UK holidaymakers returning from abroad are being warned about the consequences of making a false claim for sickness. In the past year, many thousands have made claims despite reported sickness levels in resorts remaining stable. Churchers managing partner, Ian Robinson, expresses concern at the increase in the number of claims against tour operators.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has included a warning in its advice checklist for people travelling to foreign countries – the first time the government has made such a warning. This comes after reports of holidaymakers being encouraged by claims management companies (CMCs) to submit a claim for personal injury if they have gastric illness. The warning is a further sign of rising tensions in government about the claims, as CMC’s come under closer scrutiny from authorities and regulators.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has also warned that claims firms are wrong in telling the public there is no risk in seeking compensation, despite not being unwell. Making a false claim is a criminal offence and, if a false claim is made, there is a risk of a prison sentence in either the UK or the country where the claim originated.
Ian Robinson said: ‘You should only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness. If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or abroad.’
The Ministry of Justice’s Claims Management Regulator, which today confirmed meeting with ABTA earlier this year to ‘better understand the challenges’ in relation to this issue, stated:
“We are investigating the conduct of regulated CMCs and unauthorised entities in relation to a surge in holiday sickness claims. This includes the regulatory action needed to deal quickly and effectively with any misconduct by either regulated CMCs, lawyers, or those who are simply operating completely illegally.”
The regulator has also discussed the claims increase with tour operators, hotel representatives and the police, and is working to ‘share intelligence’.
If you are considering whether to make a claim following illness suffered whilst on holiday, contact Claire Bond who is one of our specialist team dealing with personal injury claims on 02392 820747.