It has been well documented how, in recent years, there has been an incredible increase in the number of British tourists making holiday sickness claims. With allegation figures between 2013 and 2016 increasing by 500%, that’s over 100 cases per day!
However, it has also been well documented how a large proportion of these claims have been fraudulent, in that the claimants have lied about their symptoms and illness, either off their own back, or when encouraged by some claims management firms. Many of these are now under investigation as a result of this pressure to fraudulently claim for Holiday Sickness.
Because of this, the reputation of British holiday makers has been tarnished, and many popular tourist destinations are now less willing to accept the custom of travellers from the UK.
Can the industry turn itself around?
Since 2013 though, this industry has become considerably stricter. Previously, a simple photo of the anti-diarrhoea drug Imodium was sufficient evidence to file a claim. It became much easier for travel companies to settle these claims outside of court, as opposed to fighting these cases, only to be faced with expensive court bills at the end of the case.
Developments this year led to the Ministry of Justice introducing a law in April, capping the amount of money firms can acquire for Holiday Sickness claims. This is aimed at reducing the number claims management companies out there who are encouraging their clients to falsely claim they were ill on their holiday.
Many travel companies have even taken matters into their own hands by employing private investigators to ensure they do not pay out to these fraudsters. You are likely to have heard about a couple called Deborah Briton and Paul Roberts who became the first people to be convicted and sent to prison for making false claims about their Holiday Sickness in an effort to obtain compensation from their travel provider, Thomas Cook.
Today, we check social media accounts of all our Holiday Compensation clients to ensure they are not lying to us about their illnesses, injury or complaint. It is also not uncommon for travel companies to check social media accounts of other holiday makers at the same resort, to identify if they could have potentially lied about an illness claim. If we have any doubts, we will investigate and review your file to ensure we do not take on fraudulent claims.
Our Holiday Sickness expert said, “We require a substantial amount of evidence to proceed with a claim, this will be thoroughly examined, along with a client’s social media to establish if there could be any doubts. We would then hire medical examiners to ensure that the accounts of our clients are factual. This gives us faith that our clients have genuinely been victims of holiday sickness, but also gives our clients faith that they are dealing with a company who has their best interests at heart and will fight for the compensation they truly deserve.”
Holiday Sickness claims in the future
Since the courts have become stricter on these types of claims, along with the help of genuine claims management firms no longer taking on potentially fraudulent clients, the industry is beginning to emerge from the murky waters it was once part of. It is now beginning to become a much fairer industry in which only those with genuine illness are eligible to claim compensation. With this, it is also encouraging travel companies to ensure their hygiene standards are up to par with that of the UK. Both factors mean the number of fraudulent claims filed each day is decreasing, but there is still a long way to go.