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Holiday illness claims see “significant” increase

2nd Nov 2016

The argument regarding holiday illness compensation is threatening to become the new hot topic in civil claims.

Travel agents have called for a crackdown after seeing rising levels of claims from holidaymakers who have become ill on holiday.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) says it has seen a “significant” increase in the number of gastric illness claims being made by holidaymakers on their return.

The ABTA has blamed “aggressive sales practices of some claims management companies” for this increase in claims, a growing number of which are unsubstantiated.

The biggest consumer firms in England and Wales now have whole departments dedicated to running these claims.

North-west firm Bott & Co Solicitors, which has pioneered compensation claims for late flights, says on its website that average compensation for mild food poisoning ranges from £700 to £3,000. Claimants could receive anything from £7,000 to £40,000 if the food poisoning is severe.

Andrew Peters, the firm’s holiday illness department legal manager, said the firm welcomed attempts to stop unmeritorious claims, but noted that the rising number of cases was more to do with people being increasingly aware of their rights.

“These are not trivial cases,” he told the Law Society Gazette. “These claims are entirely avoidable. I would like to see anyone who seeks to trivialise them stay in a hot country and suffer food poisoning – let’s see how trivial they feel it is after that.”

To those seeking to restrict claims, Peters said that the sector is already heavily regulated. “Anybody pursuing a claim has to be prepared to stand up in the witness box and show they are honest.”

ABTA is advising holidaymakers who return to the UK and want to pursue a claim to use its own dispute resolution service.