Am I entitled to compensation if I fall ill whilst on holiday?

Posted by Neille Ryan

Partner & Head of Personal Injury

With the holiday season rapidly approaching it may be helpful for holidaymakers to know, a few things about their right to compensation should they fall ill on holiday.
If, for example, you suffer food poisoning, the effects of bed bugs or perhaps you suffer the effects of Norovirus then you may be entitled to compensation.  The symptoms of any of these conditions, which can include sickness/nausea, diarrhoea, cramps, high temperature and fatigue can ruin a holiday and often continue to have an effect after your return home. While your travel insurance may cover you for medical expenses, it probably wont pay you for your pain and suffering, or loss of holiday enjoyment, so you would have to look at claiming compensation from the holiday provider for those losses.

It is impossible in a short article to cover all situations so I shall stick here to those where the holidaymaker is in an environment basically entirely controlled by the holiday company – say on board a cruise ship or at an all-inclusive hotel.

The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 make the UK Tour Operator responsible for pretty much all of the different parts of a package holiday – the transport, accommodation and provision of food would all be covered by the law of England/Wales, with the Tour Operator responsible for the actions and failings of the staff in the holiday destination.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015, which applies to all holidays booked from 01/10/2015 onwards, provides that the different aspects of your holiday have to meet certain standards – basically standards which would be considered reasonable in the country where you fell ill.

If you were staying in a captive environment such as on an all-inclusive complex, or a cruise ship then did you stay on site throughout or, even if you did leave then was this only after your illness developed? Perhaps your first symptoms were shortly after using the dining facilities. In each of those situations the obvious strength of your case is that at all times you would have been in the care of the hotel or cruise ship staff, for whose actions the UK Tour Operator is liable.  Your illness is, itself, evidence that the actions of those staff must have fallen below the required standards.

Therefore, if you are unfortunate enough to contract an illness while on holiday and want to discuss seeking compensation, speak to a solicitor who has expertise in these types of claims and ideally one who is accredited by a reputable organisation such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Contact Neille Ryan, personal injury specialist on 01227 763939.

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