ABTA is calling for changes to the law relating to holiday sickness compensation in a bid to stop a rise in (so called) fraudulent claims.
It believes overseas holiday claims up to £25,000 should be brought under the same fixed recoverable legal costs regime that applies to other personal injury claims. (Currently only RTA claims costs are fixed if a set pattern s followed)
It has demanded the changes in its submission to the Lord Justice Jackson Review Panel, which is currently considering further reforms to the UK’s civil justice regime.
ABTA says the change would close an existing loophole that has allowed claims for overseas holiday sickness to fall outside of the existing fixed costs regime, even though package holiday consumers have a clear line of legal redress against a UK-based travel company.
“ABTA recognises that people do occasionally get sick on their holiday. Where this is the result of a breakdown in the hygiene procedures of a hotel, consumers must retain the right to seek redress from their travel provider,” said Alan Wardle, ABTA director of public affairs.
“However, the recent increase in claims for holiday sickness far exceeds recorded incidents of illness in resort, and it is apparent to us that the unscrupulous activities of some claims management companies is playing a part in driving this increase. (No mention of consumers now being much more aware that they can actually make a claim for sickness abroad)
“We are therefore asking the Government to close the existing loophole, which allows sky-high legal costs simply because an incident may have occurred overseas. Introducing limits for the amounts that these lawyers can recover, as is already the case for other sectors, will not restrict access to justice but could help to discourage illegitimate claims.” (How is fixing solicitors costs to reduce illegitimate claims?)
ABTA and overseas hoteliers, particularly in Spain, say there has been a sharp rise in the number of false claims by British holidaymakers and blamed aggressive sales tactics by claims management companies. (Someclaims management firms like www.HolidaySicknessClaims.co.uk don’t use any outbound calling techniques, and all client complaints are inbound through their website and social media pages, hardly aggressive sales tactics)
Using online marketing campaigns and social media, they say these companies specifically target all-inclusive package holidaymakers who have travelled within the past three years, telling them they can make claims for gastric illness even when they have not sought medical help in resort or reported their illness to the UK tour operator during their holiday. (People have not been aware they could previously claim, and many state they tried to report the sickness but hotels and Tour Operators just didn’t have procedures in place to record such illness and sickness, or to help those affected, which could ultimately help the whole process. Tour Operators and Hotels now have to answer under the current law.)
ABTA’s response to the review panel was submitted on Monday following feedback, including case studies, from its members. The deadline for responses has been extended to the January 30.
The association has also recently responded to a separate Government consultation welcoming proposals to increase the Small Claims Track limit for personal injury claims from the current level of £1,000 to £5,000.
(The increase has a far wider implication for the whole UK legal system and this should not be allowed to be implemented. The UK legal system is one of the best in the world and consumers rights are being affected by solicitors high legal fees and big business trying to dictate and implement restrictive laws to limit legitimate claims).
It says this will also help to combat the rise in false claims.
(Doesn’t say how it will ‘combat’ the rise in claims. What we would like to hear is that more procedures are being put in place within hotels and resorts, where health and safety standards are far more rigorously checked, and independent medical support is offered and readily available. Some of the stories we have heard from our clients along with a multitude of evidence shows a total lack of procedures and absolute health risks that if they happened in the UK, the business would be closed down.)
If you’ve been sick on holiday in the last 3 years, don’t let these bad press stories put you off making a legitimate claim.
Contact Holiday Sickness Claims on Freephone 0800-8-654321 or click one one the links below:
Holiday Sickness Claims is a trading style of Claims Legal.
Claims Legal are regulated by the claims management regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities.
Holiday Sickness Claims is a trading style of Claims Legal Ltd. UK Company 07377456
Registered Office: 93A Windsor Road Prestwich Manchester M25 0DB. Telephone: 0800-8-654321
Claims Legal Ltd is regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities. CRM25925