Genuine sufferers of food poisoning on their holidays this summer may find themselves put off from speaking out, thanks to recent changes in regulations to holiday sickness claims. British holiday makers abroad have been threatened with package holiday bans and rising holiday costs – all of which has not yet come to pass. While these strict deterrents do exist to discourage fraudulent claims, they are not designed to punish holiday goers who fall ill on holiday, through hotel negligence.
What can often be forgotten, particularly in the reporting of high profile fraud examples, is that a holiday is a huge expense, saved and paid for by a consumer – a consumer who deserves for reasonable standards to be met and for their holiday to be of the quality advertised at the point of purchase. To spend upwards of £1000 on a well-earned getaway is a common occurrence and to be denied any enjoyment of that experience due to poor hygiene practices on the part of your hotel is unfair. This is why we pursue compensation for people who have fallen victim to food poisoning on their holiday.
If you’re unsure if you should claim, asking yourself the following questions should help you to decide if it is worth pursuing a claim for holiday food poisoning.
Sickness while on holiday can be caused by things other than contaminated food and water. Dehydration is a major culprit, with many British holidaymakers unused to hotter temperatures. Excessive alcohol consumption can also make people sick as can unfamiliar foods.
Food poisoning can take hold quickly, but sometimes it takes up to 72 hours to show symptoms. It is usually possible to get a sample taken at a local hospital or as soon as you get home to the UK; the bacteria usually survive for a couple of days. Finding out exactly the type of bacteria that caused your food poisoning can not only help you to treat your symptoms, but also prove that your sickness was the direct result of food poisoning.
Package holidays typically serve buffet style foods, if you were to suffer from food poisoning; it’s likely that someone else during your stay was sick too. If you were the only one to fall sick, without tangible proof that a bacterium was to blame, it’s possible that your sickness was caused by something else. If other guests, or your friends and family, did fall sick, it is possible to lodge a group claim against the hotel or tour operator you used.
Several holiday illness claims have been lost, after private investigators found pictures on Facebook or Instagram, of claimants enjoying their holiday despite their claim of crippling food poisoning. While enjoying whatever aspects of your holiday that you can, would not disqualify you from making a claim, if your illness was mild and short-lived, it might not be worth pursuing damages. Successful claimants tend to have lost the enjoyment of most or all of their holiday, and sometimes are forced to take extra time off work upon return to the UK – causing some loss of income.
While poor hygiene practices are not always observable (for example, the handwashing practices of the hotel chefs, or the state of the kitchen), there are aspects of your holiday that can be recorded, if you feel that the hotel is to blame for your illness. Dirty cutlery and plates, food kept at unhygienic temperatures and left uncovered, uncooked meats, or any animals observed near the food preparation areas – these are all things that can be recorded and photographed should you feel that your illness was the fault of your hotel or holiday provider. Similarly, any visits to the pharmacy for medications, complaints to the hotel about your illness, or visits to local hospitals and doctors are also evidence of your illness.
After answering these questions, you should have a better idea of whether you should claim food poisoning compensation. Should you want to speak to an advisor to discuss your situation, our food poisoning claims page has a form you can fill in to receive free, confidential advice.