Category: Caribbean Islands

£15,000 for Illness Bug following Tarantula Nightmare

Over £15,000 for Illness Bug following Tarantula Nightmare at the Playa Costa Verde Hotel in Cuba

We have successfully helped a couple from Cumbria to claim compensation in excess of £15,000 for traveller’s diarrhoea after staying at the Playa Costa Verde Hotel in Holguin, a beach resort in Cuba. Mr and Mrs Smith were staying at the hotel as part of as pre-Christmas break abroad, when shortly into the holiday they suffered serious symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea that are often associated with bacterial infections.

The Playa Costa Verde Hotel is offered by Thomas Cook as a package holiday, and is marketed as being an ideal hotel for couples and families, with many guests staying on an all-inclusive basis and taking advantage of buffet and à la carte dining, along with unlimited soft and alcoholic drinks.

What Went Wrong in Cuba?

Part of the way through their enjoyable winter break, the Smiths contracted an illness bug which resulted in Mr Smith visiting the hotel clinic and a prescription for a cocktail of medications. The couple had concerns over the hygiene at the hotel buffet where they found that not only was seafood mislabelled as potato soup that came with the added bonus of a dead spider.

Our clients’ experienced problems with their hotel room, where the bathroom flooded 3 times. Worst of all they found a live tarantula in their hotel room, enough to make even the toughest holidaymaker feel uneasy.

Making a Claim for On-Going Illness

Unfortunately for our clients their holiday illness nightmare didn’t end when they left their resort, and upon returning to the UK they continued to suffer symptoms, culminating in them instructing us to represent them in their illness claim against Thomas Cook.

Paul Stevens, our Group Travel Litigation Claims Manager represented Mr and Mrs Smith and arranged for their illnesses to be assessed by a food poisoning doctor, so that a proper assessment of their compensation could be made.

With full authority from Mr and Mrs Smith after being advised of the potential value of their claim we began negotiating a settlement with Thomas Cook.

A Positive Outcome

Following a little to and fro with Thomas Cook, an out-of-court settlement of over £15,000 was agreed upon, a result that the Smiths were very happy with. Upon receiving their compensation, Mrs Smith remarked on Paul’s attention to detail in saying that he was “very diverse to individual needs checking every detail to deliver great service.”

Mr Smith was equally impressed and confirmed that Paul was “very informative to all our needs” and the service in general was “excellent and well beyond our expectations.”

Expert Opinion

Paul Stevens has the following to say about the case:

Compensation for Illness in Cuba

Our Travel Law Specialists help many clients to claim compensation from their tour operator, and we’re currently receiving a lot of enquiries concerning food poisoning suffered at hotels in Cuba. If you are looking for advice on how to pursue a compensation claim following illness on a package holiday in Cuba, we can help.

Find out the Value of Your Claim

Compensation awards vary depending on the circumstances of your claim and can be worth anything between £1,000 and £50,000, with more serious cases that involve long-term health complications such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) receiving larger awards. It only takes a few minutes for a member of the team to provide you with a free no-obligation consultation on your illness claim, so contact us today.

£3,166 damages after illness wrecks silver wedding holiday

Ex-serviceman awarded £3,166 damages after illness wrecks silver wedding holiday

A 50 year-old from Hull has won compensation after falling ill with a gastric complaint at a hotel in Holguin, Cuba.

The former serviceman and his wife were celebrating their silver wedding anniversary at Playa Pesquero when illness struck in March 2014.

Illness Diagnosis

Infective gastroenteritis – most likely caused by consuming contaminated hotel food and/or drink

Stomach pains became cramps

5 days into the holiday on 26 March, the couple both became ill. “At first I was getting pains in my stomach which became bad cramps,” our client said.

Andrew Tarling added that the illness was due to the hotel’s general hygiene malpractice and the food and drink our client consumed while he was there

“Soon I was getting horrible diarrhoea, hot and cold shivers and bad headaches, and I felt lethargic.

