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Holiday Accidents & Illness Claims

Holiday Food Poisoning Claims

Food poisoning is one of the most common illnesses to affect people who are on holiday abroad. If you've caught food poisoning because of negligence on the part of a hotel, restaurant or tour operator, our lawyers could help you claim compensation.

Anyone serving food, wherever they are in the world, has a responsibility to ensure they're following health and safety procedures properly. Tour operators also have a responsibility to ensure that the hotels, cruise ships and other venues they use are following food safety best practice. If they've failed to do this, the tour operator could be held liable for your illness.

Food poisoning is a common collective name for a number of different conditions, mostly with similar symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting. These conditions not only ruin a holiday, but can have long term health effects too. Our lawyers have a great deal of experience making holiday food poisoning claims that involve:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Norovirus 
  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella
  • E-coli
  • Shigella
  • Listeria
  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS)

Claiming for something that happened abroad can be a daunting prospect, and it helps to have the experts on your side. When you make a claim with us, we handle every aspect of your case so you don't have to worry about language barriers or overseas regulations.

Most of the international food poisoning claims we handle are made in England & Wales. But in some cases it may be beneficial to make your claim abroad. We can advise you on this in a free initial consultation about making a claim.

Compensation claims in England & Wales are normally funded through a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there's nothing to pay upfront, and that you won’t have to pay any legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful*.

Call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.

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Holiday Food Poisoning Claims - More Information
    • What Happens When I Make A Claim?
    • To make a compensation claim for an accident or illness abroad, the first thing you need to do is get in touch with us for a free initial consultation. We'll discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident or illness, advise you on whether or not we think you can claim, and whether you could benefit from a No Win No Fee arrangement.

      If you choose to go ahead, your claim will usually go through the following four stages:

      1. Investigation. We'll establish who's responsible for your accident or illness, and arrange for a medical examination to find out the full extent of your condition.
      2. Rehabilitation. If you have any medical care or support needs, we'll help you to access the necessary treatment and advice that you are entitled to.
      3. Compensation. We'll work out how much compensation you should get based on the severity of your injuries and your pain and suffering, any medical expenses you've had, and your ability to get back to work. We'll put this amount to those responsible, and they can either accept blame or contest the claim.
      4. Conclusion. If your opponent accepts blame, you'll be awarded compensation. If not, the case will be settled in court – although this is rare. If you do have to go to court, we'll be there support you every step of the way. If we agreed to handle your claim under a No Win No Fee arrangement, then you won't have to pay anything if you were unsuccessful.

      If you have any questions about the claims process, please contact us today on 0800 056 4110 and we'll be happy to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.

    • How Much Compensation Can I Expect?
    • How much compensation you receive after an accident or illness abroad will depend on a number of factors related to your injury or illness, its circumstances, and the support and rehabilitation you need.

      The amount of compensation you could claim is based on:

      • Your condition, and its severity
      • Psychological trauma experienced
      • Current and future loss of earnings if you've had to stop working in the short or long-term
      • Medical expenses you've had to or will have to pay both abroad and in the UK, as well as travel expenses to any appointments
      • Your care and support needs – both now and in the future
      • Modifications to your home
      • Mobility aids
      • The amount you had spent on your holiday or travel abroad, and the loss of enjoyment you've experienced
      • Your pain and suffering
      • Other financial loss or expense due to your injury

      For more information, call us on 0800 056 4110 and we'll be happy to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.

    • Can I Make A No Win No Fee Claim?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case, we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household, travel or car insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

      If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. You'll only have to pay anything if your claim is successful – even then your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement.

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • In the UK, you usually need to make a compensation claim within three years of your accident or illness.

      In fatal cases, the family of the deceased has three years to make a claim, starting from either the date your loved one died, or the date you received the post-mortem results.

      However, these time limits vary a great deal from country to country and are much shorter in some countries, so when an accident or illness has taken place abroad, it's vital that you contact us as soon as possible. We are experts in international law, and have a worldwide network of partner law firms that we work with, so we'll be able to advise you on specific time limits. Contact us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation on your case, and we'll be happy to help.

I am relieved that our legal battle is finally over. Our holiday was a nightmare and we were so disappointed. We’re glad Irwin Mitchell has managed to achieve a successful outcome for us”

David, client

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Claim Compensation For Food Poisoning On Holiday?

