Simpson Millar solicitors have successfully helped a man from Warwickshire claim back £2500 in compensation for an illness bug suffered during a stay at the Melia Las Dunas hotel in Cuba.
Mr Gardner was on holiday to celebrate the wedding of his daughter when he was stuck down with infective gastroenteritis believed to be caused by shigella sonnei.
The Melia Las Dunas and its sister hotel, the Melia Santa Maria, are situated on the Santa Maria Beach in the Cayos in Cuba. The hotel boasts three large swimming pools and no less than five restaurants including a large buffet and a la carte restaurants.
Unfortunately what should have been one of the happiest occasions of Mr Gardner’s life was ruined by sickness which caused vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever.
When he arrived back in the UK he contacted Simpson Millar’s Group Litigation Manager, Paul Stevens, to see if he could claim compensation against the tour operator, Thomas Cook.
While it was always going to be difficult to successfully bring a claim when there was no confirmed germ such as salmonella or E. coli, Simpson Millar agreed to take on the case as others staying at the two hotels had also reported illness at a similar time.
Upon receiving a Letter of Claim from Thomas Cook, an offer was made to settle the claim although Mr Gardner was advised by Simpson Millar that it was too low. A telephone consultation was then made with a food poisoning expert who took the view that it was most likely that the illness was caused by shigella.
Settlement was then sensibly agreed with the UK’s second biggest tour operator for a sum that was in line with what he would have been awarded had the matter gone to a trial.
When he received 100% of the compensation paid to him, Mr Gardner was asked to say what he thought about Simpson Millar and advised:
"My family would recommend Simpson Millar LLP to anyone. You have provided an excellent service."
Of course not everyone that goes to Cuba is unlucky enough to contract illness of the kind that Mr Gardner suffered from and steps can be taken to reduce the prospects of becoming ill. However there is only so much that can be done if staff involved in the preparation of food are not obeying basic rules.
The National Health Network and Centre, which should be consulted by all people travelling to Cuba, advises travellers to take care to avoid food and water related illness. The government sponsored body confirms that Yellow Fever and Salmonella Typhi exist in Cuba and provides useful advice and pointers to ensure travel there is safe.
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