“I couldn’t believe how it really hit me. It was also bad seeing my wife suffering just as much.”

All-inclusive package left no doubts

Our client noted the all-inclusive nature of the couple’s stay. “All our meals were taken within the hotel,” he said.

“I was surprised when going into the main buffet restaurant to find lots of birds flying around inside. They would land on the buffet and tables scavenging for bits of food and their droppings could be seen.”

He added that hotel staff “didn’t bother” with the birds, treating them as if they were “part of the furniture”.

“The food varied in quality and wasn’t always the hottest,” our client continued. “I like seafood and I tried the prawns and shrimps, but later discovered that they were left out all the time. They weren’t refrigerated and the birds would help themselves.”

Dirty swimming pool left uncleaned

Our client also observed that the hotel’s swimming pool, beside which the couple would frequently sit, was “dirty around the edges”.

“We would see drinks glasses that had been floating in the water since the previous day. Not once did I see [the pool] being cleaned.”

Thomas Cook’s rep was no help

Although our client’s wife reported the illness to Thomas Cook’s hotel rep and a report was completed, the couple heard nothing more during their stay.

“I’d hoped that once back in the UK I would get better, but I continued to be ill, which just isn’t me,” said the ex-serviceman, whose indisposition ruined a surprise party thrown by the couple’s daughter and continued for several weeks after the holiday.

Tour Operator accused

“I blame Thomas Cook and its hotel. I’ve no doubt I ingested something there that caused the illness.”

Medical report confirmed hotel at fault

Noting that “a significant number of other hotel guests were also affected by similar symptoms”, a subsequent medical report concluded that our client “suffered an acute gastroenteritis whilst staying at the Playa Pesquero Hotel. On the balance of probabilities this was the result of an acute bacterial or parasitic process”.

Andrew Tarling added that the illness was due to the hotel’s general hygiene malpractice and the food and drink our client consumed while he was there.

“This ruined a special holiday that can only come along every 25 years,” Andrew said. “For this reason and others it was important that Thomas Cook and the hotel it represents be held to account.”

£3166 settlement agreed

Our client expressed himself pleased with the part played by Simpson Millar in a successful claim

Client praised Simpson Millar

“From the initial query to the outcome we have been informed of every step,” he said. “The home visit was very welcome, swift and informative.”

£6,100 compensation for couple after illness ruins Caribbean holiday

£6,100 compensation for couple after illness ruins Caribbean holiday

A couple whose Caribbean holiday was wrecked due to both suffering gastric illness have been awarded compensation.

When problems struck in July 2014 the pair were staying at the 4-star IFA Villa Resort and Spa at Bavaro, Dominican Republic. They had booked their holiday through Thomas Cook.

Thomas Cook Holiday 2014

Couple stayed at the 4-star IFA Villa Resort and Spa at Bavaro, Dominican Republic

“Our clients contracted gastrointestinal infections believed to be as a result of poor hygiene standards and practises at the hotel,” Simpson Millar’s Amanda Dunford said. “This is likely to have been the result of consuming contaminated food.

“The break was meant to be their last big holiday as a couple before starting a family.”

Robbery at hotel had already spoiled holiday

Having also suffered the shock of a theft of their personal belongings within a day of their arrival, the illness was the final nail in the coffin.

“It ruined their holiday,” Amanda said. “It was all a highly emotive and unpleasant experience.”

Tour firm should have ensured better hygiene

They suffered diarrhoea, cramps, headache, tiredness and vomiting

Amanda added that other guests were also believed to have contracted illness at the same time.

Having also suffered the shock of a theft of their personal belongings within a day of their arrival, the illness was the final nail in the coffin.

To add insult to injury, Thomas Cook at first saw fit to offer the couple only a derisory damages consideration.

Amanda commented, “Their holiday was beyond repair, yet Thomas Cook’s initial offer was nothing more than a voucher worth £290 – presumably only redeemable with them.

“In light of all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience experienced at its hotel – and the settlement that was finally agreed – this offer was derisory and insulting.”

