Mexican holiday travel claim
A couple from County Durham 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.
Mr and Mrs Rose from Ferryhill, County Durham, have been awarded approximately £7,000 damages after national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, successfully brought a group legal action against UK tour operator, My Travel.
127 holidaymakers staying at the Viva Azteca Hotel in the summer of 2003 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.
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.
Lesley Rose and her husband Alan both became ill during their holiday to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Recalling the holiday, Lesley said: "My husband was the first to come down with the bug out of the pair of us. I remember a lot of people were complaining to the reps in the foyer because various members of their family were poorly, that was when I knew my husband wasn't the only one suffering and there was something seriously wrong. It was supposed to be a dream holiday to celebrate our wedding anniversary but it was completely spoilt."
Travel claims solicitors
Suki Chhokar, a Partner with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who specialises in legal cases involving overseas travel claims 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 and we will be issuing proceedings shortly. We hope that an agreement will soon be reached with My Travel in these cases."
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."
Do you have a related travel claim? If you or someone you know has been involved in a similar incident, visit our illness abroad section.