Ruling ‘Major Milestone’ In IT Worker’s Quest for Justice
A Hampshire father has succeeded in his quest for answers as to how he fell ill on holiday and secured justice after the High Court ruled expert evidence, which concluded that he contracted his illness as a result of staying at a Turkish hotel in the summer of 2014, should be accepted.
Peter Griffiths, 58, from Fleet, became unwell with severe diarrhoea, stomach pain, fever and lethargy, severe dehydration and dangerously high blood pressure after a few days into his stay at the five-star Aqua Fantasy Hotel and Spa in Turkey in August 2014 resulting in the need for hospitalisation. He was on holiday with his wife, 58, and then 12-year-old son.
Following the trip, IT worker Peter instructed specialist international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he fell ill. Six years on, he is still suffering from the after effects of this illness, and he is likely to have permanent effects.
When legal action was launched, tour operator TUI, through which Peter booked his holiday, denied liability.
A trial took place last year, where an expert microbiologist report was presented in support of Peter’s case confirming that the hotel’s health and hygiene standards caused his illness. However, a judge deemed that the report did not go far enough in ruling out potential alternative causes which could have caused the illness. She rejected it without the expert being called to trial to expand on his evidence.
Peter’s legal team sought permission to appeal the decision, arguing that the expert report should not have been rejected on the grounds of insufficiency as there had been no dispute made by TUI against the evidence. Permission was granted and the High Court has today overturned the original ruling, meaning that the microbiology report was in fact sufficient and the judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer, has handed Peter a judgment against TUI. TUI is now liable for Peter’s illness and will pay him compensation.
Expert Opinion“Going on holiday is meant to be an enjoyable time, but Peter’s time away with his family turned out to be anything but enjoyable.
The last six years have been incredibly difficult for Peter. He has had to cope with the ongoing effects of his illness while also striving for answers regarding the concerns he has about how he became ill. TUI have tested Peter’s resolve and pushed him to jump through every legal hurdle possible.
We are pleased to have secured this important judgment for Peter which will bring greater clarity for holidaymakers who wish to pursue legal claims as to what is expected from the medical experts who assist in proving these claims.
This judgment is a major milestone in Peter being able to secure answers to an issue which has had a significant impact upon his life over the last 6 years and we will continue to support him in finalising the legal process.”
Jatinder Paul - Senior Associate Solicitor
Prior to the first bout of illness on 4 August, 2014, Peter said that all of his meals were consumed at the hotel as part of their package.
Peter’s hygiene concerns included food often being left outside and not in fridges, food sometimes being served lukewarm as well as birds and cats frequently eating food left over from guests, as well as flies in the dessert area in the hotel’s buffet restaurant
After three days of illness, Peter was still suffering and spoke to a tour representative about his symptoms, who encouraged him to visit a pharmacy, whilst failing to mention that there was a doctor on-site. He was given anti-diarrhoea tablets and by the end of the following day he felt he was beginning to make a recovery.
However, the diarrhoea returned on 11 August, seven days after it initially began, and on 13 August Peter spoke to a doctor who told him his blood pressure was significantly elevated and he was dehydrated. The doctor then arranged for Peter to go to hospital, where he was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis. He remained in hospital for three days.
Peter said: “We were all really looking forward to going to Turkey, but the holiday was completely ruined. It was the most unwell I have ever been, and I was worried that I wouldn’t even be able to fly home. Thankfully the hospital discharged me in time for our flight, but I had to take a lot of medication including antibiotics.
“I went to see my GP several times after getting back home, and I am still suffering to this day. It is concerning to think that this could affect me for the rest of my life.
“To add insult to injury, my son suffered a nasty injury to his foot whilst using the hotel swimming pool that required immediate hospital treatment and further operations back in the UK and my wife also fell ill from similar gastric symptoms as mine.
“To this day I still have a number of questions and concerns about how and why I became poorly. Thankfully, my medical insurer stepped in to help me with the hospital bills in Turkey otherwise I really don’t know what I would have done. I would rather not be in this position but I felt that I had been left with no other option but to pursue my legal case.
“All I wanted is to be given answers to the questions I have so I can try and put what happened behind me. This judgment means a lot to me and it finally gives me the answers I deserve and be able to move on with my life finally.”
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