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Food poisoning claim advice

Becoming ill with food poisoning on a package holiday can be a horrific experience that results in missing out on the holiday that you worked hard for, and visiting foreign doctors and hospitals rather than beaches and pools. Food poisoning on holiday is becoming an increasing problem for British tourists travelling to hotels where proper hygiene standards are not being adhered to, but if your package holiday has been ruined by food poisoning you might be entitled claim compensation.


Can I claim compensation?

If you travelled on a package holiday that you paid a single price for in the UK, then it's highly likely that you'll be covered by The Package Travel Regulations 1992 (PTR). This regulation is in place to make sure that everything that is provided by your tour operators' third party suppliers is up to the standards advertised and doesn't cause you to come to harm. This can include your flights, accommodation and meals on your package holiday.

In the event that your tour operator fails to uphold a reasonable standard and you become ill, then regardless of whether you became unwell at the hotel, on a flight or during a cruise, your tour operator is to blame. Because of this you can claim compensation from them within the UK, provided you can prove that an aspect of your package holiday caused you to become ill.

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What types of food poisoning can I claim for?

Food poisoning is the most common cause of diarrhoea suffered by British tourists on package holidays, and can be caused by any of the following harmful bacteria and parasites:

How can I tell if I have a claim?

Suffering the symptoms of food poisoning can sometimes be enough to start a claim as it can be difficult to achieve a diagnosis of your condition without a medical investigation and stool sample test while you are unwell. The aforementioned illnesses share symptoms that are usually indicative of food poisoning. If you suffer from any of the following it's imperative that you seek medical help and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment:

Sick holiday complaints and compensation claims

How much compensation can I get?

While the amount of compensation that you can claim will depend on your individual circumstances, the JC Guidelines which provide estimates on the amount of compensation that can be awarded to those who suffer from food poisoning have the following advice:

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Below you'll find examples of successful cases where our clients have been awarded compensation after suffering food poisoning abroad:

£8,000 compensation as gastric illness at hotel in Turkey wrecks family celebration
£8,500 compensation as gastric illness at hotel in Turkey wrecks family celebration

The problems began 7 days into the holiday, when our client, feeling unwell, summoned a hotel doctor to her room. The doctor diagnosed a bacterial bowel infection, prescribed antibiotics and arranged for an ambulance to take her to a Kemer hospital. At the hospital bacterial bowel infection was again diagnosed. See the full story

£7,500 compensation for retiree following double holiday illness in Cuba
£7,500 compensation for retiree following double holiday illness in Cuba

Retiree suffered severe and recurring bouts of gastric and respiratory illness; later diagnosed as having suffered a gastric intestinal disorder, characterised by diarrhoea, cramping abdominal pains, fatigue, hot and cold shivers and other flu-like symptoms. He was also found to have contracted the life-threatening respiratory infection Legionnaire's disease. See the full story

£6,750 for Gastroenteritis at the El Dorado Seaside Suites & Spa in Mexico
£6,750 for Gastroenteritis at the El Dorado Seaside Suites & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Our client booked her holiday with the intention of going on a memorable holiday with her husband, but it soon became clear that this holiday would be memorable for all the wrong reasons. It only took a few minutes to find out if she was able to make a claim against Thomson, which will have taken into account her pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of her holiday. See the full story

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What if I suffer further health problems?

Food poisoning can result in long term health problems that have a direct impact on your quality of life, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that might require you to alter your diet and take medication to avoid crippling abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements. Some types of food poisoning can result in Reactive Arthritis, a condition that can cause your joints to swell and fluid to collect on your knee joints and ankles, or in some cases around your wrists, fingers and other joints.

When assessing the amount of compensation that we can pursue on your behalf we will consider how your initial symptoms could impact your on-going health.

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What should I do if I'm Ill abroad?

If you do suffer from food poisoning on a package holiday it's important to make the management team at your hotel aware of your condition and to receive medical attention if your symptoms are of a serious nature or have persisted for more than 24 hours. You should also report your illness to your tour operator representative, insist that they record your complaint in writing and provide you with a copy of their report.

If other guests are suffering from the same symptoms as you, ensure that they do the same and share contact information with them. If you decide to pursue a claim for compensation upon returning to the UK, their testimony might be used as evidence as it’s more difficult for a tour operator to claim that your condition was caused by an isolated viral infection.

In the event that your tour operator fails to uphold a reasonable standard and you become ill, then regardless of whether you became unwell at the hotel, on a flight or during a cruise, your tour operator is to blame.

Nick Harris, Simpson Millar Solicitors

By collecting the details of other guests who have suffered from the same symptoms as you, you might be in a position to take group action against your tour operator, something which in some case can result in greater compensation awards.

Should I take medication offered abroad?

As with any condition that you experience in the UK, if you suffer food poisoning abroad it's advisable to receive a diagnosis before self-medicating to ensure that you are prescribed with the appropriate medication. If you are prescribed medication or placed on an intravenous drip, it's vital that you ensure that you understand what you are being treated with and are provided with documentation that details what you have taken

What can I do to avoid food poisoning on holiday?

Food poisoning is often preventable, and so long as your tour operator is enforcing basic hygiene practices at your resort you shouldn't have a problem. If you want to reduce the chances of contracting a holiday ruining illness, the following tips can help you to avoid consuming food and beverages that have been contaminated by harmful bacteria or parasites:

Why should I choose Simpson Millar?

Unlike many other law firms our travel law team is dedicated to handling holiday claims and features specialists who have previously represented the big UK tour operators, giving us unparalleled insight into the process of claiming against them. We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation on your case, and if you choose us to represent you we can offer you no win no fee terms, meaning that we will only charge you for our services once we're successful in winning your award. We only ever use plain jargon-free English and will keep you updated on the progress of your case at every step of the way.

Find out more

If you have suffered from food poisoning on a package holiday and want to know more about claiming compensation from your tour operator, then please don't hesitate to get in out with us.

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