Virgin Holidays appeals over hotel liability claim

Virgin Holidays appeals over hotel liability claim

A holidaymaker who walked into a plate glass door in her bikini is claiming compensation in a case which could increase package holiday costs.

Moira Japp, who was injured while staying in a Caribbean hotel, sued Virgin Holidays in 2012.

The operator was forced to pay the 53-year-old £24,000 in damages after a judge found it should have ensured the hotel was safe.

Mrs Japp had been relaxing on the balcony of her suite at the Crystal Cove Hotel, in Barbados, and was wearing only her swimsuit, when she accidentally walked into the closed French windows leading into her room.

The glass shattered and she suffered deep lacerations all over her body.

Virgin Holidays has now taken the case to the Court of Appeal, saying that the judgment, if upheld, would “create great difficulties for the tourist industry” in applying British health and safety standards to foreign countries, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Sarah Prager, the lawyer representing Virgin Holidays, confirmed the incident had occurred but warned the judges against "exporting English standards" across the globe.

"Travel agents, when they send people off abroad, if they are told that facilities have to comply with English notions of reasonableness, that is going to create great difficulties for the English tourist industry in general," she said.

"Exporting English standards of reasonableness would give rise to lack of clarity - some nations are more risk averse than others".

But Andrew Spencer, representing Mrs Japp, argued that Virgin Holidays had rightly been held liable, saying: "When people book a package holiday, they are entitled to expect that the facilities are not unsafe."

Judges will rule on the appeal at a later date.

Simon Lomax, a specialist in travel law, told the newspaper that the cost of claims like these - ranging from slipping on wet floors to car accidents during airport transfers - could be passed on to consumers in the form of price hikes by holiday groups.

"The operator can carry the can, or they can pass it on to the hotel, or they can pass it on to the consumer,” he said. "More than likely the company will end up paying. At the end of the day they do make millions of pounds in profit."

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