How much can you claim?
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If you catch a stomach bug on holiday, months of excited saving and planning can leave you bed bound, missing out on holiday fun. Holiday sickness and diarrhoea can be due to common bacteria that can take a couple of days to recover from, but a few days out from your trip due to sickness can ruin your whole experience. Making a claim to recover the costs of your holiday and any other expenses you might have had due to getting ill is a simple process. We will take your details over the phone in a free consultation to assess if you have a case.
Stories of holiday sickness and diarrhoea seem quite commonplace. You may dismiss being sick on holiday as an unfortunate certainty of travelling abroad. But, if you have booked an all-inclusive package holiday through a travel agency, you may be able to claim holiday illness compensation. As we are a form of no win-no fee solicitors, this will cost you nothing if you lose your case.
Falling sick on holiday is upsetting, especially if you are somewhere unfamiliar, dealing with doctors who may not speak your language. In more serious cases, it can have also a significant effect on your finances. Your all-inclusive holiday provider must follow package holiday regulations and have a responsibility for your health and safety while you are staying with them.
Common travel illnesses can range from food poisoning to infections and each claim will have its own set of unique circumstances. At your Legal Friend, our dedicated team of experienced holiday sickness solicitors will review your case for holiday illness compensation and take you step by step through the process of pursuing your holiday sickness claim. Usually the process of making a claim takes around 6 months, but we will be able to give you a better idea of timescales once we know your situation.
It’s beneficial if you’re quick to pursue a claim as you will have your paperwork immediately available and the detail of the event will still be ‘fresh’ in your mind. There is a three-year time limit from the ‘date of knowledge’. This is when you first learned that falling sick on holiday was the fault of your holiday provider. If you try to bring a claim after this date, legislation states that it is ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ as per the Limitation Act of 1980, section 11. If you are within this time limit, we will advise you as best we can, based upon the information you’re able to share with us.
Following a free phone consultation, a holiday sickness solicitor can assess your circumstances. This includes your personal problems and consequences of falling sick on holiday. If they feel that you have a holiday sickness claim, they may request copies of your medical records. This will be with your permission, to assess the extent of your illness, and we will then discuss whether if it is viable to claim holiday illness compensation.
Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much
Mrs E. Swaffield
Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win.
We always seek the greatest level of compensation for our clients. If your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard holiday sickness claims.
With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. If you win, you will only pay your insurance premium and the success fee. This will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.
We need to understand as much as possible about your illness. We will ask what caused you to be ill, what happened afterwards and how this has affected your life.
We may ask your GP and hospital for your medical records. This is so we can establish the extent of your injuries or illness, any treatment that occurred, and recovery time involved. If you were treated abroad, we can get and, if need be, translate those records.
Once we know who is responsible for your illness, we will inform them that you intend to claim compensation. We then send them the details you have provided and will keep you informed when they respond. If they dispute the case, we will ask you to provide your comments on their response.
We will arrange for an independent clinician to examine the extent of your illness and also whether this will affect your ability to work in the short or long term.
In some cases while claiming for holiday illness, it is possible to get a ‘desktop’ report. This will use your witness statement and any medical records so that you don’t have to go for a medical examination.
You can claim for other expenses you have incurred as a result of your illness. This includes lost earnings, expenses and the cost of care and help with everyday tasks.
Once we have received all your medical reports, we provide a valuation for your illness and associated losses. We will send this to you along with your medical report. You then need to complete and sign the medical slip and schedule of losses and return them to us.
We send your medical slip and schedule of losses to the defendant’s insurer, and ask for their best offer to settle the case. Often the insurance company takes 4 – 6 weeks to get back to us.
We work hard to achieve the maximum possible settlement for your case, which can take some time to negotiate. So we text and email you to keep you up to date with our progress.
In most cases, this would be the final step in our process. We would negotiate your settlement and arrange the payment of your compensation. In rare cases, the case moves onto one final step.
If the defendant’s insurer refuses to make a realistic offer, then we issue Court proceedings for a hearing. It is very unlikely that you need to attend this hearing, so there’s no need to worry about it.
Once we receive your compensation payment from the defendant’s insurer, we let you know. Most importantly of all, we send you your compensation payment straight away.
If you wish to pursue a holiday illness claim, you may choose to try and handle the case yourself or you can contact experienced holiday sickness solicitors. We will assess your situation and, if you have a reasonable case, we will handle the claims process on your behalf. An experienced holiday sickness solicitor will negotiate the largest compensation amount possible.
