Anecdotally, I’m convinced a bout of food poisoning on holiday started Bridget on the road to developing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I have no proof, and this happened 25 years ago on an all-inclusive holiday in the Dominican Republic. Bridget was hospitalized for nearly a week with food poisoning, she has never been the same since.
When she came home, the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis started. Her body and immune system had taken a huge hit and in my non-medical opinion didn’t have the fight to keep Rheumatoid Arthritis at bay.
Back then, it was normal for your medical bills abroad to be paid by your travel insurance and the holiday company would simply refund the cost of your holiday, usually, that was the end of it.
You could say, that’s fair enough, and there was a time I would have agreed with you.
But, having seen the life-changing effects Rheumatoid Arthritis has had on Bridget, I wonder whether stricter financial penalties would have nudged holiday companies to be more selective in their screening process when sending paying customers to certain hotels.
Holiday Sickness Claims
Fast forward 15 years from Bridget’s bout of food poisoning. Not just in the holiday industry but across the board, no win no fee legal claims gave people the ability to seek recourse when they had been wronged.
At first, I was sceptical about no win no fee. I was sure it would lead us down the path of a claims culture. I feared companies would be sued left right and centre and whilst my fears were somewhat born out, I softened my position because I also believe every person has a right to justice and that includes when you get sick on holiday.
Fraudulent Holiday Sickness Claims
Sadly, in fact, inevitably, where there is an opportunity to make money, there will be fraudsters.
A recent and reasonably high profile case is a casing point (Couple Jailed for Fake Holiday Sickness Claims). What people should know, if you intentionally mislead, withhold or offer false information it’s a criminal offence, it’s fraud.
This and a spate of other cases resulted in a change in the law, effectively capping legal fees and limiting the amount of potential compensation.
People get sick on holiday, it’s a fact. And, when an illness is directly linked to poor standards, often poor food hygiene, you should still have confidence in the legal system to seek compensation when it’s appropriate.
Genuine Holiday Sickness Claims
If you’re ill abroad, it can be a traumatic time. The last thing you want to worry about is whether you can claim for compensation.
But, there are things you and your family can do to make life easier should you decide to pursue a claim against your holiday provider.
#1. Report your illness to your holiday rep/company/hotel and get some form of confirmation that you have reported it.
#2. Write down any details you feel relevant for example: was anyone else sick, did you notice anything about food hygiene?
#3. Keep a record of any treatment you received abroad, including any medication you bought over the counter.
#4. Even if you become sick when you arrive home, visit your GP and get a record of the visit.
What about those of us who travel with pre-existing conditions, where does that leave us?
If we get sick on holiday, despite the bad press around holiday sickness claims, we should expect to be believed.
Even if your sickness is linked to medical conditions you already have, especially gastro type conditions, you should not be deterred or excluded from making a holiday sickness claim.
So, is it worth it?
The short answer is yes. If you are ill abroad, you can and should seek advice.
If you are overwhelmed by the process, Your Legal Friend has a team of experts on hand to help you navigate the claims process and offer guidance on the potential success of your claim.
You can find further details on their website, details here:
For your peace of mind, Your Legal Friend is accredited by the Law Society, will hold your hand each step of the way and work on a no win no fee basis.
It’s your fundamental right to have access to justice, and you should exercise your rights when you have been wronged.
Looking back, if these services were available when Bridget was ill on holiday we would have absolutely used them.
In reality, no amount of financial compensation would have made Bridget better. But, the claim might have made a difference for other people who put their trust and health in the hands of their holiday company.
*This post was written in collaboration with Your Legal Friend – See our full Disclaimer