5 April 2022
Holidaymakers took action against First Choice after falling ill in Menorca
Dozens of holidaymakers whose pre-pandemic holidays were ruined when they became violently ill whilst holidaying in Menorca have today brought to a close a 6-year legal battle against travel giant First Choice.
A total of 48 people brought legal action against the tour operator, after staying at the Marina Parc hotel in the resort of Arenal D’en Castell in 2016.
Many of the group members, which included 23 children, were forced to seek urgent medical care abroad as a result of a range of symptoms, including abdominal pains, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fever, fatigue and lethargy.
One of the travellers later tested positive for campylobacter, an infection that is caused by eating undercooked poultry, meat, or eggs, or cross contamination of foods, such as using the same cutting board or utensils for raw poultry or meat and vegetables without washing.
On their return to the UK, the holidaymakers instructed travel lawyers at Simpson Millar to investigate what caused them to become ill, and whether First Choice could have done more to protect them, amidst claims that they had been subjected to sub-standard health and safety standards.
While First Choice has denied liability the 48-strong group has since received a substantial six-figure pay out from the tour operator, with those most severely affected receiving sums of up to £8k.
At an approval hearing which took place today (April 5th, 2022) at Manchester Crown Court, the six-year long legal battle was officially brought to a close as a Judge approved the payments that were allocated to the 23 minors involved in the group claim.
Commenting on the outcome James Blower from Simpson Millar’s travel team, which helps thousands of people each year who have suffered as a result of avoidable illnesses and injuries abroad, said: “Today draws to a close a long and difficult battle for justice for our clients, which has been drawn out as a result of the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.
“While most of them suffered short term illnesses, in some cases their symptoms have continued to impact their lives even now, resulting in longer term health complications.
“For them, the money received as part of this settlement will not only compensate them for the holiday hell that they endured, but it will also go towards paying for the ongoing treatments needed.”
Simpson Millar’s head of travel, Nick Harris, went on to say that holidaymakers should ‘act fast’ if they are concerned about any health, safety or hygiene issue at the hotel where they are staying.
He added: “Worryingly, as the resorts start to reopen following the winter period, we are already starting to receive calls from holidaymakers returning from countries such as Mexico and Turkey, and who have become ill because of what appears to be poor hygiene standards.
“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of your tour operator to make sure that where you are staying is safe for your and your family. If you have any concerns, speak to your travel rep as soon as possible.
“If you need medical treatment, make sure you keep all of your notes as you may want to refer back to them at a later date. Also, take pictures. You might find that if you flag a problem – such as a broken slide, undercooked food, or a broken air conditioning unit – it’s fixed overnight, so it’s good to have photos to hand.
“We all know that the travel industry has been hard hit by the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that corners should be cut when it comes to matters such as this.”
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.