It is that time of year again when most of us are preparing for, and looking forward to our summer holidays. For some, it can be the annual trip to the Canary Islands and for others it can be the holiday of a lifetime that we have been saving up for since last summer!
We previously wrote about the negative connotations attaching to travel sickness claims, and the media coverage which will have discouraged many holidaymakers from claiming following illness caused as a result of poorly stored or improperly prepared food.
The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 provides holidaymakers on all inclusive trips within the EU and the Athens Convention provides a similar remedy for those who suffer while on a cruise.
If you take ill while abroad, it can be more than just your holiday that is ruined. Awards for travel sickness can vary greatly depending on the severity of the illness. From food poisoning to norovirus, it is important to remember that those who are wronged are entitled to seek compensation, despite what has been reported in the media. At Jackson Boyd, we have experience in dealing with claims such as these, and have set out below a guide to travel sickness and illness on holiday claims.
The starting point, as with any case, is the act or omission that caused the illness. Important factors that require to be considered include:
- How the food was contaminated;
- Did you eat anywhere else, other that in your hotel prior to the illness beginning;
- What particular food caused the illness;
- Was food left uncovered;
- Did staff at the hotel act within proper hygiene rules when preparing food;
- Were others in your party, or other parties at the hotel suffering from the same illness?
The next step in the investigation of these cases is to establish what steps were taken after discovering the illness. Was this reported to the hotel? Did any discussion take place with staff? What was said? While this may not seem important at the time, it can be crucial in dealing with these cases. We would then require to also consider what steps the hotel took after the illness(es) were reported.
Treatment is also important. Did you attend hospital while abroad, a doctor, a pharmacy or a chemist? Receipts and prescriptions are also of use in showing the treatment that you received while suffering. While this may not seem to be a top priority at the time, it can bring additional evidence to help successfully pursue your claim.
With food poisoning, it is often the case that “medical causation” can be brought into question. In short, this means that the travel operator may claim that the illness complained of was caused by something other than the food. Eating outside of the hotel or swimming in a pool or in the sea are prime examples of this. The exact dates when the illness began, and when it ended will also be required. Of course, some of the more unlucky victims will still be suffering on their return to the UK! If there is a claim against the operator, we would instruct a medical expert to meet with you and to prepare a report on the extent of your illness and the link between the food eaten, issues complained of and any other potential contributing factors.
If you have suffered an illness on holiday and wish to discuss matters with us further please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.