Dominican Republic holiday illness and accident advice
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean island that has become exceptionally popular with British holidaymakers in recent years, and although it has a lot to offer, we still receive enquiries from holidaymakers who have suffered accidents and illness during their break abroad.
In this guide, we’ll explain what to do if you’re injured in an accident or suffer from an illness such as travellers’ diarrhoea while on holiday in the Dominican Republic, including whether you’re able to claim ‘no win no fee’ compensation from your tour operator.
Can I claim compensation?
If you book an all-inclusive package holiday through a British tour operator, then under The Package Travel Regulations 1992, your tour operator has a contractual obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that you don’t come to harm at any stage of your holiday to the Dominican Republic.
This means that while they might not be responsible for unexpected changes in weather or things that are arguably out of their control, they should ensure that the services sold to you as part of your package are safe. This can include the following elements of your package holiday:
- Your flight
- Areas of the hotel, including your room
- All-inclusive meals and drinks
- Transfers included as part of your package
How do I know if I booked a package holiday?
You should have been made aware that you were purchasing a package holiday at the time of your booking, but if you’re just not completely sure, there a couple of simple ways to find out. It’s likely that you booked a package holiday if you meet the following criteria:
- You have an ATOL certificate from your tour operator
- You paid a single price that includes transportation, accommodation, food and drinks
Travellers’ diarrhoea in the Dominican Republic
Travellers’ diarrhoea is a term often used by holidaymakers that can encompass symptoms such as stomach cramps, vomiting, fatigue, fever and nausea, in addition to diarrhoea. Be aware that travellers’ diarrhoea isn’t actually an illness, but it can be seen as an indication that you are suffering from one.
Stomach illnesses that can be described as travellers’ diarrhoea can be caused by food poisoning as a result of poor standards at an all-inclusive hotel in the Dominican Republic. Hygiene errors that can result in food poisoning can include high-risk produce such as meat, fish and eggs being incorrectly cooked, food being reheated or recycled unsafely, and contaminated water being used to prepare meals or used in drinks.
Ineffective hygiene practices and low standards of cleanliness can also result in travellers’ diarrhoea, as can the presence of wildlife such as birds, insects, cats and lizards.
Dealing with stomach illness in the Dominican Republic
Some forms of gastric illness can be treated through over-the-counter medication, however, it’s advisable to see a medical practitioner to receive a proper diagnosis before self-medicating, as your condition might be more severe than is initially apparent.
It’s beneficial to inform your holiday rep and hotelier of your condition as soon as possible, as in addition to providing you with access to the appropriate medical services, they can take steps to prevent other guests from becoming unwell if the pathogen you’ve contracted is contagious.
If you suffer a stomach illness in the Dominican Republic, it’s important to ensure that you stay hydrated, taking care to only consume water that is free of contamination. This can be achieved by only drinking from sealed bottles of water, rather than potentially contaminated tap water.
Which diseases should I be aware of?
Although there are many different types of illness that could ruin your holiday in the Dominican Republic, knowing more about the following gastric illnesses can be beneficial:
How can I avoid getting sick in the Dominican Republic?
By understanding how harmful bacteria and parasites are spread, you’ll be able to better spot the warning signs while you’re abroad. The following are just some of the things that you should consider while you’re on holiday in the Dominican Republic:
- Food standards – If food isn’t at the correct temperature, whether it hasn’t been cooked thoroughly enough, kept in a buffet that isn’t temperature controlled for too long, or if you believe that meals are being unsafely recycled, you could be at risk of food poisoning.
- Hotel cleanliness – Checking whether your room, dining areas and other parts of your hotel are clean can be beneficial. Make sure that you notify your hotelier of any issues that you encounter so that they can rectify the problem.
- Contaminated water – Although some hotels may use purified water to cook and clean with, the tap water in the Dominican Republic is generally considered to be unsafe. Because of this, it’s best to only drink from sealed bottles of water while abroad and to also be wary of ice in drinks.
- Check reviews before you travel – There are many websites that either specialise in guest reviews or provide them in addition to their usual services. Be sure to read up on these reviews to see how well your hotel is doing before you book, as well as checking to see if there are any recurring problems around the time of year that you intend to travel.
Why is the Dominican Republic such a popular holiday destination?
There are plenty of Caribbean destinations that feature great year-round holiday-friendly weather, however, the Dominican Republic features some of the most stunning beaches in the region and it’s not a particularly expensive location to stay in.
It’s important to be aware that although the Dominican Republic is considered to be one of the better performing Caribbean economies, it’s still considered by many to be a developing country. Subsequently, many of the facilities that hotels offer aren’t always up to the same standards that you might expect in the UK.
What to do if you have an accident on holiday in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is going through a lot of financial growth alongside increased interest from tourists. Because of this, you might find that there’s a lot of maintenance going on at your hotel, whether maintenance is being carried out to introduce new facilities or to keep the existing ones at a decent standard.
If you’re involved in an accident due to inadequate safety procedures around work being carried out, you might be entitled to compensation. The same applies if you’re involved in an accident in the Dominican Republic due to inadequate maintenance.
Although receiving medical treatment should be your priority, it’s advisable to record evidence of the cause of your injury soon after it happens. A good hotelier will try to rectify a fault to prevent other guests from being injured, however, if you are faced with the need to claim compensation at a later date, taking a few photos or recording video of the cause before it’s rectified can be beneficial.
Which injuries can you claim for?
Accident claims are usually assessed on the standards of the country that they occur in, and this also applies to the Dominican Republic. If you were injured by any of the following accidents, speak to a member of our travel law team:
- Accidents at Swimming Pools
- Accidents on Airplanes
- Balcony Falls
- Car Crash Accident
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Cooking Burns
Get legal advice before accepting compensation
It’s important to inform your tour operator of an accident or illness that you’ve suffered as soon as possible, but we wouldn’t recommend rushing to accept an offer of compensation. Once you accept compensation from your tour operator, they’ll perceive your complaint as having been resolved, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make a further claim.
By speaking with a travel law specialist first, you can find out if their offer is worth accepting, or if you could be entitled to much more. Our travel law team provides free no-obligation consultations, meaning that you won’t lose the option to accept your tour operator’s offer of compensation while receiving legal advice, but you will be better informed on whether you should accept it.