Anyone providing food to the public – be that hotels, restaurants, cruise ships or shops - should ensure health and safety procedures around food hygiene are followed. If you have become ill with food poisoning because of a failure to do this, you may be able to claim compensation from the venue that served you.

However, if you were on a package holiday you may be able to claim compensation from the tour operator, as they have a responsibility to ensure that the hotels and other venues they use are safe for holidaymakers.

Food poisoning can spread quickly and, if someone has food poisoning, there should be procedures in place to make sure it doesn't spread to others:

  • Reporting and recording all incidents
  • Minimising the movement of people who have food poisoning
  • Warning other guests or passengers of the risk
  • Ensuring extra cleaning and sanitation is done to eliminate contamination

If you've experienced food poisoning because of another party's failure to put these measures in place, you may be able to claim.

Food poisoning is a particular risk on cruise ships, with Norovirus often dubbed "the cruise ship virus". There are well-established procedures to prevent and minimise the spread of an illness on board cruise ships, so you may be able to claim compensation for food poisoning caused on a cruise if:

  • You consumed contaminated food or drink on board
  • You were not properly warned of the risk of illness before you boarded
  • There was a failure to take reasonable steps to contain a known illness outbreak

There can be different rules for claiming compensation for illnesses caused on cruise ships – find out more about cruise ship illnesses.

If you're not sure whether you'll be able to make a claim, contact us on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation on your case. There's no obligation to continue, we'll simply discuss your options

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Are The Rules Different In Different Countries?

The time limits for making a food poisoning claim vary around the world. With this in mind, it's really important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, so you don't miss your chance to make a claim.

It may be possible to make your claim through the UK courts, where time limits of three years from the date of illness apply (or two years, in the case of cruise illnesses caused at sea), but we'll need to know a bit more about your circumstances before we can work out the best place to make your claim.

We have partnerships with firms across the world, so don't let location or language barriers put you off making a claim for compensation that you're entitled to.

If you have any questions about the laws in a specific country, or about the claims process, call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation on your case.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell For A Holiday Food Poisoning Claim?

Making a compensation claim for something that happened abroad – like food poisoning on holiday – can be a daunting prospect. With so many different rules and regulations, not to mention the potential of a language barrier, some people can be put off pursuing a claim, even though they're entitled to do so.

We believe that no one should be put off claiming compensation that they deserve, and we aim to make the whole process as simple as possible for you, wherever in the world you need to make a claim. We work with an international network of partner law firms who will attend any case hearings that take place overseas and navigate any local laws, but we'll be your only point of contact, making things easier for you.

Food poisoning outbreaks can often affect a large number of people, and we're experts in helping groups make claims. In situations like this, tour operators may offer a settlement early on, before a claim is made, and we have a proven track record of ultimately settling cases for more than is offered.

Our team of international personal injury lawyers is the largest in the UK, and our industry-leading lawyers have secured over £100 million in settlements for accidents and illnesses abroad. In the past, we've worked on a number of high-profile cases, including:

  • The Alcudia Pins Hotel, Majorca. We helped more than 1,900 holidaymakers claim over £3 million after an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, which for some resulted in long-term symptoms including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) between June and September 2003.
  • Holiday Village, Turkey. Over the last decade we have helped hundreds of holidaymakers to claim compensation after falling ill at the Holiday Village Turkey, including 595 clients who were taken ill in 2009 and between them claimed £1.7 million.
  • The Beach Club Hotel, Torremolinos. In one of the largest cases of its kind, we secured over £2.5 million in compensation for almost 1,000 holidaymakers whose holidays were ruined by illness, despite tour operators being aware of poor standards at the hotel.

If you have any questions about the claims process, or what we can do to help, contact us on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation on your case.

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Our International Expertise


Our lawyers are recognised as leaders in the field of international personal injury claims, and we bring this expertise to your claim. Members of our team regularly lecture internationally, are consulted on law reform issues, and hold key positions in several leading international organisations, including:

  • The Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Travel and Tourism Lawyers Association
  • The American Association for Justice

We also have a long history of campaigning for improvements in health and safety. Our aim is always to improve the quality of life and levels of compensation for those who have suffered illness or been involved in an accident on holiday.

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