What happens when you become ill on holiday? Are there any ways in which individuals can claim for personal injury that has occurred while they are abroad, albeit temporarily? Whilst the issue of claiming against holiday companies for breach of contract when a holiday falls short of the advertised standard is clearly documented, the issue of illness, particularly if it is beyond the control of the holiday company, is a whole new area to explore.
The Case of Holiday Village Turkey
A recent case relating to a Holiday Village in Turkey that was set to be the flagship hotel for tour operator First Choice has brought to the attention of the personal injury industry that there may be much wider repercussions involved when holidays go wrong, than a simple contractual issue.
In this case, several holiday makers had become seriously ill while visiting the Holiday Village in Turkey, during October of this year. It was found that all of those who had fallen ill had contracted cryptosporidium, which is typically contracted through unhygienic swimming pools. Symptoms are generally flu like and can be particularly dangerous for those who are very young, old, or already ill.
Having been contacted by the Environmental Health teams, those who have been afflicted by this illness are now looking towards the various different legal options that are available to them to recover costs, as well as damages in some situations.
Various Approaches Being Taken
Clearly, there are several different approaches that can be taken, when it comes to gaining some sort of compensation for a ruined holiday and, unlike other instances of injury, those who sustain injuries when on holiday have additional channels to consider.
A similar event happened, back in 2008, when a team of solicitors dealt with an outbreak of a similar illness at the holiday location and it was determined that the best way of gaining compensation was through the 1992 Package Travel Regulations. The law firm in charge of the case stated: “Last year we were instructed by over 100 holiday makers who suffered illness at the Holiday Village in Sarigerme, in Turkey. Fortunately, Simpson Millar Solicitors can report that the action they were dealing with relating to the mass outbreak in 2008 has now settled”.
It should be noted that personal injury lawyers, in the UK, can only assist with bringing compensation claims for injury or illness if the holiday was booked through a travel agent, based in the UK, or if the holiday took place in the UK. Otherwise, it would be necessary for local law to apply, which may require assistance from local solicitors. Therefore, claims of this nature will be against travel agents such as First Choice giving a potentially unfair impression about their level of injury or illness incidents.
The current position in relation to the difficulties in Turkey is far from resolved, with the legal team stating: “However the yearly illness trend at the Holiday Village Turkey appears to be continuing unabated given holiday makers returning from the Holiday Village in October 2010 have suffered with bouts of cryptosporidiosis!”
For those affected, no win no fee arrangements are being offered and the likelihood of compensation is thought to be reasonably high, making this far from the end of the holiday illness saga.