Is It Okay To Make a Holiday Illness Claim?
The Law of… Deciding to Claim Compensation
Recently, there has been a lot of press coverage on fake holiday illness claims and how they are affecting the travel industry, with some of the arguments possibly causing some confusion. Because of this, we've put together this article to explain how holiday claims work and what you can do if your holiday was ruined by a gastric illness.
Are Holiday Illness Claims Legal?
Once it has been suggested that something should be banned, it's understandable that some may assume that it is either illegal or that it exists in a legal grey area. While this may be true of some things, when it comes to holiday claims, provided you're open and honest; they are legal.
There are laws and regulations that are there to protect you as a consumer, and if you've been sick on a package holiday, then The Package Travel Regulations 1992 (the PTRs) might help you to recover your losses.
The PTRs essentially say that your tour operator is responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that you don't come to harm at any stage of your package holiday. This usually includes everything that you agreed to pay for when you booked your break away, meaning that if the food available at an all-inclusive hotel buffet made you sick, you might have a case against them.
Why Are People Worried About Holiday Claims?
One of the main reasons that the press and regulatory bodies such as ABTA have recently been discussing holiday claims, may be due to the change in attitudes towards them.
Several years ago, holiday claims weren't as common as they are now, but as the idea that you can claim compensation if your break abroad was ruined by illness became more widespread, so too did the number of people willing to take advantage of it.
Although many people have legitimate grounds to do so, there have been some companies that are believed to be encouraging British tourists to make a claim without any evidence that they have been unwell. They could be seen to be trying to scam money from hoteliers and holiday companies, something which is inherently wrong, and it's understandable why they are fighting against false sickness claims.
Should I Make a Claim?
We believe that if you suffered due to poor standards or as a result of hygiene error that could have been prevented by better training or processes in a hotel kitchen, then it's acceptable to consider making a claim.
Ultimately, you likely paid a lot of money for your all-inclusive break abroad, and it's reasonable to expect to be able to enjoy your break away, or at the very least, to not have to suffer symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or nausea.
In some respects, it's the same as if you ate at a restaurant in the UK and contracted Salmonella. You wouldn't bemoan someone claiming compensation because the restaurant made them sick because the restaurant might close down.
As a society, we generally agree that it's important that there be consequences for those who cause others to come to harm, especially if they could have done more to prevent it.
Am I Eligible For Compensation?
No illness is the same. The common cold might feel like a fleeting case of the sniffles to one person, but to another, it might require moving the duvet to the sofa and engaging in a Netflix and chicken soup binge session before they're able to feel human again.
When it comes to a gastric illness, symptoms can range from an upset stomach, all the way to conditions that could result in long-term conditions such as IBS.
While you might be better off complaining to your tour operator if a meal made you feel a little queasy, if you suffered symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, headaches, vomiting or a fever, you might be suffering from food poisoning.
If you have food poisoning, you might be eligible for compensation, but it's important to get your condition verified. Seeing a doctor as soon as you can, can mean that there’s a better chance that tests will show the pathogen that caused your illness.
In addition to enabling you to receive more effective treatment for your condition, if it's shown that you contracted a harmful pathogen such as Cyclospora, it's likely that you're entitled to compensation.
How Can I Find Out More?
If you want to find out more about making a holiday claim, including whether you're eligible for compensation, just speak to a member of our travel law team.
We'll provide you with a free no-obligation consultation, during which we can assess your case and let you know whether making a 'no win no fee' claim with us is your best option, or if there is an alternative that would work better for you.