“Our clients raised numerous issues in terms of the quality and standards at the hotel” Amanda concluded. “They didn’t expect to pick up an infection at a hotel that has supposedly been checked for health and safety by the holiday company that represents it.

“The compensation initially offered significantly undervalued their case. In due course they collectively received £6,100, which went some way to defusing their feelings of having been badly let down by Thomas Cook.”

Compensation Claim Agreed

Thomas Cook agreed to settle on £3,300 and £2,800 respectively for wife and husband, although the firm continued to refuse to admit liability

£3,700 following Cuban holiday Salmonella

£3,700 damages for Warrington 21 year-old following Cuban holiday Salmonella

Compensation has been awarded to a young Cheshire woman who contracted Salmonella while she holidayed in Cuba.

According to Simpson Millar’s Claire Rabbetts, our client contracted Salmonella in April 2013 as a result of a breakdown in hygiene standards at the hotel.

Breakdown in hotel hygiene

She suffered nausea, headaches, severe abdominal cramps and swelling of the gut

Tables not cleaned – and staff didn’t check food

When she became unwell, the 21 year-old was on annual vacation with her partner and her parents at the Iberostar Varadero Hotel, booked through the TUI (UK) affiliate, First Choice.

As our client reported, the indoor buffet restaurant in which she and the family took most of their meals looked clean enough.

“But I can’t remember seeing anybody cleaning the tables, floors or other surfaces when I was in there,” she said. “There was no hand gel for guests to use… the chefs wore aprons and hairnets but the waiters didn’t. None of the staff wore gloves.”

Although at no time did she see staff checking the temperature of the uncovered food, she doubts the cold dishes were kept properly chilled.

“[The food] was just put out in metal dishes… the [unchilled] salad was left uncovered.”

Medical Report

Still feeling sick when she got home, “My doctor took a stool sample and I was diagnosed with Salmonella”

Restaurant insects ignored by staff

“New food was just poured on top of the existing food – the old food wasn’t replaced.”

Our client also noticed flies around the food. “The insects weren’t deterred in any way. And when new food was brought from the kitchen [it was] just poured on top of the existing food – the old food wasn’t replaced.”

Our client noted that, before she became ill, the family only ate or drank outside the hotel on one occasion. “This was during a safari excursion at a coffee plantation, where the buffet food was piping hot and very well cooked. I couldn’t fault it.”

Cramps, chills and vomiting

Claire Rabbetts observed that the holidaymaker first began to feel ill on the morning of 30 April, 5 days into the £4,000 holiday.

“Our client suffered from abdominal cramps and felt worse as the day wore on,” Claire said. “She began to suffer chills and then vomited. At this stage, feeling terrible, she completely lost her appetite.”

First Choice was responsible

After a damages settlement with TUI (UK) of £3,700

Claire Rabbetts said our client blames First Choice for her Salmonella poisoning.

“The food and hygiene standards were not good enough,” Claire said. “It should come as no surprise to First Choice that our client’s faith in the hotel, Cuba and the travel firm itself has been badly affected by her unpleasant experience.”

£2,750 damages after gastric illness ruins Cuban wedding holiday

£2,750 damages after gastric illness ruins Cuban wedding holiday

A retail manager from Kent who became ill while holidaying in the Caribbean has been awarded £2,750 compensation.

In March 2014 the 53-year-old was staying with his partner and other friends at the Playa Pesquero Hotel in Holguin, Cuba. Booked through Thomas Cook, the holiday was meant to be a celebration of another couple’s wedding.

“This was our first holiday in Cuba,” our client said. “We had really been looking forward to it.”

Damage Done: the holiday-wedding celebration that he, his partner and their friends looked forward to had been ruined

Client felt ill on boat trip

5 days into the holiday, the party took a Thomas Cook boat excursion to Paradise Island. Having eaten breakfast prior to departure, our client began to suffer from a headache and abdominal cramping.