If you decide to use holiday compensation solicitors, the process begins with a free telephone consultation. This can last for up to an hour, during which we will ask you key questions about your holiday. We will need to understand how you became ill on holiday and what kind of holiday sickness you suffered from. If we think you are entitled to holiday illness compensation, we may ask for your permission to seek your medical records. If we have then have enough evidence to support your claims against the travel company, we will then contact you about proceeding with your claim.
At this point, we will ask you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. If for whatever reason, your claim is not successful, you will have nothing to pay. For a successful claim, you will be charged 25% of the damages won, plus the cost of an ATE premium to insure you against any unexpected costs and challenges during the course of the claim. You will be made aware of any potential deductions before you sign a no win, no fee agreement.
The decision whether to pursue a claim for holiday sickness is ultimately up to you. We can only tell you if you have a potentially successful case, not whether you should progress the claim. If a bout of sickness has ruined your holiday though, the holiday compensation could allow you to make up for that time. If the illness has continued to affect your health, an award of compensation could help with any financial burden.
You may be concerned about the idea of pursuing a claim, with recent reports in the media suggesting that holiday sickness and diarrhoea claims are affecting holiday prices, as holidaymakers have been falsely claiming compensation, with the costs then being passed on to the consumer. This coverage is focused on unscrupulous practices of a minority of companies that encourage false claims. Your Legal Friend is a Law Society Accredited solicitors firm and we take a dim view of fraudulent claims and have a thorough vetting process to ensure that we only take on genuine claims.
When you book a holiday, you place a great deal of trust and money with a travel provider. When on holiday, you rely on your tour operator to provide you with a safe and clean environment in which to relax. Getting sick on holiday, due to poor standards within the hotel, is not your fault and you shouldn’t have to foot the bill for their carelessness.
Travel companies include travel insurance as part of package deals, so in most cases you will have already paid your travel insurance with them and are entitled to claim if you have fallen sick on hol. The insurance premium will pay for the associated expenses and reimbursements if the claim is successful.
There are certain criteria a case needs to meet in order for it to be a successful claim. Initially we will ask you to provide the following details:
Usually, you would pursue a claim for holiday sickness and diarrhoea yourself but in some circumstances you may contact us in regards to a friend or loved one. In extreme cases they may still be experiencing illness from their holiday, which prohibits them from making claim themselves. In very unfortunate circumstances your friend or loved on may have died as a result of their illness and you may be searching for answers on their behalf. If you became aware of the negligence of the holiday provider within the last 3 years, we can tell you what to do next.
Although your complaint may be against the practices of a particular hotel, if you do seek to make a holiday sickness claim, your tour operator is the one liable. We make the claim against the insurance of your travel agency, should your claim be successful.
You should report your illness to the hotel during your stay and document your complaint in some way. You should also make a complaint about the hotel directly with your package holiday tour operator, either during your stay or within 28 days of returning home.
At present, there is no travel ombudsman or centralised body to deal with complaints against travel agencies. Your tour operator may be a member of ABTA, who are the UK’s largest travel organisation, so it’s recommended that you also register a complaint with them if to.
ABTA can advise you if you have a valid complaint and will offer potential solutions to your problem but won’t advise their members to offer compensation, nor do they advise on compensation amounts. They can take you through a process called arbitration, which is an independent and legally binding judgement, where you may be awarded a payment; this is limited to £1,500 per person. It is also worth noting that through this process, you will be required to pay a fee to your arbitrator regardless of whether you win or lose your case.
You may find that pursuing your claim using an experienced holiday sickness solicitor firm is a much better option and increases the chances of claiming compensation you deserve. You may also decide to review the hotel on sites such as trip advisor to ensure other holidaymakers know what to expect when travelling to the same hotel.
We advise that you seek the advice of a holiday claims solicitor as soon as you can, as there is a 3 year time limit on making a claim. The date of knowledge is stated in the Limitation Act as the date when you found out:
There are exceptions to the limitation period rules around claims involving children or fatalities...
Legally, a person is not considered an adult until they are 18 years old and for this reason; children are unable to claim compensation until they reach this age. If a person under the age of 18 suffers sickness on holiday, they will have 3 years from their 18th birthday to pursue a holiday sickness claim. As a parent or guardian, you can make a claim for compensation on their behalf before they turn 18 but the period of limitation does not begin until their 18th birthday.
Fatal medical accidents
In the unfortunate event that holiday sickness results in the death of your loved one or family member, the law exempts the case from the usual limitation period. In the event of a fatality as a result of holiday sickness, the date of limitation begins on the date of their death rather than the date they became ill.
