There’s never a good time for accidents and illness to happen, but they can seem so much worse if they happen when you’re abroad. Instead of relaxing and enjoying your well-earned holiday, you can find yourself in a bureaucratic as well as a medical nightmare, right at a time when you’re least able to deal with it.
From outbreaks of the norovirus on cruise ships to food poisoning in hotels, you could be forgiven for thinking that all holidays abroad are fraught with danger. Of course, it is only the high profile cases which make the news, and it’s important to remember that most holidays go perfectly smoothly. Nevertheless, a significant number of holidaymakers report problems every single year, even if they’re not dramatic enough to hit the headlines. It’s also worth remembering that you don’t have to go abroad to have problems – almost 200 guests and staff were struck down by the norovirus stomach bug at a Butlins holiday camp in West Sussex in June 2011.
Most holiday illnesses are a result of poor hygiene in the resorts. You therefore need to be aware of the risks and protect yourself by paying attention to basic hygiene in hotels and restaurants. If you are unlucky enough to fall ill, you must seek medical attention immediately. Although it can be tempting to “tough it out”, especially if the local health services seem difficult to deal with, you need to establish a link between your illness and the resort as quickly as possible. This is very difficult to do if you wait until you return home before raising the issue. Likewise, you need to get contact details for anybody else who is affected by the same illness. This will help to strengthen your compensation claim.
If you do need to make a compensation claim, it is important to seek legal advice from specialist personal injury solicitors before you accept an offer from the holiday company. Tour operators are naturally reluctant to admit liability, and will often try to minimise their loss by offering you a small sum of money or even a discount for your future holidays. This is rarely adequate as compensation, so always talk to a specialist injury claim solicitor to make sure that your claim is properly settled.