Food Poisoning in a Hotel

I became seriously ill after eating a meal in a hotel and it totally ruined my holiday, will I be able to make a claim for food poisoning in a hotel?

You should be entitled to make a claim for food poisoning in a hotel in Ireland, although claiming damages can be complicated as it must be established and proven that you suffered a gastrointestinal infection from the food in the hotel, and not from a meal consumed elsewhere.

This means that you will need to obtain proof of food poisoning in order to claim compensation for hotel food poisoning against the hotel’s public liability insurance policy. This must come from the notes taken from a doctor when you sought medical treatment for your illness. You cannot claim for food poisoning in a hotel for suspected food poisoning unless your illness is diagnosed by a doctor and the illness can be linked to the food consumed in the hotel.

A doctor should have arranged tests to confirm the nature of your illness and, if food poisoning has been confirmed, you should have been informed of the bacteria responsible for your illness. When the cause of an illness is identified it is usually more straightforward to link the illness to the meal you purchased.

You must also supply proof that you ate in the hotel, which can come from a receipt from your meal or an itemised hotel bill or credit card statement. You should also have made a complaint to the hotel about the illness, ideally by making a report of the illness in the hotel’s accident book (or equivalent if you were abroad at the time).

Proof that the hotel was responsible for your illness and the kitchen staff had been negligent can be harder to obtain. It is easiest to obtain proof of a gastrointestinal illness from hotel food by arranging for the hotel kitchens to be inspected, and food samples analysing for the presence of harmful bacteria.

To do this you will need to report the food poisoning to the appropriate authorities so an inspection of the hotel premises can be made by government health inspectors. If you were in Ireland, the incident must be reported to the Environmental Health Officer of the local health office of the HSE.

You will most likely be required to meet with the Environmental Health Officer to make an official complaint of a gastrointestinal illness from hotel food and to arrange for an inspection to be conducted of the hotel kitchens. Food samples will need to be taken to confirm the presence of contaminated food and, once the analysis has been completed, you will be notified directly about the findings.

Injury claims for food poisoning from a hotel while abroad may have to be made in the country you were in at the time, and will be subject to that country’s laws governing personal injury claims. However, if you were staying in a hotel paid for as part of a package holiday book in Ireland, it should be possible to make injury claims for food poisoning from a hotel, as package holidays are covered under Irish legislation.

The best course of action to take after you have received medical treatment is to speak with a personal injury solicitor about making a claim. You will be advised if it is possible to claim compensation for hotel food poisoning in Ireland, the legal processes involved will be explained and you will find out the level of damages which you should be able to recover.