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Holiday Illness in the Canaries

Holidays to the Canary Isles (commonly referred to simply as 'the Canaries') are traditionally popular amongst British tourists as they are warm all year round. There continued popularity shows families are still enjoying packaged holidays to destinations including Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

Holidays to the Canaries offer good value for money with a wide range of hotel's being sold by major tour operators such as Thomas Cook, First Choice Holidays and Thomson Holidays.

It is regretful however that Simpson Millar LLP's Travel and Holiday lawyers are contacted regularly by holidaymakers that have travelled to the Canary Isles on all-inclusive deals and have returned home with symptoms of chronic diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever and nausea.

When tour operators are informed about a holiday illness overseas, either whilst in the resort or on return to the UK, they may be quick to dismiss the illness and may blame the symptoms on a virus, sunstroke, over-indulgence, an allergic reaction or something picked up whilst outside of the hotel.

The tour operators are aware that legally, if an illness is caused by dirty hotel conditions, poorly maintained hotel swimming pool facilities, poor food hygiene practices at the hotel or the serving of undercooked or contaminated food within the hotel, they may be responsible to pay significant compensation for pain, suffering, loss of holiday and other consequential losses including medical expenses and travel costs.

In 1992 new legislation was introduced, known as the Package Travel Regulations. It protects holidaymakers by giving them a direct right of action against their tour operator in the UK.

Are you suffering from the effects of Food Poisoning?

Holiday Hotel Watch

Many people that contact us following holidays to Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria have unpleasant symptoms of diarrhoea and stomach cramps. They do not know what kind of sickness bug they have contracted and simply believe they have a virus as this is what they have been lead to believe by the hotel or holiday representative.

As a rule of thumb, if you suffer from symptoms for an extended period of time (beyond 3 or 4 days) then the cause of the illness may be bacterial in nature or could be caused by a parasite. Examples of sickness bugs commonly reported by holidaymakers travelling to the Canary Islands are:

These types of bugs are usually caused by food poisoning or by the consumption of infected water.

We believe that identifying the type if infection is important as it will assist you in receiving the correct treatment. It will also assist us, if you are to pursue a claim against you tour operator, in identifying the source of the illness.

We advise anyone that has returned from holiday with prolonged symptoms of gastric illness to visit their GP without delay and to provide a stool sample, as many bugs can only be identified this way.

Have you been given Antibiotics?

If you have been prescribed antibiotics whilst in the Canaries, this can be an indication of food poisoning or other bacterial infection. Antibiotics abroad can have various different brand names, if you're unsure what has been prescribed, contact your GP and check. Antibiotics should not generally be prescribed for a virus.

If you have taken antibiotics and your stool sample tests are “negative” this could be the reason why. A negative test does not mean that you did not suffer from food poisoning and will not prevent you from being able to claim compensation.

Did you have hygiene concerns?

If during your holiday, or looking back at your trip, you believe that things were not right with the food or swimming pool, this may again be a sign that your illness was food poisoning or a parasitic infection.

Common issues noticed by holidaymakers include:

  • Dirty hotel conditions – particularly in restaurants, kitchens and toilets
  • Sloppy food handling processes with chefs and waiters handling food with their bare hands
  • Hotel staff failing to wash their hands on a regular basis
  • Food being served raw, undercooked or at lukewarm temperatures
  • Food, particularly raw meats and poultry, being allowed to cross contaminate cooked food
  • Raw meats and poultry being prepared on the same surfaces as cooked food or vegetables
  • The serving of undercooked eggs
  • Birds, cats and insects in hotel kitchens or dining areas
  • Dirty or cloudy swimming pool water

I have been ill abroad - Should I claim compensation?

It costs nothing to contact us and find out whether you can claim, in most cases we can act on 'no win no fee' terms. If we do not think your claim has prospects of success, or if we do not think it would be in your best interests to pursue a formal claim we will tell you. We always give honest and direct advice.

If you have been on an all-inclusive holiday, have suffered from illness for more than just a few days and have concerns about cleanliness or hygiene at your hotel, the chances are, we can assist you.

Why trust Simpson Millar LLP?

When you instruct Simpson Millar LLP to pursue a holiday food poisoning claim, your claim will be handled by someone with specialist knowledge and experience in pursuing overseas illness compensation claims.

Bringing a claim against a tour operator for illness can be complicated and expert evidence will usually be required in order to recover the full extent of the compensation that you are entitled to. The major tour operators know this and understand that it is difficult, if not impossible for holidaymakers to get, or to afford the cost of obtaining expert evidence.

Letters of complaint written directly to tour operators are therefore often met with a standardised letter, or on occasion an unreasonable offer of compensation (often in the form of a voucher).

Simpson Millar LLP's holiday lawyers can obtain the evidence required to bring a successful claim and will push your tour operator for a fair and reasonable outcome to your case with your interests at heart.

Get in touch for a chat about how we can help you by filling in our quick, no obligation enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on 0808 145 1353.

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Dated: 29/01/2014

Author: © 2014