Thomas Cook To Pay Settlement To Man Who Suffered 'Nightmare' At Cuban Resort

Expert Travel Lawyers Secure Justice After Holiday Illness Left Man Suffering Permanent Symptoms

12.08.2014

A man who suffered ‘horrendous’ illness that ruined his dream Cuban holiday and left him with on-going gastric symptoms has spoken of his relief after international travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell secured him over £17,000 from tour operator Thomas Cook following a trial.

Paul Hughes, from Redditch in Worcestershire, says he has been left too worried to eat out in restaurants after falling ill with severe sickness and diarrhoea at the four-star Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel during a two-week trip with his wife in January 2011.

After being appalled at the hygiene conditions he faced at the hotel, which Iberostar describes as ‘top luxury’ on its website, Paul instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in a battle for justice against Thomas Cook, who the trip was booked through.

The legal team investigated his reports of experiencing:
• Undercooked food being served;
• Some of the public areas in the hotel being in a dirty condition;
• On one occasion witnessing a chef leaving the toilet without washing his hands.

The tour operator admitted liability for Paul’s illness shortly after the issuing of proceedings. But Irwin Mitchell had to proceed to a Trial on the level of compensation to be paid after Thomas Cook refused to agree a settlement which reflected the severity of Paul’s condition.

This culminated in a Trial at the County Court in Birmingham on the 27 June 2014 where a Judge agreed that the tour operator must pay Paul compensation of over £17,000. 

Clare Comiskey, an international travel law expert at Irwin Mitchel’s Birmingham office, said: “Paul went through a horrific experience with severe illness and he has been left upset by the illness he suffered on what was meant to be a relaxing holiday.

“Gastric illness can be very debilitating and as Paul’s case shows, can result in serious, long-term consequences.

“Tour operators have a responsibility to ensure that the hotels they send their customers to are safe and comply with health and safety regulations, which are in place to protect guests.

“It is disappointing that we had to issue court proceedings and then take Paul’s case all the way to trial in order to secure justice for him. This is particularly unfortunate given the ordeal he has already been through, but we hope that the settlement draws a line under this chapter of his life and allows him to begin to move forward.”

Paul added: “Upon falling ill I suffered severe sickness and diarrhoea and extremely painful stomach cramps, it was horrendous.

“Three months after we came home, my symptoms still hadn’t gone so I saw my GP who provided me with advice as to how to deal with my symptoms. My bowel habits still haven’t returned to normal and it feels like I’ve been left with a permanent reminder of the awful trip. It has been very hard to get used to this.

“I used to eat out a lot with my family but tend not to anymore as I’m too worried about suffering anything similar to what I had to go through in Cuba.

“Nothing can turn back the clock but I am relieved the legal battle is now over. I just hope that my case acts as a reminder to those in the travel industry about the importance of following good hygiene practices so no one else has to go through a similar ordeal.”


Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to illness abroad claims