How to make a claim if you become ill whilst on holiday
Penelope Byers, 13th August, 2018
We all look forward to our holidays and why shouldn't we?
Whether you are looking for the warmth and relaxation of a sandy beach, or the adventure of a snowy mountain peak, we all look forward to our holidays, no matter whether they are in the UK or abroad. But what do you do if things do not go to plan and you or a friend or family member becomes ill while you are away?
Obviously, no one wants to think about these things but unfortunately, although rare, it happens and instead of being able to enjoy your well-deserved break, you may be confined to the four walls of your hotel room and your holiday is ruined.
It may be that you are suffering as a result of a change of climate, or just from the stress of travelling, but equally it might be due to something you have eaten, or due to a lack of cleanliness, in which case it is a more serious issue and can cause long term problems.
What can I do if I am still on holiday?
In this situation, there are a few things you can do whilst you are still away to help you consider whether you want to make a claim for compensation when you get home:
- Most important of all is your health, it is easy to become dehydrated due to illness, so it is really important to seek medical treatment straight away. It is a good idea to keep any receipts as proof of any expenses you may have to pay and also take notes of the advice given to you by the health professionals.
- Depending on how your holiday has been booked, if there is a holiday rep at your resort you need to notify them of your illness as soon as you can. Your rep will complete a report form and should give you a copy to keep for your own personal records. If there is no holiday rep, you need to notify the hotel management.
- If you become aware of anyone else, for instance in the same hotel, reporting that they have similar symptoms of illness ask whether they will exchange contact details with you. This will benefit both of you if you decide to make a claim in the future.
- Depending on whether you think food poisoning is the likely cause, try to put together a list of everything you have had to eat and drink over the last 48 hours and where you were. It may be useful to compare notes with anyone else who is suffering to see if there is any common cause.
- However, if you think that you may have become ill due to a lack of cleanliness whether it be in your accommodation, communal areas including swimming pools, try and take a photograph of the area and keep a note of the date that the photo was taken.
- If you are ill, try to keep a diary of your symptoms and the treatment you are using.
- It is important that if you want to consider making a claim when you get back home, that you do not accept a payment of compensation from the hotel etc while you are away. This may be a lower sum of money than you are entitled to claim and may prevent you from making a claim when you get home.
What should I do when I get home?
When you come back home, if you are still unwell it is important that your see your own doctor as soon as possible to receive further medical treatment. First and foremost, you need to get better. At your earliest opportunity, if you are thinking about making a claim you should write to your tour operator, and keep a copy of the letter or email for your own records. It is always best to put your complaint in writing to them. In your letter you need to include details of your booking and provide an account of what has happened to you while you have been away and what treatment you have sought. The more information and evidence you can provide in your letter the better.
Your tour operator is under a duty to use reasonable care and skill when arranging your holiday which must be provided to a reasonable standard. Furthermore, your tour operator is responsible for ensuring it suppliers perform their obligations properly.
Allow your tour operator 28 days to respond to your letter. If your tour operator fails to respond within this time, or you are unhappy with the response you have received you can escalate your complaint. If your tour operator is a member of ABTA you will need to contact them to advise that you have not received a satisfactory reply. Otherwise, you will need to follow your tour operator’s complaint procedure.
If you are not happy with the response from your tour operator, you may wish to take matters further and seek legal advice from a solicitor.