Tour Operator and Winning
After a heated trial with TUI in which the tour operator tried to discredit the honest claims of a British family, our clients were successfully awarded compensation following severe bouts of holiday illness after consuming contaminated food at the Nubian Island Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. As a result of this victory, they obtained compensation in excess of £9,000.
Illness at the Nubian Island Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
Our clients were on an all-inclusive package holiday at the Nubian Island Hotel, situated in the popular holiday destination of Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, which they booked through TUI-owned UK tour operator Thomson. Looking forward to an enjoyable family holiday, their trip abroad was soon ruined by poor hygiene standards at their hotel.
Hygiene Concerns at Sharm El Sheikh Hotel
While at the Nubian Island Hotel our clients had a number of hygiene concerns. They complained that the food at the hotel buffet was lukewarm, adding that food handling staff could be seen topping it up rather than replacing old dishes with new ones. They also advised that some of the meals were recycled, meaning that food from previous sittings was reheated, and some of the buffet food was left out uncovered for long periods of time.
During their stay, they also noticed that the catering staff did not wear hats or any form of protective headgear, and they also sighted birds in the restaurant. Our clients completed satisfaction surveys provided by the hotel, in which they informed the hotelier that the food was of a poor quality.
Holidaymakers Suffer Gastric Illness
After 5 days of eating food from the Nubian Island Hotel, our clients became unwell, suffering from severe symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and light headedness. Their symptoms were very severe for the first 48 hours, during which they suffered between 15 and 25 bowel movements a day.
Even after the acute stage of their illness subsided, our clients were unwell for approximately a further 3 weeks, with one member of their holiday party suffering from an exacerbation of a pre-existing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) condition.
Because of the severity of their symptoms, they had to stay in their hotel room and were unable to enjoy any of the hotel facilities or all-inclusive food that they had paid for.
Holidaymakers attempt to Resolve the Issue
As a member of our client's holiday party is a District Nurse, they decided against seeking out medical treatment while they were in Egypt, as she knew what sort of treatment they would require while they were unwell. They also didn't see their GP upon their return to the UK as their symptoms were beginning to improve by the time they returned.
Our clients advised us that in addition to informing the hotel of their dissatisfaction through a satisfaction survey, they also reported their illnesses to a Thomson representative.
TUI Takes Holiday Illness Case to Trial
After suffering from such severe food poisoning symptoms, our clients instructed us to pursue holiday illness compensation. The Defendant for this case was TUI, with the Nubian Island Hotel taking over the conduct of the claims through their insurers.
As the case progressed, liability for our clients' illnesses were firmly denied by TUI and a number of documents were disclosed, amongst which were Cristal Hygiene Audits, food temperature records, swimming pool records, and staff training records.
Although these documents and records showed that there were procedures and policies in place, they highlighted a number of critical deficiencies with the food hygiene practices at the Nubian Island Hotel.
An Egyptian lawyers' report also highlighted these failings and stated that they may constitute a breach of Egyptian standards.
TUI Refuses To Settle Case
While historically the illness cases that we handle are settled without the need to go to court, TUI refused to settle these cases. The questions that needed to be determined in court were whether our clients were indeed ill on the holiday, and if they were ill, was the cause of their illness the consumption of contaminated food served by the hotel?
At trial, TUI's Barrister attempted to portray our clients as being dishonest, suggesting that minor inconsistencies between their witness statements and the medical reports implied that they had lied about their illnesses and that their version of events should not be believed.
TUI's Barrister was quite aggressive towards our clients, but ultimately the Judge didn't believe that our clients had lied, and subsequently, he was satisfied that they had all fallen ill as a result of their stay at the Nubian Island Hotel.
We questioned TUI's disclosure and highlighted the critical deficiencies within the documents that they disclosed, also drawing attention to the documents that they hadn't disclosed. TUI's only witness did not even bother to attend the trial.
TUI's barrister tried to attack the medical evidence available, even though it clearly identified incubation periods for gastric illnesses, and that our clients had not eaten outside of the hotel before they became ill. Ultimately, the medical evidence persuaded the judge that the hotel was the source of our clients' illnesses.
Over £9,000 in Damages Awarded
After a heated trial, the Judge was satisfied that our clients had become ill as a result of consuming contaminated food at the Nubian Island Hotel and awarded a judgment in their favour. As a result of this case, our clients were awarded nearly £9,500 in damages in total.
Do All Holiday Claims Go To Trial?
Making a claim for holiday illness compensation might appear to be daunting at first, particularly when faced with the possibility of going to trial, but it's important to be aware that many cases of this nature settle before then.
If you're considering making a claim, the most beneficial thing that you can do is to gather evidence while still at your resort. This can include taking pictures and retaining receipts and documentation for any medical treatment that you have received.
While our clients opted not to do so, it's advisable to see a medical practitioner while still abroad. Not only can they diagnose your condition and provide you with the appropriate treatment, by seeing them you begin to build evidence that could be invaluable if your tour operator questions the validity of your claim.
Find Out More About Making A Holiday Claim
If you would like to find out more about making a compensation claim following an illness on an all-inclusive package holiday, then don't hesitate to contact a member of our travel law team. We can provide you with a complimentary no-obligation consultation on your case, and if you instruct us to proceed with your claim, we can provide 'no win no fee' terms.