Tuesday, May 23, 2017
   
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Change the Law on Holiday Sickness Claims, Says ABTA

ABTA is calling on the Government to change the law to make holiday sickness claims less attractive to claims management companies and law firms.

This comes after The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Portugal with an inclusion relating to personal injury claims. This follows a similar update to the travel advice for Spain last month.

Aggregated data from ABTA Members has shown a dramatic rise in the number of gastric illness claims made since 2013, while sickness levels reported in resort have remained stable.

According to ABTA, some unscrupulous claims management company touts, who profit from holiday sickness claims, appear to be encouraging holidaymakers to put in dishonest or exaggerated claims for thousands of pounds.

ABTA says consumers should be very wary of any company that approaches them and encourages them to make a dishonest or exaggerated claim. It is illegal to make a fraudulent claim and travel companies are getting increasingly savvy about spotting the telltale signs of exaggerated or dishonest claims. If found out, customers could face prosecution.

These bogus claims are costing tour operators and hotels substantial amounts of money and if this practice continues it may well start to have an impact on holiday prices. It is already damaging the reputation of UK holidaymakers overseas.

ABTA is calling on the Government to change the law to make holiday sickness claims less attractive to claims management companies and law firms. At the moment there is no limit on the legal fees that lawyers can charge for overseas personal injury claims for up to £25,000. ABTA is calling for overseas claims to be brought into line with UK personal injury claims where there is a cap on legal fees. This would continue to give legitimate claimants access to justice but make the overseas holiday market sector considerably less attractive to legal and claims firms.

If you genuinely become ill while on holiday, ABTA has the following tips for what you should do:

  • Inform your resort rep, hotel owner or tour operator
  • Visit the doctor and speak to your resort rep, hotel owner or tour operator about it
  • If you are not satisfied with the outcome of either of the above you can pursue the issue through a small claims court or through ABTA's arbitration scheme
  • You do not need to use claim management companies to make a claim, and if you do use them, they will typically take a large cut of whatever you are offered
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