Cruise ship illness or injury claims

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Howard Willis

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee cruise ship injury or illness claim

Research suggests that is not uncommon for large numbers of passengers to be affected by illness or food poisoning on a cruise ship. These outbreaks are a common cause of holiday illness claims.

Clear health and safety procedures should minimise the risk of illness and contain illness if it does occur. Where proper hygiene measures and precautions are not in place, outbreaks may spread quickly.

In addition to illness, other hazards aboard ship may lead to passengers sustaining injury. The most common injuries are caused by slips and trips, or by falling objects.

Passengers may also have accidents whilst on organised excursions at ports of call. Claims of this kind can be more complex, and will depend on the circumstances of the injury or illness.

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.

Can a claim be brought against a cruise ship operator?

If a passenger suffers an accident or an illness during a cruising holiday, the terms of the holiday contracts allow tour and cruise line operators to rely on the Athens Convention to process any claim against them.

What is the Athens convention?

The Athens Convention deals with compensation claims against carriers and applies to international carriage by sea i.e.

  • Where the port of departure and the place of destination are different, or
  • Where the port of departure and destination are the same, but there is also a port of call in a different country

In addition, the provisions of the convention apply to voyages that depart from UK ports, but do not have any other ports of call - through the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea (Domestic Carriage) Order 1987. 

Adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 1974, the Convention came into force in 1987. It declares a carrier liable for damage or loss suffered by a passenger if the incident causing the damage occurred in the course of the carriage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier.

In 2002 a Protocol to amend the Athens Convention was adopted which introduced compulsory insurance to cover passengers on ships and raised the limits on liability. This protocol came into force in April 2014.

The time limit for bringing a claim under the Convention is 2 years.

Are there any exceptions?

If the cruise departed from and returned to a foreign destination without any intermediary ports of call then claims should be brought under the Package Travel Regulations 1992. This applies to UK companies only.

Claims may be brought in the county courts within 3 years.

In which country should the claim be brought?

Although the ship may be owned by a foreign company and have departed from a non UK port, the Athens Convention provides that compensation claims for personal injury may be brought in the country most favourable to the Claimant - usually that of his residence.

What may be claimed?

Claims for compensation should take into account not only the cost of the ruined holiday but any expenses and financial loss due to illness or injury; any future expenses for medical or care needs, plus an amount to compensate for the pain and suffering sustained.

100% No Win No Fee cruise ilness or injury compensation claim

Typically a no win no fee agreement (more correctly referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is put in place between a claimant and lawyer.

The CFA is essentially the terms under which the solicitor represents the client.

The contract lays out what the solicitors will actually do as well as how they will be rewarded if the compensation claim is successful.

If you choose a Quittance solicitor for your cruise ilness or injury claim there are no sneaky hidden costs , nothing to pay up-front and the comfort that you will never be financially out of pocket.

How to proceed

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