Thomas Cook wins in travel sickness case

By | Category: Travel news

As perhaps the strongest warning to the thousands of Britons who are claiming redress for travel sickness whilst on holiday, Thomas Cook have won a court decision where the judge has levied costs on the couple making the false claim.

In a court in Liverpool, Thomas Cook said that Julie Lavelle and her partner Michael McIntyre had sought compensation after stating they suffered gastroenteritis on the third day of a two-week holiday in 2013. The sickness, they said, was contracted at the Parque Cristobal Hotel at Playa del Ingles on Gran Canaria.

In this case, the illness was not reported at the time to the hotel, the tour operator rep or the company. Nor did they mention it on a customer satisfaction form that they completed at the time of the holiday in 2013.

The claim was for £10,000 which far exceeded the cost of the holiday and is a very round figure rather than a precise one as might be expected. They couple claimed that they used standard over the counter medicines to fight the sickness. If they were ill why wait three years to claim? Why not immediately on returning home?

In dismissing the court action, the judge accused them of “fundamental dishonesty.” He ordered the couple to pay costs of £3,744 by August the 7th.  That he awarded costs is very unusual and is due to a legal change which allows it in cases of fundamental dishonesty.

Just about Travel wonders whether this couple travelled with ther holiday companies over the years and have they filed suits against them too.

According to Simon Calder in The Independent yesterday, some 3,500 cases alleging travel illness and claiming compensation have dropped in recent days. It appears that the ABTA campaign, government comments and tour operators and hotels being more willing to fight claims rather than assess the economic consequences and settle where the claim is cheaper than the legal costs have all played a part in reducing claims.

But if 3,500 have been dropped, how many claims have been filed in total? It must run into four figures and if these claims had been paid, out travel insurance costs would have increased substantially as insurance companies would have reassessed the risks.

There is still the case to be heard of a couple who are being sued for a substantial sum by a hotel which, if the hotel wins, may deter even more for fraudulent claims. In this current case will the Parque Cristobal take the couple to court for redress?

Nobody wishes to deter legitimate claimants. But those seeking an easy payout have been given a serious warning that the travel industry on behalf of itself and most holidaymakers won’t tolerate false claims and will fight any it thinks are spurious.


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