A group of Britons struck ill while on holiday in Tunisia has been collectively awarded damages of £38,700 from the tour operator Thomas Cook.
The family and friends from South Wales were enjoying an all-inclusive holiday at the Soviva Resort in Port El Kantaoui when they became ill with food poisoning associated with the Salmonella bacterium.
Although the outcome of the case predictably favoured the holidaymakers, our clients were disappointed by what appeared to be delaying tactics by Thomas Cook's legal team.
Acting on behalf of the claimants, Simon Lomax, a travel law specialist with Simpson Millar LLP, noted that his firm deals annually with hundreds of food-poisoning claims in which Thomas Cook is involved.
"I regularly raise concerns that this tour operator does not do enough to prevent serious breaches of food safety standards at its overseas hotels," Simon said.
"On this occasion Thomas Cook finally compensated our clients in spite of its solicitors initially undervaluing the complaint.
"The conduct of the firm instructed by Thomas Cook unnecessarily prolonged the matter. The delay merely served to increase the family's disappointment."
Simon said the guests of the Soviva Resort were subjected to poor hygiene standards which caused diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever, headaches and irritable bowel.
"With cats and birds wandering freely at large in the restaurants, dirty public toilets and food handers neglecting to implement basic food safety standards, it was no wonder they were all so ill."
Simon added that hotels in Tunisia must face the fact that poor personal hygiene is frequently a cause of food poisoning.
"Faecal contamination on the hands can easily be transferred to mass-produced food or surfaces in contact with such food. Convalescent carriers can also excrete Salmonella in their faeces for up to 12 months after they have recovered from their illness.
"It's therefore vitally important that chefs and food handlers are regularly tested for harmful pathogens."
Often a serious cause of illness, cross-contamination can pass from food to food (eg raw food to cooked food); and surface to food or vice versa (eg a cutting board used for various foodstuffs).
"Chefs should not have been cooking chicken stir-fry and handling raw chicken with the same implements used to serve the dish, as the claimants witnessed at the Soviva Resort," Simon added.
"As the holiday to the Soviva Resort was a regulated package, we were able to call on the protection accorded the family by the 1992 Package Travel Regulations. We made a successful claim and recovered substantial damages."
Confirming that Simpson Millar had "explained everything very clearly", a delighted client praised our service levels as "very good".
Simon Lomax concluded that Thomas Cook customers looking to make a compensation claim following severe symptoms of food poisoning are welcome to contact Simpson Millar for advice.
"Call us today. We'll be delighted to advise you and let you know if your circumstances warrant a claim for compensation."
Get in touch for a chat about how we can help you by filling in our quick, no obligation enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on 0808 145 1353.