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Lady from Wales in £10,000 Damages pay out for Sickness Bug at Tunisian Hotel

A nurse from Mid Glamorgan, represented by Simpson Millar LLP, has successfully sued Thomas Cook for compensation in excess of £10,000 for salmonella food poisoning suffered at a hotel in Tunisia called the Marhaba Club.

Simpson Millar LLP has a travel law department which is dedicated to helping people whose holidays have been ruined by food poisoning or injuries during holidays at overseas locations.

Having suffered symptoms including nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting during the holiday, Mrs Evans’ symptoms continued when she arrived back in the UK. As her annual holiday had been ruined and she now required time off work due to her illness, she consulted Simpson Millar LLP for legal assistance with the holiday claim.

Tests done by her GP revealed that she had contracted salmonella during her holiday to Tunisia.

Mrs Evans was unable to pin point any real obvious problems with the hotel, which is typical of salmonella infections contracted at overseas hotels. Such problems often include the presence of flies in the hotel restaurant or a general lack of cleanliness. She was also unaware of anyone else that was ill.

However, she had consumed all of her meals in the hotel restaurant in the 72 hours or so before her symptoms started which meant that the hotel was a likely source of her infection.

Success with Food Poisoning Claim against Thomas Cook

Due to our travel industry experience, Paul Stevens, Group Litigation Manager at Simpson Millar LLP was able to help Mrs Evans bring a successful claim against Thomas Cook.

Paul Stevens previously worked for Thomas Cook in their legal department whilst there and defended claims of a similar nature for them – meaning he knew the kind of documents, which would render Thomas Cook responsible had they attempted to defend the claim.

Whether a hotel is responsible for an infection often depends on what is happening behind the scenes in the hotel kitchen where the food is being prepared. If food handlers are failing to wash their hands in between preparing raw and cooked food, and if food is not being cooked or refrigerated at the correct temperatures, it may be contaminated with salmonella by the time it arrives at the hotel buffet.

Paul ensured that Thomas Cook disclosed documentation, such as audits and cleaning records and subsequently Thomas Cook admitted responsibility for Mrs Evans claim – and paid her the full amount that she was entitled to.

Warning – Contact a Solicitor before Accepting a Tour Operator Offer for Illness or an Accident

Holiday Hotel Watch

In some occasions Thomas Cook make offers to settle claims before their customers have the time to consider whether they need to instruct a solicitor. We would always advise clients to at least telephone a solicitor before any consideration is given to accepting an offer.

There are 2 important reasons for this:

  • Firstly, and most importantly, you could be entitled to a lot more compensation that that proposed by Thomas Cook.
  • Secondly, you may be obligated to pay your employer back the amount they paid you while you were ill – if you don’t, the amount may come out of your compensation.

While absent from work due to the salmonella food poisoning, Mrs Evans’ employer paid her wages. As her contract compelled her to claim back the amount she was paid while absent from work, Simpson Millar LLP added the amount to her claim. Had she not done so, she may have had to pay back her losses out of her compensation award. This is why obtaining legal advice is so essential when making claims against tour operators.

In another case involving a client who suffered suspected salmonella bug at the Souviva Hotel in Tunisia, Thomas Cook made an offer to settle her claim for the lowly sum of £500. After instructing us to represent her, she was awarded £5000 in compensation.

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Dated: 22/01/2014

Author: © 2014