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Holiday illness: another big operator told to pay compensation

Another travel operator has been held to account over a holidaymaker's severe food poisoning, a case during which the offending hotel threatened to sue the claimant.

Fleetway Travel – a firm which, though a sizeable player in the travel market, is less well-known than some of its competitors – has been instructed to pay £5,000 to the 69-year-old, who suffered a severe bout of the gastric illness Campylobacter.

Seafood food poisoning holiday claim for compensation

The holidaymaker suffered with severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps, attributing the source of the illness to a hotel seafood meal of langoustines.

First holiday for years – ruined

When her illness struck in August 2012, the West Yorkshire retiree was with her husband at the Corallia Beach in Paphos, Cyprus, a hotel represented in the UK by Fleetway.

Simpson Millar's James Blower noted that the holiday had been the first the couple had taken for a number of years.

"The illness, caused by poor food and water hygiene standards at the hotel, struck on the 9th day of our client's holiday," James said. "This left the rest of the fortnight completely ruined."

Hotel seafood was to blame

The holidaymaker, who suffered with severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps, attributed the source of the illness to a hotel seafood meal of langoustines.

"Our client was severely ill and suffered for months afterwards," James said. "The acute symptoms merged with the chronic phase, and she continued to experience episodes of diarrhoea with vomiting 2 or 3 times a week.

"Our client went to hospital on a number of occasions to have the problem managed conservatively. But she eventually required surgical intervention and underwent a Hartmann's procedure. Happily this was successful."

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Hartmann procedure:

This operation is often carried out as an emergency if there has been a perforation of the bowel, especially if you have diverticular disease, colorectal cancer or had a trauma to the bowel.

Legal threat by hotel

James said our client had booked her holiday on a half-board basis. "After we submitted our claim letter, Fleetway's insurers became extremely difficult to deal with, refusing to admit liability and questioning what foods our client had consumed outside the hotel," he said.

"At one point the hotel even threatened our client with legal action. Although we knew this to be nothing more than hollow bluster, it made our client feel extremely anxious."

Holiday illness complaint abroad medical approval

Settlement value disputed

Once Simpson Millar had collected all relevant medical information, we offered to settle with the defendant.

"Fleetway's insurers eventually acknowledged the defendant's liability for the hotel's hygiene failures and our client's illness," James added. "However, they continued to argue over the value of the claim.

"After a lengthy period of negotiation and the threat of proceedings, we were finally able to close on a settlement of £5,000."

"Simpson Millar was excellent" – client

Asked to rate Simpson Millar's service, our client said: "Excellent. [I was] kept up to date on the situation at all times, with explanations of legal terms in plain English.

"At one point the hotel involved threatened to sue me personally. I was absolutely panic-stricken by this. However, Mr Blower was empathetic and reassured me that nothing would come of it. I was able to sleep that night without worrying."

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Senior Holiday Claims Specialist, James Blower concluded:

"Our client was very upset that her holiday had been ruined. The compensation settlement went some way to helping her recover part of its cost, and she was looking forward to putting the money towards another holiday – but this time with another travel firm."

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