ABTA has been working closely with its Members to collate data on gastric illness claims and has submitted this to the Ministry of Justice to support its position.
Holiday sickness claims have risen by over 500 per cent since 2013 – with several ABTA Members reporting a rise of more than 700 per cent – and claims have continued to rise in the first half of 2017. By contrast, reported sickness levels in resort have either remained stable or, in many destinations including Spain, have declined.
ABTA believes the immediate priority for the Government must be to close the loophole in the law which allows unscrupulous companies to profit unduly from false holiday sickness claims. Currently, there is no limit on the legal fees that lawyers can charge for overseas personal injury claims up to £25,000.
ABTA’s submission calls for overseas claims to be brought into line with UK personal injury claims – such as whiplash – where there is a cap on legal fees. By including holiday sickness claims in a “fixed costs regime”, the Government would provide a level playing field between holiday sickness claims and other low-value personal injury claims brought through the courts.
Importantly, this would continue to give legitimate claimants access to justice, but would make the overseas holiday market considerably less attractive to claims management companies by reducing the financial incentive to bring these bogus claims to court.
ABTA says it welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence on this issue which has had a significant effect on Members and the wider travel industry, and we look forward to hearing what the next steps will be in the Government’s crackdown on fraudulent claims.