Holiday Illnesses: Can you make a Claim if you’re Ill on Holiday?

September 6, 2016

Whether it’s your summer break or a quick weekend getaway, holidays are meant to be enjoyable and fun. Holidays are supposed to be remembered for the great things you experience. Unfortunately if you fall ill on holiday, you’re unlikely to remember the positives.

Both holidays abroad and in the UK can be great fun, a chance to enjoy time with family and to relax and unwind. Sadly, many people experience a less than enjoyable time away, when they fall ill. Instead of enjoying their break, people spend their holiday in bed or have to travel home. Research by Post Office Travel Insurance found that 4.4 million people suffered injuries and illnesses abroad in the three years to 2015. This included everything from painful sunburn to food poisoning to slips and falls.

Falling ill on holiday can happen to anyone and the most common complaints from holidaymakers are sickness and gastric complaints. Often these kinds of illnesses occur because of coming into contact with unsafe food and drink provided by the hotel or holiday company. It can also be because of poor sanitation or because of contaminated water in swimming pools, baths or showers. This kind of gastric illness can be extremely dangerous and can lead to dehydration and be debilitating.

What should you do if you fall ill on holiday?

If you or a member of your party falls ill on holiday, and you believe it is down to the hotel or accommodation you stayed in or the company who provided you with the holiday, then you have every right to consider making a holiday illness claim.

If you are taken ill and are on a package holiday, then you may be able to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you went through. You may also be able to seek damages for the loss of enjoyment for the holiday which surely wasn’t cheap.

Specific legislation known as the Package Tour Regulations state that your tour operator has a contractual duty to you. They have a contractual obligation as the supplier of the goods and services provided within your holiday. They are also contractually bound to ensure the performance, and the provision within and under the contract do not fall below the standards expected of a reasonable holiday maker.

If you are unwell because of your accommodation or services and therefore, in the performance of the obligations of your holiday contract, then the tour operator could be found liable. This can result in a holiday sickness damages payment.


Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992

Defining a Package Tour can be difficult. The legislation itself lays out the definition as a ‘pre-arranged combination of at least two components when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than 24 hours’. If you have booked a holiday with a high street tour operator or agency and chosen a package deal, your holiday will probably fall under these conditions.

If believe you have the right to make a holiday illness claim, you need to do all you can to prove your case. This means ensuring you gather evidence while still on the holiday where possible. Collect evidence showing the quality of the sanitation and hygiene levels at your hotel. You should also take note of anyone else’s experience and symptoms. If there is a pattern it can support your claim. Similarly, take photographs of the problems and potential hazards at your hotel or accommodation. If there are any hospital admissions, visits to the doctor or pharmacy, keep records of them all. It is also important to keep all documentation related to the holiday including booking information.

No one wants their break remembered for all the wrong reasons. But if your holiday was a letdown, you shouldn’t just accept it. Holiday illness claims regularly fall in favour of the victim so it is worth discussing your case with the professionals.

photo credit: Perhentian Besar Island via photopin (license)