Just been on Holiday and got ill!

So after researching were to go and then spending what can only be described as a small fortune on a Holiday, to celebrate my wedding and our 1st Christmas together, I was very disappointed when I fell ill.

I thought my illness would pass but after 3 days of not being able to eat or drink I went to the onsite Doctor. The Doctor spoke broken English and wrote out the prescription and letter for my insurers in Spanish (I think). I was told by the Doctor that I was ill due to something I had eaten and I was given an injection and about 3 different types of tablets to take a various times of the day, together with chewable tablets and a dissolvable drink substance. I had to pay for the medication and treatment which ate into our Holiday spends. I was told to only eat rice and chicken and only drink water. Not a great way to enjoy an All Inclusive Holiday! When I asked my tour representative to translate the letter from the Doctor to my insurers, the look on his face was one of horror and he told me it was due to food poisoning. We had to cancel a long awaited trip to Havana and spend all our time on the complex. Meaning we could not enjoy the remaining week that we had left and I could not toast to the New Year, but spent midnight in bed while others went to the Hotel’s beach party.

When you fall ill on Holiday it is important to try and pinpoint what you believe has made you ill. What day you began feeling ill, where you had eaten that day and/or the day before and what else you did at the time such as swimming in a pool. If other people on the same holiday fall ill then it is important to get their contact details. Many Hotels will say that you were an isolated case. This is what my tour representative tried to say to me. But I knew of another lady who had the same illness but had ended up on a drip for several days, so I knew it was not an isolated incident.

Poor food hygiene is what causes most illnesses whilst on holiday. Whilst this may not be as a direct result of your holiday representative or tour operator, it is still their responsibility to ensure that good food hygiene systems are in place. It is your tour operator’s responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure your health and safety is not put at risk. If they breach or fail in that duty then you may be able to pursue a claim.

Can you claim?

If you have suffered illness abroad, you may be able to claim compensation either against your tour operator under The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 or against your hotel, cruise line operator or any other party that has caused your illness.

What can you claim for?

This depends on the circumstances but generally you can claim for loss of enjoyment of the holiday and out of pocket expenses, together with compensation for the illness/injury itself.

What to do if you become ill.

  1. Report your illness to your Holiday Representative and Hotel Staff. Make a note of the person you spoke to, time and date, and their comments.
  2. Seek medical attention.
  3. If you are required to be isolated request in writing the reasons you have been placed in isolation and the nature of the illness that is requiring the isolation.
  4. If you are required to provide a stool sample, request in writing the reason for the stool sample and the illnesses it will be tested for. Ask for the name and address of the laboratory and a copy of the test results. You should also seek confirmation as to whether this stool sample test results are being provided to anyone other than you, such as your holiday tour operator or the hotel/cruise ship.
  5. If you are given medication try to make contact with your GP and seek confirmation that it is safe for you to take, particularly if you are on other medication or have other illnesses. Remember some medication is not approved for use in Western Countries but you may still be prescribed it.
  6. Keep all your receipts for the medical treatment and medication.
  7. Ask other holiday makers if they now if anyone else has suffered any illness. If they have then take their names and contact details.
  8. When you return home, whether you feel better or not, go to your GP and tell them what happened and the symptoms you had. You may need to provide a further stool sample to your GP to rule out long lasting illnesses which you may have despite having no obvious symptoms.
  9. Seek legal advice about making a claim!

Written by Alisha Butler-Ward a Solicitor with Burd Ward Solicitors.

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Burd Ward