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Food poisoning

Woman vomiting in toilet - food poisoning

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  • Overview
  • Our Experts
  • See Our 10 Simple Steps

One of the biggest pleasures of a holiday abroad is taking a break from cooking and, instead, enjoying the local food. Your hotel or resort often has an amazing selection of food to choose from. However the hotel or resort’s catering can also pose hazards and cause food poisoning which could mean spending your holiday seriously ill or even in hospital. 

How have you been affected?

    Holiday illnesses are often caused by eating contaminated or undercooked food, or by drinking contaminated water. An outbreak of food poisoning can spread very quickly between holiday makers staying at the same resort or on board a cruise ship. The illness can be passed on through hand to mouth contact from people carrying a bug or by touching infected surfaces such as door handles, railings and toilet flush handles. Food poisoning can also spread due to poor hygiene practices and systems.

    Outbreaks of food poisoning are usually caused by the more common types of bacterial infection:


    Campylobacter causes severe diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fever. It is found on raw or undercooked meat (particularly poultry), unpasteurised milk and untreated water. The illness can also be passed on by animals, pets and birds. Symptoms usually appear 2 to 5 days after eating contaminated food and usually last up to a week.

    E. coli

    E.coli causes severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is found in the digestive system of many animals, including humans. Most cases of E. coli food poisoning occur after eating undercooked beef (particularly mince, burgers and meatballs) or drinking unpasteurised milk. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 8 days after eating contaminated food and usually last for a few days or weeks.


    Salmonella causes severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is found in raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, milk, and other dairy products. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and usually last around 4 - 7 days.


    Shigella causes severe diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fever and often blood or mucus in the stool. It is found in any food that has been washed in contaminated water. Infected people who handle food can transmit the bacteria to people who eat the food. Symptoms usually appear within 3 days after eating contaminated food and last for up to a week. 


    Dysentery is a disease which causes severe diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and high fever. It is passed on through faeces of people carrying the bacteria, who do not wash their hands after using the WC and then touch food, surfaces, or another person. In countries with poor sanitation, infected faeces may contaminate the water supply or food (particularly cold, uncooked food). Symptoms usually appear after 1 to 3 days and usually last up to a week.

    Why you should seek legal advice

    Under the Package Travel Regulations 1992,your UK package tour operator:

    • Has a responsibility for ensuring that your holiday is provided to a reasonable standard
    • Is liable to pay compensation if you or a member of your family were ill and suffered food poisoning because the hotel resort where you were staying failed to take reasonable care
    • Is responsible for making sure its suppliers perform their obligations properly.

    If you are on a package holiday and your tour operator/hotel is found to be in breach of the regulations, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

    How Your Legal Friend can help you

    We specialise in acting on behalf of anyone who has suffered from food poisoning through no fault of their own while on a package holiday and wishes to claim compensation against a UK tour operator.

    With over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of international personal injury law, we can provide you with expert guidance and support every step of the way to secure you the best possible compensation.  We can also help you to claim back any additional expenses you have suffered as a result of your accident, such as:

    • Any medical expenses you had to meet while on holiday
    • Time taken off work on your return from holiday
    • Missing out on any holiday activities that your injury prevented you from participating in. 

    Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

    • Work for you with no upfront fees
    • No win, no fee - guaranteed
    • 95% success rate for personal injury claims
    • Over £200,000,000 successfully won in the last ten years alone
    • Help and support you with your claim
    • 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation

    Talk to us today

    For an informal, confidential chat about making a claim with one of our expert personal injury solicitors, call us now on 01515505228 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.

    Alison Saul

    Alison Saul, Director of Personal Injury leads our Personal Injury, Road Accident and Holiday Illness teams. A fully qualified Solicitor with over 15 years of experience and expertise, Alison is dedicated to achieving the highest levels of compensation for her clients as well as ensuring high quality client care.

    • There are many people injured in accidents each year through no fault of their own and the circumstances will be difference in each instance. Our team has extensive experience of successfully managing a wide range of personal injury claims, so we can help you secure the maximim compensation you deserve. 

      Alison Saul,
      Director of Personal Injury

    Back row, left to right.

    Marta Skornog

    Marta began working with us in 2012 as a Paralegal. She deals with RTA and Holiday Illness cases for both English and Polish speaking clients. Outside of work, Marta enjoys yoga, socialising and going to the movies.

