Travel sickness claims on the run

We have reported in an earlier newsletter about the problems associated with fake travel sickness claims. It is a subject which is often in the news. One couple has been jailed for making a fraudulent claim for £20,000. The travel company, Thomas Cook, took out a private prosecution to pursue the couple after it was discovered from their social media posts that they had not been ill.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has reported that there had been a 500% increase in holiday sickness claims between 2013 to 2016, costing the industry £240 million in 2016 alone.

There has been an increase in the number of claims companies that advertise or operate in resorts offering to make travel sickness claims against insurance companies. If successful, the holiday maker’s legal fees may be passed on to the losing side.

The Government has now announced a measure to try to take control of this increasing problem. If holiday firms and insurers continue to have to pay out for these claims and the legal fees associated with them, the cost for holiday makers will increase.

The Civil Procedure Rules are being amended to bring sickness claims in line with other personal injury claims. The result of this is that the costs that can be recovered will be fixed.

If parties reach a settlement of between £1,000 and £5,000, fixed costs are £950 and 17.5% of the damages. For claims worth up to £10,000, this increases to £1,855 and 10% of the damages over £5,000. Where claims exceed £10,000 in value, lawyers can claim £2,370 and 10% of damages over £10,000.

If the claim is disposed of at trial, costs are fixed at £3,790 plus 27.5% of the damages agreed or awarded and the trial advocacy fee.

The Government has made it clear that it does not want to discourage genuine claimants. For that reason, if you have suffered illness whilst on holiday, taking specialist legal advice might be prudent.

To discuss this or any other personal injury matter, contact us.

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