Choosing not to eat during the trip, he returned to the hotel that evening and soon began to experience severe and frequent diarrhoea, with associated abdominal discomfort.

His symptoms continued throughout the evening and into the night, during which time he tried to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

“By the following morning our client’s symptoms had receded slightly, although they would continue to be aggravated whenever he attempted to eat,” Simpson Millar’s Paul Stevens said. “He stuck to small helpings of very bland food, and also felt extremely lethargic.”

The big celebration was wrecked

By the end of his holiday our client was still suffering episodes of diarrhoea, having difficulty in eating and with a marked reduction in energy. And although on arriving home in Dartford he did not feel the need to consult his own GP, returning to normal health within a few days, the damage was done: the dual Caribbean holiday-wedding celebration that he, his partner and their friends had so looked forward to had been ruined.

Poor hygiene standards at an all-inclusive hotel

Paul Stevens said the hotel’s standards of hygiene were questionable. “The buffet restaurant served food that had been left exposed for long periods of time. It was often served unacceptably lukewarm, and there was no evidence of the food’s temperature being monitored.”

Medical Report statement:

“It was a breakdown in the food and general hygiene processes that caused the claimant’s illness.”

“Birds pecked at exposed food”

“Our client also noticed that some foods were re-presented in different meals at later times,” Paul continued. “Water was served in large stainless-steel jugs rather than sealed bottles, cats wandered through the hotel grounds and many birds could be seen flying around the buffet area and pecking at the food.”

Paul noted the all-inclusive nature of the holiday package. “Our client took all his meals within the hotel complex before he became ill,” he said. “The fact that a significant number of other guests experienced similar symptoms – including our client’s own partner, who was supposed to be also celebrating her birthday – must be cause for suspicion.”

No efforts to improve cleanliness

Our client said the percentage of people who were ill was quite alarming. “Almost everyone we spoke to were either unwell or knew someone who was. But there didn’t seem to be any efforts made to improve hygiene standards, and tour operators continued to take on new holidaymakers.

Prescribed Antibiotics:

“We were told the illness was airborne and had been brought [to the hotel] by some Canadians, but I discovered that the hotel doctor was prescribing antibiotics, so he obviously didn’t think it was a virus.”

A subsequent medical report stated: “On the balance of probabilities, the poor hygiene standards within the hotel were responsible for the spread of the infection through the occupants. It was a breakdown in the food and general hygiene processes that caused the claimant’s illness.”

Praise for Simpson Millar

Following an out-of-court compensation award of £2,750, our client said of Simpson Millar’s service: “Excellent all round. Very thorough…[we were] kept in touch.”

£20,500 Awarded in IBS Compensation Battle with First Choice

£20,500 Awarded in IBS Compensation Battle with First Choice

While many holiday makers expect an episode of the “Turkish Trots”, “Delhi Belly” or “The Dom Rep Two Step” as it is known in the Dominican Republic, none of us expect what we pick up on holiday to stay with us for the rest of our life.Holiday Illness Bug Victim successfully Sues Tour Operator for Irritable Bowel Syndrome following Foreign Holiday

Unfortunately for a barmaid hoping to enjoy her wedding and honeymoon in what was supposed to be a dream holiday to a tropical paradise in the Dominican Republic, this was not the case.

Honeymoon Ruined by Suspect Hygiene

Mrs Borton was on holiday in the Dominican Republic when she was struck down with what turned out to be a cryptosporidium infection. She suffered with typical traveller’s diarrhoea symptoms including vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.

The wedding, honeymoon and holiday were all ruined by the illness.

Upon her returned to the UK, she submitted a stool sample which was tested for various infections and unfortunately for Mrs Borton, she tested positive for Cryptosporidium which is usually associated with infected water.

To make matters worse, her symptoms continued upon her return to the UK where she experienced irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. The symptoms included alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhoea which were deemed to be permanent.

