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Hotel food poisoning & illness on holiday – what you need to know for compensation claims

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If you’re going to suffer with food poisoning then it’s more than likely going to be on your holiday abroad.

Of course it will be then – it’s typical isn’t it? 

It’s also often understandable as health and safety standards aren’t always quite as strict or enforced as they are in our home country. 

Sometimes an upset tummy could just be the result of the change in diet whilst on holiday and even a different water supply, that’s understandable, but if a proper bout of food poisoning is caused by the hotel then that’s a different story. 

In this article you’ll find out what you need to know to make a compensation claim for hotel caused food poisoning and illness whilst on holiday.

Food poisioning can ruin your holiday

Many people plan for months in advance to go on holiday and it should be the highlight of the year, and in most cases it is, but sometimes disaster strikes.

If you are unfortunate enough to get food poisoning or become ill on holiday it can really ruin your break, on-top of that it is not a pleasurable experience and one that could have lasting affects (depending on the severity of the illness).

Fortunately, there is some relief as potentially you can claim some compensation for it, especially if it’s the hotels fault that you’ve been struck down by it.  

Obviously you can’t claim for any illness, but if the hotel is to blame and they have caused the food poisoning, which has in turn ruined your costly holiday, then you could well make a claim.

The legal team at London based personal injury lawyers Hodge Jones & Allen have created a small guide on what you can do if you are struck with food poisoning or sickness while aboard.

What are the main illnesses while on holiday

Most of food poisoning cases result around stomach bugs and infections picked up from poor hygiene from food preparation and food storage. Hotels and restaurants are the main culprits for this form of food poisoning.

However, this is not the only cause and you can also pick up a bout of holiday sickness from poorly cleaned pools and in some cases, air borne viruses can even be caught from air conditioning systems.

Some of these holiday sicknesses can include:

Common types of holiday illness

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Norovirus
  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella

Other types of holiday illness

  • E-Coli
  • Shigella
  • Listeria
  • Giardia
  • Typhoid

I have been sick while on holiday, can I make a claim?

If any of the above illnesses relate to your situation while you have been on holiday and have been caused by an external party such as a hotel, restaurant or venue, then firstly it is essential you keep a paper trail and document everything.  You will need proof to make a claim and need to show it was specifically caused by the third party.

The first step is to report it to the management of the venue and also your holiday representative if you booked via a holiday company. Once you have done this, make sure you visit a local doctor or if you are bed ridden and very ill ensure the doctor comes out to see you, as you may need hospital treatment (drip) and intravenous anti-biotics depending on the severity of the illness. The resort agent and package rep should be able to sort all this out for you.  Make sure you obtain any paper work that is issued and keep it safe.

All of this should start a paper trail which can help you when it comes to actually making a claim. As it can be difficult to prove that the food is the cause of the sickness, assuming that it’s the food that’s caused this and not something like an uncleaned swimming pool or uncleaned air conditioning, it’s worth always checking around with the other guests to see if anyone else has come down with food poisoning as well, as this will help strengthen your claim for compensation.

After you’re feeling better, and when you get home, you’ll want to speak to a personal injury claims lawyer, to formally start the claims process.  A specialist lawyer will look through your case and let you know the steps if you are able to claim compensation for food poisoning conducted while abroad.

Claiming compensation for holiday sickness - What are my rights?

You are able to claim for food poisoning and sickness caused by other parties through compensation in both package holidays and non-package holiday cases, also known as being an independent traveller. However, there are different rules and regulations that apply in each case.

Firstly, if you’ve booked your holiday with a UK-based package holiday company, this usually makes your claim a lot simpler and easy to process. By booking through a reputable holiday company you can make a claim against them if you can prove they have been negligent in food preparation, storage, poor resort dining hygiene or not cleaning the pool properly.  Take photos, talk to management and document everything to prove the condition of the establishment.

However, if you are classed as an independent traveller which means you’ve booked a holiday outside of a package holiday company, you’ll need to make a claim through that country’s legal system to attempt to get compensation, which can be tough if you don’t speak the native language fluently and don’t know anyone who does.

If you are in in either of these situations, then it is highly recommended that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.   This is so you can begin to make a claim and receive compensation for losing out on your holiday and suffering with a preventable illness.  Hopefully you won’t suffer from food poisoning whilst on holiday as no one wants that, but if you do and it is the fault of the establishment you are at then rest assured you are within your rights to make a financial claim.