Legal battle over for Kent holidaymakers in Mexican holiday illness ordeal

Holiday from hell compensation


A Kent family caught in a holidays from hell scenario after their hotel near Cancun, Mexico was hit by a massive outbreak of gastric illness have reached the end of their two-year legal battle for compensation.

The Dance family from Hythe have been awarded approximately £7,500 damages after national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, successfully brought a group legal action against UK tour operator, My Travel.

A total of 127 holidaymakers staying at the Viva Azteca Hotel in the summer of 2003 were affected by the outbreak, the majority of which were struck down with the illness after guests reported a series of health and hygiene problems. Food in the self- service restaurant was not covered over and was often undercooked. Animals including lizards, cats, flies and birds were seen in the eating area and crockery & cutlery was frequently dirty.

Swimming pool hygiene complaint

Guests also reported that the swimming pool was dirty and had litter floating in it. Despite voicing their concerns many holidaymakers say the tour representatives were unhelpful in dealing with complaints. At one point so many people were taken ill that the hotel was barely able to cope with the situation and guests described a scene of complete chaos.

Mrs Dance, of Hythe said "All of my family became ill within the first couple of days of arriving. From the outside the hotel looked lovely, but we could not have been more wrong. I spent the first week of my holiday seriously ill, it completely ruined what should have been a dream family holiday and turned into the holiday from hell. At one point I was so ill, I passed out. I'm delighted we have finally received our compensation after a long struggle, but as a family we were deeply distressed to have gone through such an ordeal whilst we were on holiday."

Suki Chhokar, a Partner with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who specialises in legal cases involving overseas accidents and illness, said: "Most of those taken ill complained of vomiting, diarrhoea and severe stomach cramps and although many victims are now fully recovered, around ten of our clients were so badly affected that, according to medical experts, they will never make a full recovery.

"The majority of our clients have now agreed settlements with My Travel, although there are some cases where it has not been possible to agree the level of compensation to be paid. We will be issuing proceedings shortly and hope that an agreement will be reached with My Travel in these cases in the not too distant future."

Mr Chhokar continued: "The outbreak of illness has been attributed to poor hygiene practices in place at the Hotel Viva Azteca during the summer of 2003. With the correct health and hygiene procedures, this situation could so easily have been avoided. It is regrettable that we continue to be contacted by hundreds of people every year who have serious complaints relating to health and hygiene issues at hotels throughout the world and who have become ill through no fault of their own."

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