Campylobacter compensation claims

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Howard Willis

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee campylobacter poisoning claim

Campylobacter jejuni bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, with an estimated 280,000 cases per year (the majority being unreported). It is also a common cause of food poisoning on holiday

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) 4 out of 5 cases are caused by contaminated poultry. The bacteria may also be present in untreated water and unpasteurised (raw) milk.

The bacteria are sensitive to heat and destroyed by cooking temperatures over 70°C, so correct handling of food should minimise the risk of food poisoning through Campylobacter. If food is undercooked bacteria may survive and multiply.

Cross contamination, where juices from raw poultry are transferred to food which is not subsequently cooked, is another possible cause of food poisoning.

Fruit and salads that have been prepared on the same surface, or rinsed in water that has been in contact with raw poultry may carry the bacteria. This is why it is not recommended that raw chicken is rinsed under the tap - doing so may disperse juices over a wide area.

Our network of solicitors do not currently have the capacity to take on holiday-related injury and sickness claims outside the UK. It is recommended that you contact a personal injury specialist solicitor to discuss your options as soon as possible, as some jurisdictions have limitation dates of less than the three year limit that is standard in the UK.

Symptoms of Campylobacter poisoning

Unlike some forms of food poisoning, Campylobacter poisoning does not show immediate symptoms. The incubation period (between eating contaminated food and the start of the symptoms) is generally between 2 and 5 days, but may be as long as 10 days.

The most common symptom is diarrhoea, which can be mild to severe, and may be bloody. This may be accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting, headache and muscle pain. Abdominal cramps are likely.

Although symptoms usually improve within a week, further complications may occur in some cases.

Possible long-term consequences include:

Guillan-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which causes acute generalised paralysis when antibodies attack the nerve cells. Approximately one in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter cases results in GBS, usually several weeks after the infection.

Reactive Arthritis - symptoms include inflammation of the joints, eyes, or reproductive or urinary organs and appear on average after about 18 days.

Campylobacter may also cause appendicitis or infections in specific parts of the body, including the abdominal cavity, the heart, the central nervous system, the gall bladder, the urinary tract, or the blood stream.

The importance of a medical examination

If you decide to proceed with a claim, your solicitor will recommend an appointment with a medical practitioner to establish the extent of your illness including longer-term consequences.

This medical evidence is key to ensuring the maximum appropriate level of compensation is claimed.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis follows laboratory testing of stool samples and an assessment of your symptoms.

Effective antibiotics may help treat a Campylobacter infection, but are not always prescribed. The infection will usually resolve itself within a week. Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Although person-to-person spread is uncommon and easily prevented by strict attention to hygiene, food handlers should not return to work until the infection has passed.

Campylobacter poisoning on holiday

Campylobacter food poisoning has been a frequent cause of travellers diarrhoea in recent years, particularly for holidaymakers on all-inclusive trips to more exotic destinations such as Cuba, Mexico, Egypt and the Maldives.

Improper food handling and display

All-inclusive buffets may be prone to contamination by visiting wild birds who carry bacteria on their feet and beaks - as well as undercooked food, may lead to several people becoming infected.

Campylobacter claims against a package holiday operator

Approaching the tour operator for compensation may not be successful as a Claimant may find it difficult to prove the source of the infection was from the hotel or resort, especially since symptoms are not immediate.

Anyone experiencing Campylobacter poisoning symptoms during their holiday should seek medical treatment and report the matter to the Holiday Representative.

Seeking medical treatment may not only help you to enjoy the remainder of the holiday once the worst symptoms have passed, but may also prevent any long-term complications. Treatment will also help in any future claims for compensation.

Medical evidence and records of communication with holiday reps will make a claim against the tour operator much more likely to succeed.

Claims against UK-based package holiday companies can usually be made in a Court on your return to the UK.

Guaranteed No Win No Fee

Typically a no win no fee contract (technically called a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between the claimant and a qualified lawyer.

A CFA is the terms under which the solicitor acts for their client.

It documents what the lawyers will actually do as well as how they is paid if your legal case is won.

If you use a Quittance Personal Injury solicitor for your campylobacter claim there are no sneaky hidden fees , nothing to pay up-front and the complete peace of mind that you will never be out of pocket.

Deciding whether to start a claim for Campylobacter poisoning

If you need more information first, a Compensation Claim Report (CCR) can help.

Your free Compensation Claim Report (CCR) will consider an in-depth look at possible compensation, the length of time the claim could take, and the chance of achieving a successful outcome.

You can contact Quittance's solicitors on 0800 612 7456 when you are ready to start your compensation claim, or arrange a call back at a more convenient time.