If you book your holiday through a licenced tour operator as an all-inclusive package, you are protected by the Package Travel Regulations 1992. These regulations were created to protect your rights on a package holiday. The regulations set out in this Directive holds UK licenced tour operators to a set of standards.
Within the regulations, a package is defined as a pre-arranged combination of at least two components at an all-inclusive price. If the contract is for more than a 24 hours stay or includes an overnight stay, it must include transport, accommodation and a tourist service that accounts for a significant proportion of the package e.g. inclusive food and drinks, for it to qualify as a package and be subject to the regulations.
So-called ‘DIY’ Packages booked online are still subject to these regulations. The regulations state, amongst other things, that:
As per the regulations, it is the responsibility of your Tour Operator (travel agency) to ensure that the hotel, suppliers and services during your package holiday are of a reasonable standard to ensure the health and safety of their customers.
The FCO recommends that you take out travel insurance before going on holiday, which will cover you for a range of potential emergency costs that could crop up while you are on holiday. An insurance claim on your own travel insurance is not the same as a claim for holiday illness compensation. You can make a claim on your travel insurance to cover you for medical costs while you are abroad, for example, if you are required to pay for hospital care. A compensation claim, however, is a claim against the person responsible, for an award of damages. Although this claim will go through the defendant’s insurer, and is not affected by your decision to have taken out travel insurance.
Each holiday sickness case is unique and we take pride in handling cases with thoroughness and care. Depending on the severity of your illness and the evidence available, it could take anywhere from 6 months to several years for settlement. Although we can’t give a set duration for a case, we will be able to give you a rough time frame based on our experience in dealing with these types of claim. This will only be an estimate and can change depending on the evidence we find as we progress your case.
The amount of compensation that you will be awarded for a successful holiday sickness compensation claim depends on the severity of the illness and the effects it has had upon your life. An experienced holiday sickness solicitor will try to get an understanding of how the illness has affected you and how it could affect you in future. If complications from getting sick on holiday have followed you into your day to day life after you have returned home, causing loss of earnings through time off work, or any costs you have incurred as a result, these may be taken into consideration.
A fair compensation settlement will seek to redress the balance of any loss you have suffered through the fault of the tour operator; whether that is the reimbursed cost of a ruined holiday or to cover the expense of any ongoing treatment.
A case of mild food poisoning on holiday, lasting several days, could see a claimant awarded a settlement of between £700 and £3000 depending on the severity and situation. A moderate case, that required hospitalisation, could be awarded damages of up to £7000. If the illness were to have lasting effects, developing into a serious condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, the compensation pay out could be up to as much as £40,000.
The best way to get an accurate idea of how much holiday illness compensation you may be entitled to is to get in touch for a free telephone consultation where we will be able to advise you, based on your situation.
Sometimes a holiday illness can take 72 hours to set in, particularly in cases such as food poisoning, which could see you feeling the effects of holiday sickness after you have returned home. You should arrange to visit your doctor who will be able to diagnose you and advise you on treatment options available. You should then document your symptoms and situation in writing while your holiday is still fresh in your mind, noting down any possible causes. You should then write to your tour operator within 28 days of your return home date with a written complaint.
While we do not have a dedicated travel advisory line, our team at Your Legal Friend can provide you with a free telephone consultation to discuss the details of your situation and determine whether or not you have a potential holiday sickness claim. These consultations can last anywhere up to an hour and will seek to find out if your tour operator is at fault for your holiday sickness.
If you are on an all-inclusive package holiday, staying at a resort or hotel, common illnesses include food poisoning as a result of poor hygiene practices, water contamination due to sub-standard facilities, illnesses passed through improperly maintained pools and infections from bedbug bites. Food poisoning is one of the most common causes of holiday sickness as often food will be improperly reheated or old food recycled into dishes for a buffet. These common causes of holiday illness are largely avoidable if your hotelier or resort adheres to a reasonable standard of hygiene practices.
It is common for large groups of people in one hotel or resort to all get sick at once, as often the all-inclusive buffet can be to blame for outbreaks of food poisoning. You can make a claim as a group if you want to, as you will have all suffered the same illness due to your shared holiday environment. This can strengthen a case as you will have a larger pool of evidence to submit and you will have the support of your fellow guests as you progress with your claim.
The best way to find out more about making a group claim is for a member of your group to contact us for a free telephone consultation, where we will be able to advise you further.