The peak summer holiday season is approaching and the spurious nature of holiday sickness claims is about to hit home again for tour operators all over Europe. The craze in bogus claims is now so popular that many top resorts are seeing unscrupulous reps touting for business and coaching holidaymakers on how to build a credible claim. As one of the most respected personal injury solicitors in Harrogate, Truth Legal knows exactly what is required to put together a bona fide claim for illness or injury on holiday, and certainly it is with some dismay that we see the current trend in fake claims increasing. We will only ever act for credible, genuine clients.
In the UK, a PPI-style storm is brewing, with companies cold calling people with the flimsy promise of funds being set up to compensate for widespread holiday sickness. This plants the seed, and more and more people are taking it on from there.
Britons held in fake holiday sickness clampdown
We have seen evidence of how a genuine illness or injury claim can have a knock-on effect, and as a successful personal injury solicitors with a presence in York, Manchester and also London, we are aware of the emotional strain of putting a legitimate case together and taking it towards court, quite apart from the obvious ordeal of suffering the illness or injury in the first place. In this business, it was only a matter of time before claims management companies got involved in holiday sickness claims. My advice is always to avoid claims management companies: they serve no purpose. Instead go straight to specialist solicitors. There is no need to use middlemen.
Only last week, two Britons were held by police in Majorca suspected of encouraging tourists to make food poisoning claims. It is believed these were the first detentions of their kind in Spain, a clear indication that the authorities are slowly waking up to the problem and getting wise to it.
The costs of fake holiday sickness claims
It is felt that the increase in bogus claims in this sector is a knock-on effect from a reduction in the legal costs that can be recovered from personal injury claims, such as whiplash. The costs for claims involving injuries or illness sustained abroad are not capped, so such a claim can be far more lucrative. Leading law firms in the UK also believe that the blame for the increase in fake holiday sickness claims partly lies with hotels and travel firms, who are now looking to settle out of court – often unnecessarily – in order to avoid paying out hefty legal fees. It is also believed that social media is a useful tool in the wrong hands, as speculation over certain hotels can spread like wildfire and misinformation can build up, which people are quick to take advantage of.
Foreign Office officials have warned UK holidaymakers to only make legitimate illness or injury claims, and that any fraudulent claims can result in legal proceedings against them. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has reported a 434% increase in gastric illness claims made by Britons since 2013, while Spanish hotel chain CEHAT has reported that 90% of the claims they receive turn out to be bogus, which I think is unlikely to be correct.
Making a holiday sickness claim
Of course, genuine claims follow the same path as Accidents at Work, Road Traffic Accidents or Industrial Disease claims, where you are required to provide evidence to prove your injury or illness was caused by the specific hotel or tour operator you are claiming against. In the case of holiday claims, you should refer to the Package Travel Regulations 1992. You have three years from the point of injury or illness in which to issue court proceedings. So, if you do have a genuine travel or holiday claim and can support this with suitable evidence, as a leading personal injury solicitor we are here to help you – give us a call and we can assess your claim.