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Holiday Accidents & Illness Claims

Accidents At Sea And Cruise Injury Claims

Whenever you are on board a ship, the crew and operators have a duty of care to you as a passenger, and should protect you from the risk of accidents and injury. If you have been injured in an accident at sea, then our lawyers could help you claim compensation.

Accident at sea and cruise injury claims can be made in a number of circumstances. Accidents often happen while embarking or disembarking (getting on or off-board), but both passengers and crew can be injured in any number of ways on board.

If an accident that causes injury, or the death of a loved one, is the result of negligence on the part of a ship's crew or its operator, you could be entitled to compensation. In addition, there are international conventions that exist to give extra protection to those injured in accidents at sea.

Our lawyers have helped thousands of clients successfully make international personal injury claims, securing many millions of pounds in cases involving injury and illness at sea in cases including the Herald of Free Enterprise (Zeebrugge), the Al Dana Dhow tragedy (Bahrain), the Alexey Maryshev (Arctic) and the Costa Concordia (Italy).

Most of the international personal injury claims we handle are made in England & Wales. But in some cases it may be beneficial to make your claim abroad. We can advise you on this in a free initial consultation about making a claim.

Compensation claims in England & Wales are normally funded through a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there's nothing to pay upfront, and that you won’t have to pay any legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful*.

Call us today on 0800 121 6558 for a free initial consultation about your case, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.

No Win No Fee
Over 30 years of experience handling high-profile claims
Longstanding links with foreign law experts
Offices across the UK

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Accidents At Sea & Cruise Injury Claims - More Information
    • How Much Compensation Can I Expect?
    • How much compensation you receive after an accident or illness abroad will depend on a number of factors related to your injury or illness, its circumstances, and the support and rehabilitation you need.

      The amount of compensation you could claim is based on:

      • Your condition, and its severity
      • Psychological trauma experienced
      • Current and future loss of earnings if you've had to stop working in the short or long-term
      • Medical expenses you've had to or will have to pay both abroad and in the UK, as well as travel expenses to any appointments
      • Your care and support needs – both now and in the future
      • Modifications to your home
      • Mobility aids
      • The amount you had spent on your holiday or travel abroad, and the loss of enjoyment you've experienced
      • Your pain and suffering
      • Other financial loss or expense due to your injury

      For more information, call us on 0800 121 6558 and we'll be happy to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.

    • Can I Make A No Win No Fee Claim?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case, we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household, travel or car insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

      If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. You'll only have to pay anything if your claim is successful – even then your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement.

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • In the UK, you usually need to make a compensation claim within three years of your accident or illness.

      In fatal cases, the family of the deceased has three years to make a claim, starting from either the date your loved one died, or the date you received the post-mortem results.

      However, these time limits vary a great deal from country to country and are much shorter in some countries, so when an accident or illness has taken place abroad, it's vital that you contact us as soon as possible. We are experts in international law, and have a worldwide network of partner law firms that we work with, so we'll be able to advise you on specific time limits. Contact us today on 0800 121 6558 for a free consultation on your case, and we'll be happy to help.

    • Can I Claim In The UK?
    • Even if your accident or illness occurred abroad, you can often make a claim here in the UK, though this will vary depending on your circumstances. For example, if you suffered an accident or illness while staying in a hotel as part of a package holiday, you should be able to make a claim against the tour operator here in the UK.

      You can also usually claim in the UK if you’re claiming against an individual insurer or employer that is based in the UK, or a business or insurer based in the EU. The law around compensation is different in each country, so we will consider where it would be best to make your claim in order to get the best possible result for you.

      If you do have to make a claim abroad, there’s nothing to worry about as we have years of experience in helping clients to claim in more than 80 countries around the world. We work with an international network of law firms to represent and support our clients and their families when they need to claim, no matter which country the accident or illness occurred in. Most claims are settled out of court, so it’s unlikely that you will need to travel abroad for a court case. If this is necessary in your case, we will support you every step of the way.

      If you have any questions or concerns about making a claim abroad, contact us on 0800 121 6558 for a free consultation. We'll be able to advise you on your options, and talk you through the process.

I am relieved that our legal battle is finally over. Our holiday was a nightmare and we were so disappointed. We’re glad Irwin Mitchell has managed to achieve a successful outcome for us”

David, client

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Claim Compensation For An Accident At Sea?

If you were injured, or if a loved one has died, as a result of an accident at sea (or on an inland waterway) caused by negligence on the part of the captain, staff or the company that operates the vessel, you may be able to claim compensation.