    Anita Carroll

    Anita began working with us as a Paralegal in 2010 and, after securing a training contract, qualified as a Solicitor in February 2015. She manages a mixed case load, including holiday illness cases. She is also a married Mum to 3 girls (18, 13 and 6) and they are her hobby!

    Kathryn Langton

    Kathryn, also a qualified Solicitor, specialises in accidents at work, public liability and accidents abroad. Kathryn deals with a wide variety of cases, often including accidents that involve serious, complex injuries.

    Lee Quinn

    Lee is a Fee Earner Manager, with 20 years’ experience in PI litigation. He runs both Holiday Illness and RTA cases, and has teams who deal with Polish Speaking Clients for both also. He’s a father of one who loves to travel, last year he completed the Marathon Des Sables a 230k race across the Sahara desert.

    Angela Shortall

    Angela began working with us as a Legal Assistant in 2008 and joined the travel team in 2017. She studied the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) and is currently enrolled on the company’s internal development plan. Angela loves to travel, read and socialise with her friends and family.

    Marisol Marriott

    Marisol completed her Law Degree in Mexico and has been a Legal Assistant with the travel team since January 2017. She likes to enjoy life with her two children and loves dancing, reading and going to the movies.

    Front row, left to right.

    Andrew Jones

    Andrew joined the travel law team in November 2016 and became a qualified Solicitor in January 2017 after working with us for the last 5 years. Outside of work he’s usually found at gigs with friends or playing squash or football.

    Michelle Craven

    Michelle has worked with us as a Legal Assistant since 2011. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her 5 year old son.

    Iain McCrave

    Iain is an Assistant Fee Earner with the travel team and has 9 years’ experience in litigation dealing with all aspects of the claims process. Iain enjoys listening to music and travelling.

    Suzanne Wibberley

    Suzanne is an Assistant Fee Earner to Lee Quinn and works with the travel team.  Suzanne has 12 years experience in PI litigation and deals with both Holiday illness and RTA cases.  Suzanne is currently undertaking her Ilex studies.  In her spare time Suzanne enjoys going the gym and socialising with friends.

    Jay Singh

    Jay has been a Legal Assistant with the travel team since March 2017. He has a Law Degree and has completed the Legal Practitioners Course. Outside of work Jay enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family.

    Accidents & Illnesses abroad - 10 simple steps to achieving your compensation

    For most people, a compensation claim isn’t an everyday occurrence so we thought it would be helpful to explain how we manage your claim and the steps that we both need to go through.

    Step 1 - Obtaining a full description of your accident or illness

    We need to understand as much as possible about your accident or illness – exactly how it happened or what caused you to be ill and why, the injuries you suffered, what happened immediately afterwards and how your life has been affected as a result.

    Step 2 - Obtaining your medical records

    We will ask your GP and hospital for your full medical records so that we can establish the extent of your injuries or illness, the treatment you received, and how long it will take you to recover.  If your treatment was carried out abroad, we can obtain and, if need be, translate those records.

    Step 3 - Contacting the company responsible for your accident or illness

    Once we have decided who is responsible for your accident or illness, we will inform them that you intend to claim compensation and send them the details you have provided.  We will let you know their response and, if they dispute the case, we will ask you to provide your comments on their response. 

    Step 4 - Arranging your medical assessment

    We will arrange for an independent clinician to evaluate the extent of your illness or injuries and whether they will affect your ability to work in the short or long term.  In holiday illness claims, it may sometimes be possible to obtain a “desktop” report that can be done based on your witness statement and any medical records so that you don’t have to go for a medical examination.

    Step 5 - Collating details of your financial loss

    In addition to compensation for your injuries or illness, you can claim for another other expenses you have incurred as a result, including lost earnings, expenses travelling to medical appointments, and the cost of care and help with everyday tasks.  

    Step 6 - Providing you with our valuation of your losses

    Once we have received all your medical reports, we can provide a valuation for your illness, injuries 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.

    Step 7 - Sending your valuation to the other party's insurer

    Once we have received your signed medical slip and schedule of losses, we send these 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.

    Step 8 - Negotiating the maximum settlement possible

    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.

    Step 9 - Issuing Court proceedings

    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. 

    Step 10 - Sending you your compensation payment

    Once we receive your compensation payment from the defendant’s insurer, we let you know.  Most important of all, we send you your compensation payment straight away!

    How long does a claim take?

    Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim.  Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get medical records and assessments, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.

    Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you.  This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time. Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.

    We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.