The annual holiday is normally one of the highlights of the year. 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 have a good travel insurance which will provide any necessary treatment if the sickness is severe. Despite the best endeavours of holidaymakers, stories of food poisoning are depressingly common. In some cases the effects of the illness can last a long time – sometimes months after returning home. In a recent case, a holidaymaker who contracted the campylobacter bacterium and was expected to have permanent symptoms was awarded £15,000 in compensation.
If you are struck down with illness on a package holiday, you may have a right to claim against the tour operator. It is important to remember that such illnesses are common 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 be successful, there are a number of steps you should take.
1. If things are not right at the resort, get evidence. Obtaining pictures or videos and supporting evidence from other holiday makers is important. Make notes of the standard of cleanliness, food hygiene and so on. Ask to see and copy (or makes notes on) the complaints file at the resort.
2. Share names and addresses with anyone else at the same resort who is also ill.
3. 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.
4. Inform the rep of your illness as soon as possible and make notes of your conversations with the reps from the holiday company.
5. 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.
6. 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 in order to be successful, you will need to demonstrate that the tour operator (i.e. the resort they have contracted themselves to) is the source of the sickness and that they are responsible for it because they failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent the infection or contamination.
If you have had your holiday ruined by illness contact us for advice.