Holiday Sickness Claims

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 | Kirsty Clifton

Summer has arrived, the school holidays are near and people are looking forward to their summer holidays.

Unfortunately travel to busy resorts or on cruise ships can carry the risk of outbreaks of food poisoning or other norovirus-type illnesses which can quickly ruin a holiday. Such illnesses can be particularly common in hotels or on cruise ships offering buffet-style eating where food is re-heated or left uncovered for prolonged periods. In the case of food poisoning, symptoms will usually become apparent without around 72 hours after eating the contaminated food. Classic symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea and headaches.

If you do suffer a stomach-upset whilst on holiday and you believe it is due to poor food and/or hygiene standards at the hotel, you may wish to consider pursuing a claim for compensation.

If the holiday was booked as a package holiday through a UK tour operator, the main components of the holiday will be covered by The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations (“the Package Holiday Regulations”) 1992. Those regulations ensure that you can claim against the tour operator under UK legislation rather than having to pursue a claim against the individual hotel.

It can sometimes be difficult to prove either that you did in fact suffer illness whilst on holiday or that the hotel or tour operator was at fault for that illness. We will therefore ask you for some further information in order to investigate the circumstances of your illness, such as: -

  • Whether you reported your illness to the hotel
  • Whether you sought any medical advice either whilst on holiday or upon your return to the UK
  • Whether the hotel or tour operator was aware of an outbreak of illness and failed to have warned you of that risk
  • Whether other guests were ill during your stay
  • Whether you only ate at the hotel or whether you purchased additional food not included within the price of the holiday/outside of the resort
  • Whether you had ice in your drinks
  • Whether you swam in any swimming pools other than your hotel pool

If you can show that you fell ill as a result of eating contaminated food at your hotel/resort provided as part of the holiday package, you will have good prospects of obtaining compensation from the tour operator under the Package Holiday Regulations.

It is important to note that once a claim is submitted to the tour operator, they then have a period of six months in which to investigate the incident and provide their decision on liability. As such, we would suggest that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid unnecessary delays or time constraints.

Compensation for holiday sickness claims can range from a few hundred pounds to several thousands of pounds depending on the extent and duration of your illness.

What should I do if I suffer an illness on holiday?

  • First and foremost, ensure your illness is reported to the appropriate people (i.e. the hotel and tour operator representative).
  • Seek medical attention. Such illnesses can be very nasty and seeking medical attention both provides proof of the injury and ensures that you receive appropriate treatment. Check your travel insurance/EIIC card to ensure that you receive free medical attention if possible.
  • Take a note of the date you became ill and what you believe caused that illness.
  • If you believe that the illness arose from poor hygiene standards within the hotel (i.e. uncovered food at the buffet), take photographs to demonstrate what you believe caused/contributed to your illness.
  • Take details of any other guests who you know also became ill during your holiday.
  • Ensure that you retain all paperwork to confirm purchase of the holiday (either as a package holiday or otherwise) and the name of the holiday company/tour operator.

 If you have contracted a stomach bug/virus whilst on holiday and wish to make a claim, please call Ascot Lawyers and we will be pleased to assist you, please call 01344 512370 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..