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Compensation for Holiday Illness - What to Do

At this time of year, many families are booking their summer holidays and looking forward to a break in the sun. However, holidays can turn into disasters if you have a serious case of 'travellers' tummy'. The best approach is to take sensible precautions regarding food and drink by following guidance issued by the tour operator, and to make sure you take out adequate travel insurance which will cover you for any treatment you need. Despite the best endeavours of holidaymakers, stories of food poisoning are sadly not unheard of. In some cases, the effects of the illness can last a long time – sometimes months after returning home.

If you are struck down with illness on a package holiday, you may have a right to claim against the tour operator. Such illnesses are common, however, and to obtain compensation you need to prove that the tour operator was at fault and the resort failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent infection. To improve your chances of a successful claim, there are a number of steps you should take:

  • Get evidence. Obtaining pictures or video footage and supporting evidence from other holidaymakers is important. Make notes of the standards of cleanliness, food hygiene and so on. Ask to see and copy (or makes notes on) the complaints file at the resort;
  • Inform the holiday representative of your illness as soon as possible and make notes of your conversations with them and anyone else working for the holiday company;
  • Share names and addresses with anyone else at the same resort who is ill;
  • Make a diary of where you went and where you ate. If you have eaten food not provided by the tour operator, be prepared to show that other people eating at the same place did not become ill;
  • Be prepared to prove that you were ill. Obtain documentary evidence of your illness from the doctor or hospital. See your doctor as soon as possible once you get home if symptoms persist; and
  • Record your symptoms in detail for as long as they persist, and their effect on your everyday life.

It may be difficult to obtain a great deal of evidence – especially when you are ill – but to succeed in a claim, you will need to demonstrate that the tour operator (i.e. the resort they have contracted with) is the source of the sickness and that they are responsible for it because they failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent infection or contamination.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.