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£1,400 Compensation for Salmonella on Holiday

We helped a man secure £1,400 for Salmonella on Holiday

Our client paid nearly £1,800 for a holiday at the RIU Touareg Hotel in Boa Vista, Cape Verde for a winter sunshine break with his girlfriend.

Before booking the all-inclusive holiday, they went on TripAdvisor to read guests’ reviews and saw largely positive comments about the hotel. They arrived happy, relaxed and in good spirits, and enjoyed most of their holiday as planned.

But on the final day, our client woke up feeling ill, suffering with painful stomach cramps and regularly needing to use the toilet. Since it was the last day, he chose not to report his illness to the holiday rep, on the assumption that he probably had a 24-hour bug that would clear up once he got back to the UK.

However, he started suffering with severe diarrhoea and nausea when he arrived at the airport. He chose not to eat anything on the flight, but his symptoms continued to deteriorate on his journey home.

The severe diarrhoea carried on over the weekend, and he was alarmed when he started noticing blood in his stools. He went to see his GP who carried out a stool sample test, which tested positive for a Salmonella infection (salmonellosis).

He recovered from the infection without taking any medication, but during his illness and recovery time, he ate and drank very little, and when he did eat, he could only face dry, bland foods. Because of this, he lost more than a stone in weight.

He was also unable to return to work due to his Salmonella symptoms, which affected his income as he was self-employed.

How We Helped

Our client had booked the holiday with TUI – and believed they were responsible for his illness. He contacted our Holiday Claims Solicitors for help to claim compensation for Salmonella on Holiday from the tour operator, and Associate Solicitor James Blower took on his case.

James and his team calculated our clients’ financial losses and arranged for a medical assessment of his condition, so we could calculate how much compensation he could be entitled to, and then put this amount to the tour operator.

In presenting the case, James argued that TUI had failed in its duty to provide a safe environment and that the 5-star all-inclusive hotel’s restaurants caused his illness. Our client highlighted a number of shortcomings with food serving areas, including:

  • Tables in the buffet restaurant not always being clean
  • Tables and chairs not being cleaned with antibacterial spray by any member of staff
  • Pre-cooked food being left uncovered and open to the elements, where it quickly cooled down
  • Members of staff bringing hotter food from the kitchen and putting it on top of the remaining colder food
  • Guests using the same serving utensils on different foods, increasing the possibility of cross-contamination
  • The same cooking utensils being used on both raw and cooked chicken, creating another cross-contamination risk
  • Food handlers not using temperature probes on hot food to see if they were cooked correctly
  • Guests touching loaves of bread with their bare hands to slice it, rather than using a cloth to cover them
  • Catering staff not wearing hats, hairnets or gloves
  • Flies crawling over uncovered foods, tables, glasses, crockery and cutlery

Our client also observed that some of the chicken and turkey he ate at the hotel hadn’t been cooked properly and was still pink in the middle when it was served to him. But he thought this could have been the standard of food in Cape Verde and so he made do without complaining.

He only ate and drank in the RIU Touareg Hotel complex prior to his illness, which meant all his meals on holiday were prepared in the hotel’s kitchens. On top of this, he hadn’t been suffering with any illnesses before going on holiday. As a result, he was confident that the hotel food had been the source of his Salmonella infection.

Our client also told us that were wider hygiene issues in the rest of the hotel complex, in particular the swimming pool. For example, he never saw the pool being cleaned or any member of hotel staff adding anything to the water to purify it.

He also observed broken, cracked and missing tiles in and around the swimming pool area, while sunbeds would be collected in the evening without being hosed down.

Our client described the quality and standards in the 5-star RIU Touareg Hotel as “far from satisfactory”, with the food in particular being “inferior”.

James approached the tour operator with the information we had gathered to negotiate for a compensation settlement on our client’s behalf.

The Outcome

Following negotiations with TUI, a compensation settlement of £1,400 was agreed.

This amount of compensation reflected factors including the period of the holiday that was ruined by his illness, the pain and suffering he experienced, and the fact he couldn’t go back to work for some time because of his ongoing Salmonella symptoms.

Public Health England Release Cruise Safety Factsheet

Public Health England Release Cruise Safety Factsheet

Release comes amid concerns over Accidents and Illness on Cruise liners

Public Health England has released helpful guidance in order to limit accidents and illness rates involving travellers planning cruises. The advice serves as a reminder to the hazards that pose risks to UK passengers engaging in cruise travel and the infectious diseases that they may be exposed to.

Accident on holiday solicitor

The key advice offered – which should really be adopted for all travel outside of the UK includes:

  1. Consulting one’s GP, nurse or travel clinic for advice on vaccines well in advance of the cruise.
  2. Travel Insurance should be obtained before travel.
  3. Precautions should be taken to avoid accidents including trips, slips and falls;
  4. Protect your skin from the sun
  5. Adopt sensible hygiene techniques to avoid food poisoning.

The advice explains each element of the key advice in detail although of particular interest to Simpson Millar LLP was the hygiene advice given owing to outbreaks of gastrointestinal infections and the need to take care to avoid accidents.

Paul Stevens, Simpson Millar’s Group Travel Litigation Manager, has been involved in a number of actions against cruise liners involving passengers that have suffered accidents or illness, he comments:

“The advice provided by Public Health England is very useful and should be considered before even booking a cruise. At Simpson Millar we are consulted all year round by people that are injured or suffer illness while on board cruise liners. By following the advice it is possible that consumers can reduce the possibility of illness or injury and have happy and enjoyable cruises.”

However, sounding a cautionary note to all cruise liners Paul warned:

Accident on holiday solicitor

“There is only so much a cruise passenger can reasonably do to ensure their safety. All the hand washing world is not going to stop a passenger from becoming sick if the kitchen staff working in restaurants have not followed appropriate safety techniques – as some of my clients that have suffered food poisoning have found out.”

It is also possible that slip and trip accidents could be prevented by implementing better standards such as the placing of splash screens next to public walkways near swimming pools – and the use of secured handrails and non-slip treads.

Paul concluded, “Fortunately when an accident or illness in not the fault of the passenger, the Athens Convention will allow for a claim to be made against the cruise operator. A number of my clients have brought successful actions against all of the major cruise liners for all kinds of problems such as salmonella food poisoning and hazardous manoeuvring by cruise line captains arising out of a failure to identify smaller boats.”

Simpson Millar LLP’s Holiday Accident and Illness Claims lawyer, Claire Rabbets, also specialises in bringing claims against cruise operators and recently helped consumers sue Fred Olsen Cruises for over £15,000 when one of their passengers fell overboard. Claire advised:

“While the guidance offered by Public Health England is useful to passengers, there should be a greater duty on cruise liners to take care of their passengers to reduce dangers to passenger safety.”

Other successful actions include a claim against TUI Cruises for over £10,000 for salmonella food poisoning and a claim against MSC cruises for £9000 for a fractured hip – in both those cases the claimants were able to make use of the insurance that they took out for the extensive hospital treatment required.

See the complete Public Health fact sheet