Group Illness Compensation Claims

Strength in Numbers

Outbreaks of illness at hotels and onboard cruise ships involving large numbers of holiday makers are now commonplace.

Group of holidaymakers - depicting Group Holiday Illness Claims

What is a Group Action Claim?

A group action compensation claim is when holiday makers affected by the same problem join together in force.

The benefit of being part of a group action compensation claim is strength in numbers. Tour operators find it difficult to deny allegations of food poisoning when a group of you are complaining about the same problem. The evidence of a group of holiday makers is much stronger than the evidence of an individual holiday maker.

When an outbreak of illness at an hotel occurs it is therefore important that affected holiday makers form groups and exchange names and addresses and keep in touch.

Why are holiday illnesses commonplace?

Illness amongst groups usually happens because guests at all-inclusive hotels and onboard cruise ships share the same facilities eg swimming pools and meal services.

The possibility of contact with infected people and the chance of sharing food and water that is contaminated are significantly increased.

If something goes wrong then it is likely that a group of people will be affected.

Don't believe everything your tour operator says....

Tour operators are quick to claim that the cause of an illness outbreak is probably due to an "airborne virus", a "norovirus" or a "bug". Tour operators usually claim that other guests or passengers introduce viruses which are then passed on like common colds.

Tour operators claim outbreaks of illness are viral to escape their liability to compensate sick customers. This is because viral infections cannot be foreseen or avoided unlike bacterial infections which can be avoided by, for example, cooking food thoroughly and ensuring that systems for hygiene control are adequate and procedures are in place to control the spread of infection.

In our Experience...

Our experience is that outbreaks of illness at hotels and onboard cruise liners are not usually viral but more often bacterial and caused by failings in food hygiene standards and water treatment.

We often find that serious breaches of food hygiene especially in the preparation of food can lead to contamination with bacteria including salmonella, ecoli and campylobacter being the most common causes of sickness.

The stories we often hear include wild birds feeding off buffet counters in restaurants in the Dominican Republic and food being reheated and served lukewarm in Egypt. Failing to ensure that food is fit for human consumption is simply unacceptable and the tour operator is responsible.

Watch out for the water...

Swimming pools and water treatment plants are also common sources of infection and can harbour the cryptosporidium bacteria. Often water supplies become subject to faecal contamination.

Containing the outbreaks

If an outbreak of sickness is not swiftly contained then the problem rapidly escalates. Swimming pools become breeding grounds for bacteria and infected swimmers will contaminate the water.

Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors has extensive experience of assisting groups of holiday makers who have suffered from illness abroad particularly in countries such as the Dominican Republic and Egypt where sanitation and general health standards are not as high as we enjoy here in the UK.

If you have been affected by an illness then please contact us for free holiday compensation advice. Our Specialists offer a "no win no fee" service.

Call us now on Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or complete our no-obligation online enquiry form and we will get in touch with you.


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Nick Harris - Head of International Travel Law - Manchester

Nick Harris
Head of Holiday Travel Claims (Consumer)

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