First Choice sued for IBS

Mrs Borton was able to sue her tour operator for IBS symptoms because they were caused by the Cryptosporidium infection which First Choice admitted liability for. Even through the infection was contracted at a hotel in the Dominican Republic, she was able to sue in UK because her contract was with First Choice, a UK based Travel Company.

First Choice argued over the amount of compensation that was due to Mrs Borton so she took them to court and was awarded £20,500 in compensation for the pain and suffering caused by her irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition she was awarded £4,000 in compensation because the honeymoon ruined by illness and £866 for the proportion of the holiday that was ruined. On top of all that she was awarded interest at £2,680 to make the total compensation £29,378.

Full details of the case can be found on and have been reported in Kemp and Kemp.

Contact us Today to Claim IBS Compensation

Simpson Millar have a dedicated team of travel lawyers who help victims of food poisoning and IBS following foreign holidays. If you would like our assistance, we suggest that you contact us as soon as possible to identify whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Holidaymaker Wins £5000 Compensation for Holiday Illness in Jamaica

Holidaymaker Wins £5000 Compensation for Holiday Illness in Jamaica

A Scottish holidaymaker received £5000 from Thomas Cook after falling ill whilst on a package holiday in Jamaica.

Mr Chesney contracted Shigella, a form of dysentery, whilst holidaying on the Caribbean island.

The symptoms Mr Chesney experienced were very unpleasant with his holiday ruined by severe bouts of diarrhoea and stomach pain.

After returning home Mr Chesney contacted Simpson Millar Solicitors, leading Holiday and Travel Law experts, to enquire about making a claim for compensation.

Nick Harris, Head of Travel Law at the firm was able to take on the case. He said;

Food Poisoning at the Hotel

“In Mr Chesney’s case there appeared to me to be a clear failing in hygiene standards and practices at the particular hotel. The illness Mr Chesney suffered whilst on holiday in Jamaica was most probably food poisoning.

Some of the practices at the hotel were unacceptable. For example wild birds were allowed to contaminate the buffet restaurant and meat such chicken was undercooked and served bloody and pink.

Food poisoning can be easily avoided if food handlers take reasonable care to cook food properly and ensure it is sourced through reputable suppliers and stored and prepared in hygienic conditions”

Fantastic Service

When asked to describe the service he had received from Simpson Millar’s specialist Holiday illness and Accident Claims specialists a delighted Mr Chesney said;

Fantastic. A very professional service. Nick Harris is very good at what he does – very professional and friendly. I felt completely assured during every step of the process”

No Cost No Worry

Simpson Millar Solicitors were able to able to assist Mr Chesney under the terms of a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement.

This type of funding meant that Mr Chesney was able to pursue his case safe in the knowledge that if his case failed then a special “after the event” insurance arranged by Simpson Millar would cover his legal fees.

Unlike many law firms Simpson Millar’s Holiday Claims Solicitors promise to limit their fees to whatever they recover from the opponent at the end of the case.

So in Mr Chesney’s case it really was a case of no win no fee and he received every penny of the £5000 awarded.

Has Your Hotel Had an Illness Outbreak?

Nick Harris and his dedicated team of travel lawyers closely monitor hotels in Jamaica and other popular tourist destinations for signs of illness outbreaks affecting UK tourists.

Some of the hotels that are closely monitored can be found by visiting the Hotel Watch page by clicking the ‘Alert’ icon at the bottom of this page.

You can check out on Hotel Watch if your holiday hotel is causing concern and if you know about a hotel abroad where guests are falling sick then please drop us a line.

If you have been a victim of illness, sickness or food poisoning whilst on holiday then get in touch with Nick and his team today and claim your compensation.

You could be entitled to claim substantial compensation if your foreign holiday was spoilt by food poisoning. Types of food poisoning holidaymakers often complain of included salmonellacampylobacterE-coli and cryptosporidium.

Simpson Millar are a national law firm with Holiday Claims Solicitors in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, London, Cardiff, Wimbledon, Sheffield, Bristol, Lancaster and Gateshead.