You may also be able to make a claim without establishing fault for the accident. This could be the case if your injury was caused by:

  • A defect or malfunction on the ship
  • A collision
  • An explosion
  • A shipwreck or capsize

The accident could have happened during a journey, while the ship is stationary or docked, or while embarking and disembarking (getting on and off). Accidents can occur on a large range of vessels, including (but not limited to):

  • Cruise liners
  • Ferries
  • Floating Restaurants
  • Pleasure craft, such as motorboats and sailboats
  • Yachts

You can also claim compensation if you develop an illness such as food poisoning or legionnaires’ disease – find out more about claiming compensation for cruise illnesses.

If you've been injured while working as a crew member, you can still claim but the process might be slightly different – find out more about claiming for accidents and injuries that happened while you were working abroad.

If you want to make an accident at sea claim, remember: you must usually bring your claim within two years of the date of disembarkation – the day you left the boat. If you have any questions about how to claim, or have any concerns about whether or not you have a case, call us today on 0800 121 6558 for a free consultation. We'll discuss your accident, and offer our advice on your options.

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What's The Process For Making A Claim?

An accident at sea can be traumatic, and may result in serious injury. We aim to make claiming for compensation as simple as possible, handling every aspect of your claim while you focus on recovery.

To begin a claim, contact us online or call 0800 121 6558 for a free initial consultation. We'll discuss your accident, and whether we think you can claim. If we do think you have a case, your claim will usually follow the same four stages:

Stage One: Investigation

We'll establish who is responsible for the accident, or whether a claim can be made without establishing fault, which can be the case in the event of a collision or shipwreck, for example.

You'll also have a medical examination to determine the full extent of your injuries, and if there's any treatment or support that could help your recovery.

Stage Two: Rehabilitation

If you do have any care or support needs, we'll help you to access the treatment and specialist advice that you are entitled to, to help you recover as much as possible from your injuries.

Stage Three: Compensation

We usually calculate how much compensation you will get based on factors including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Medical expenses you’ve had to pay, or will incur in the future
  • Your occupation, and the impact your injuries have had and will have on your ability to work
  • Any past and future care and rehabilitation to which you are entitled
  • Your pain and suffering

We'll then put the case to whoever is responsible – this could be a cruise operator, or the owner of the boat you were on when the accident happened.

They may accept blame early on, or could contest the claim, which would result in your case going to court. Most claims settle out of court – but if you do have to go to court we'll be there to represent you and support you and your family.

Stage Four: Conclusion

When your case concludes, you'll be awarded compensation if you're successful. In No Win No Fee cases pursued in England and Wales, our fees will mostly be paid by your opponent, with a portion of your compensation settlement covering the rest.

If we agree to handle your claim under a No Win No Fee* arrangement, then you won't have to pay anything if you are unsuccessful.

If you have any questions about the claims process please contact us today on 0800 121 6558.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell For An Accident At Sea Claim?

Our expert travel lawyers have been helping people claim compensation for accidents and illnesses abroad for over 30 years, and we have been the lead firm in a number of high profile incidents at sea and on inland waterways. For example, we successfully represented victims and the families of those killed following tragedies such as:

  • The Costa Concordia
  • The Al Dana Dhow
  • The Herald of Free Enterprise (the Zeebrugge disaster)
  • The Marchioness

We aim to support you through the entire claims process with sensitivity and understanding, putting the interests of you and your family first at every turn. Injuries caused by accidents at sea can have far-reaching physical, emotional and financial consequences, and we'll work with you to ensure that the settlement you receive reflects the severity of the injury, any necessary rehabilitation, and the impact it has had on your life.

We have the largest team of international personal injury lawyers in the UK, working solely on claims relating to accidents and illnesses abroad. Our industry-leading lawyers have secured hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation for injuries suffered abroad and for those who have lost loved ones in accidents.

To find out more about how to make a claim, and how we can help, call us today on 0800 121 6558 for a free initial consultation about your claim.

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Awards & Accreditation

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.

Leading Firm - Legal 500 2017 The Times Best Law Firms 2019 chambers-2019

What Our Clients Say

We truly value and appreciate the feedback we receive from our clients, as we look to improve the services we offer on an ongoing basis.

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Our International Expertise


Our lawyers are recognised as leaders in the field of international law, and we bring this expertise to your claim. Members of our team regularly lecture internationally, are consulted on international law reform issues, and hold key positions in several leading international organisations, including:

  • The Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • The American Association for Justice
  • Travel and Tourism Lawyers Association

We also have a long history of campaigning for improvements in health and safety. Our aim is always to improve the quality of life and levels of compensation for those who have suffered illness or been involved in an accident on holiday.

Our Offices

Our offices are located in major cities throughout the UK and have excellent transport links.

Start Your Claim Today

To begin your claim for compensation, or ask any questions regarding personal injury claims, contact us today for a free consultation.

This data will only be used by Irwin Mitchell for processing your query and for no other purpose.

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