What to Do if You Get Food Poisoning at Your Holiday Hotel
If you or your family suffered from food poisoning at a hotel while you were on holiday abroad, get in touch with our Holiday Claims Solicitors for free legal advice about claiming compensation.
It’s likely that you’ll make an initial complaint to your holiday rep at the hotel or resort. However, you shouldn’t accept any offer of compensation until you’ve taken legal advice from an expert Solicitor or Lawyer who specialises in this area of law, as your claim could be undervalued.
Can I Claim for Food Poisoning at a Holiday Hotel?
Whether or not you can claim compensation for food poisoning on holiday depends on a number of factors, which is why our Lawyers always advise people to make use of our free initial consultation. We realise, however, that it’s not always convenient for people to contact us straight away. So below, we explain some of the factors we look at when assessing your legal right to claim compensation.
Were You on a Package Holiday?
While most British holidaymakers that book holidays treat travel agents and tour operators as one and the same, there are subtle differences which could impact on your legal right to sue.
A tour operator will be the company that organises your holiday and is responsible for your safety while travelling, and at your holiday destination. The tour operator will be the company you can sue for damages if something goes wrong. If you haven’t booked a package holiday, you may instead have to sue the hotel directly.
Hotel Board Basis
This is a crucial element in establishing your legal rights. If the food poisoning started 2 or 3 days into your package holiday and you were staying at an all-inclusive hotel, you’d have far better grounds to sue your tour operator. That is because, on balance, your food poisoning sickness is most likely to have been caused by food eaten at the hotel, and responsibility therefore lies with the tour operator.
By contrast, if you were staying in self-catering accommodation and the provision of meals wasn’t included in the cost of your holiday, your legal right to sue the tour operator could be significantly impaired, even if you bought all your meals from your self-catering hotel.
This is because it’s likely that you’ll have entered into separate contracts directly with the hotel for the provision of food. If you think your food poisoning was caused by a meal purchased from them, you would probably have to sue in the country in which the accommodation is based.
Tour Operator and Hotel Food Safety Obligations
If you’ve suffered food poisoning abroad, you’ll usually have to show that staff employed by the tour operator or hotel are at fault.
What this means is that the tour operator or hotel staff engaged in an activity or failed to do something that made the food unsafe for human consumption. When it comes to food safety, tour operators are obliged to monitor sickness levels and inspect the hotel to ensure they have systems in place to ensure food and drink is safe.
The hotel's obligations will be more specific. They’ll be responsible for ensuring that your actual meals are safe. This means they’ll have to ensure meals and buffet food is stored and cooked properly and doesn’t become contaminated by poor practices – e.g. failure to wash hands and using the same utensils to prepare raw and cooked food.
The rules and regulations relating to hotel restaurants will be those in which the country is based as opposed to those found in the UK. The standard of safety and degree of regulation varies from country to country.
Even if your tour operator did everything right in attempting to ensure that the food was safe, you can still sue them if the hotel staff did something that caused your holiday sickness. This is because in putting together your holiday, they are responsible for the actions of the hotel staff, as well as their own staff.
We realise that knowing who your tour operator is, who to sue and hygiene regulations can all be quite daunting. Your legal right to sue the tour operator will depend on the facts and your individual circumstances, which is why it’s so important to get legal advice.
Our Holiday Claims Lawyers are experts in bringing claims against tour operators and hotels for food poisoning on holiday, so get in touch with us for a free initial assessment of your case.
For free legal advice, call our Holiday Claims Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.