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Holiday Illness Complaint

£6,800 awarded to bar patron in France who suffered facial burns after a pyrotechnics display went wrong

18th January 2018


A fireball started a chain reaction that resulted in our client suffering burns to his face during a pyrotechnics display at a bar in France, but following our representation, he was awarded £6,800 in compensation. In this case study, we'll explain what happened and why you may be entitled to compensation.


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Fireball starts chain reaction in the Smouth Bar

Our client was in the Morzine region of eastern France when he decided to visit a venue called Smouth Bar. At around 11 pm, the bar staff began squirting lighter fluid onto the bar taps and setting it on fire. Unfortunately, they didn't stop there.

They proceeded to squirt lighter fluid on the ceiling and igniting it, before a member of the bar staff took a mouthful of spirit that he lit it as he spat it out, creating a fireball.

Although this display of showmanship may have been impressive, the fireball ignited the ceiling, and some of the lit fluid fell onto our client's face. As a result of this, our client's face was burned, leaving our client in a lot of pain.

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Lack of risk assessment carried out by bar staff

It became clear that this case would need to be assessed on local standards, and during our investigation, we found that the bar staff at the Smouth Bar had failed to make an adequate risk assessment.

The importance of risk assessments on holiday

We also found that inadequate warnings were given to the patrons of the bar, including notification of the potential risks attending such a show may pose. It was clear that not enough was done to ensure that our client, or any other patrons at the Smouth Bar, would be safe while the pyrotechnics display was being performed.

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£6,800 in compensation awarded

After instructing us to represent him, we found that the staff at the Smouth Bar in Morzine breached several Civil Codes, and as a result of our client's personal injuries, losses and damages, he was successfully awarded £6,800 in compensation.

What to do if you suffer a holiday burn

Although this isn't a situation that you may find yourself in, you may still be at risk of a holiday burn or scalding. Many self-catered holiday accommodations include some sort of cooking or heating equipment, and if adequate health and safety standards aren't followed, you could suffer a holiday ruining burn or scald that could have been prevented.

If you do suffer a burn or are scalded, it's important to act quickly. We recommend seeking out advice from a medical practitioner, but you might find that you'll receive the following advice:

  • Distance yourself from the cause of your burn or scald.
  • Remove any hot, smouldering or burned material. You may find that the material will stick to your skin, and if this happens, don't try to remove it and cut around the affected area instead.
  • Remove any tight clothing or jewellery, as burned or scalded skin can swell.
  • Cool the burn using lukewarm water (try to avoid using cold water) from a running tap, or alternatively, immersing your wound.
  • Keep warm. This might seem counter-intuitive, but you may be at risk of hyperthermia if your burn or scald is severe.
  • Protect your wound by covering it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.
  • If you've sustained a burn to your face; avoid lying down.

Receiving advice from a medical practitioner is often time sensitive, so try to speak to someone as soon as possible. If your burn is larger than your hand, your skin has gone white or you've sustained a burn to your face or extremities or genitals that has blistered, it's advisable to go to an emergency medical centre.

Advice on burns and scalds can be found on the NHS website.

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Find out if you can make a 'no win no fee' claim

If you sustain a burn on holiday that could have been prevented, contact a member of our travel law team, as you may be entitled to compensation. We can assess your case as part of a free no-obligation consultation, and if you choose to instruct us, we can represent you on a 'no win no fee' basis.

Ross Smith - Partner, Holiday Claims

Contact us for free no-obligation holiday accident claims advice

To find out more about claiming compensation; contact Ross Smith by filling in our enquiry form and we will call you back, or call us directly on 0808 145 1353.

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