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Holiday Illness Claims: One-stop Travel Guide

With Christmas festivities feeling like a distant memory and summer feeling like a long way off, people will soon be thinking about booking their annual holidays.

Our expert Travel Law team here at Hampson Hughes have put together a one-stop guide, highlighting numerous criteria that needs to be met so that if you do fall ill abroad, the process of claiming compensation is easier…

Why book a Package Holiday?

Package holidays commonly come with ATOL or ABTA protection. This protection means that if your travel company goes out of business, you will be refunded if you are yet to travel, or found alternative accommodation and flights home if you are abroad.

Additionally, if you book a package holiday and become ill or sustain an injury at the resort, you may be able to rely upon the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 and have 3 years to bring a claim.

This allows personal injury compensation to be obtained under English law for accidents and illness which occur in different jurisdictions.

Caution: all-inclusive does not necessary mean ‘package’. It is possible to purchase a holiday which may look to be a package holiday when it is in fact a ‘flight-plus’. If you book a package holiday, you will be provided with an ATOL certificate which states ‘package sale’. If in doubt, ask the tour operator or travel company before your book.

Types of illness

Along with injury sustained at holiday resorts, holiday illness is becoming increasingly common.
An illness abroad is often mistakenly believed to be an expected possibility whilst travelling.
The most common type of illness incurred abroad is food poisoning. Depending on the type of food poisoning that you have contracted, and depending on your level of exposure, your symptoms may develop within an hour or days.

Food poisoning is also commonly associated with dehydration. The earliest symptoms of dehydration include severe thirst and dark coloured urine. Where symptoms are not treated, symptoms may develop to include headaches, dry mouth, light-headedness, poor concentration, dizziness, an increased heart rate, and passing little or no water. In extreme cases, dehydration may also lead to fits and seizures.

Causes of illness

Illness abroad, such as food poisoning, occurs as a result of contact with contaminated food or water. The main causes of food poisoning include contact with foods that have not been stored or cooked at the correct temperature, and the cross-contamination of surfaces and utensils.

What can you claim for?

Your holiday illness claim may include aspects such as any lost value of your holiday, any loss of enjoyment, and any loss of earnings as a direct result of your illness. We also advise you to keep all receipts for any out of pocket expenses relating to your illness abroad (e.g. receipts for taxi fares incurred as a result of your illness and receipts for any medications or other medical expenses).

What to do if you fall victim to illness on holiday

You may not feel physically able to begin your holiday food poisoning claim until you return home. However, where possible, we advise gathering evidence in support of your claim.

Whilst in resort, we would recommend you:
• Take photos or videos of poor hygiene and food standards and illness/injury
• Report any issues regarding hygiene and food standards to your holiday representative and hotel
• Report any issues regarding illness or injury to your holiday representative and hotel
• Ask for your complaint to be noted and request a copy of the complaint
• Keep details of who you have lodged your complaint with

If you obtain medication from a local doctor or pharmacy, keep your receipts and you may be entitled to claim these charges back also.

Do not let the tour operator under-value your claim

If a tour operator believes you may have a valid claim, they may attempt to offer you vouchers.
Illness and injury on holiday may result in significant and on-going medical problems. A holiday voucher will not provide sufficient compensation for the illness suffered and the negative effect an illness may have on your holiday experience.

CAUTION: if compensation in any form (including vouchers) is accepted from the tour operator, we will be unable to assist in making a claim against them in the future.

For more information as to whether or not you are able to claim compensation following illness whilst on an all-inclusive package holiday, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today for free and friendly, no obligation advice on 0800 888 6888 or email

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