Norovirus Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by norovirus we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered norovirus and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
Highly infectious, particularly amongst large groups in confined spaces, norovirus is estimated to affect up to 1 million people in the UK each year. Also known as the 'winter vomiting disease', outbreaks are common in hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and, notably, on cruise ships.
Although usually mild, the tell-tale symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea can be extremely unpleasant. If you are infected with norovirus, you could be entitled to claim compensation. To be successful, your solicitor would need to prove that the negligence of another party (such as a specific restaurant or hotel) caused your infection.
Do I have a norovirus claim?
A norovirus injury claim should be possible if your injury occurred:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a norovirus claim on their own behalf.
Do I need a diagnosis before I can make a norovirus claim?
If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a norovirus claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.
The amount of money you could claim for your norovirus will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your norovirus has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a norovirus? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for a norovirus claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a norovirus will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your norovirus compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I get an interim payment?
Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.
Calculate my norovirus compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a norovirus injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your norovirus claim could be worth now:
How long does a norovirus claim take?
The length of time needed to process a norovirus claim can vary significantly.
For instance, a simple liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a month or two. If the defendant denies liability, it could take considerably longer. On average an injury claim should take 4 to 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your norovirus claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
How is norovirus contracted?
Norovirus is easily spread. It can be passed on by poor hand hygiene or by eating infected food. In addition, the virus can be caught by touching surfaces or objects - like towels or flannels - days after they were contaminated. All of these things make semi-enclosed spaces more susceptible.
Once contracted, norovirus can incubate for 12 to 48 hours before symptoms appear. As well as vomiting and diarrhoea, other recognised symptoms include:
- A raised temperature over 38 degrees
- Aching limbs
- Painful stomach cramps
Although the virus is unpleasant, it usually runs its course in a few days and is not normally dangerous. However there is a risk of dehydration, which can lead to further symptoms such as dizziness, decreased urine levels and low blood pressure.
Who can I claim against?
As it is the most common stomach bug (gastroenteritis) in the UK, contracting norovirus in itself does not automatically lead to a claim. In order to pursue compensation, the virus must have been contracted in a situation where responsibility for health and safety lies with someone other than the individual.
In public spaces, such as cruise ships, hotels, hospitals or schools, the owners/managers have a legal ?duty of care' towards their clients, patients or pupils. So, if an individual, or group of individuals, fall sick, the owner/managers health and safety policies will be scrutinised to ensure they did everything reasonably practical to prevent an outbreak occurring.
How can liability in norovirus claims by proven?
As the causes of norovirus are commonly known, as well as the spaces likely to be infected, those in charge of such spaces are expected to be aware of the risks and are legally obligated to control them. For example, a hospital should have strict and documented cleaning and hand washing procedures in place to ensure the virus is not spread.
Cruise ship liability cases
When people think norovirus they often think cruise ships. This is due to the high incidence of cases occurring and being reported. If a person contracted norovirus whilst on board, it must be demonstrated not only that the cruise ship was negligent, but also that contracting the virus was a result of this.
Although most major cruise lines will have health and safety measures in place, it does not always mean that they have done enough, or that they were carried out effectively.
For example, they may have hand sanitisers in the restaurants, but they may not be adequately enforcing use of them. Alternatively, they may not be successfully quarantining staff or passengers who may have come into contact the virus but are, as yet, symptomless.
The fact that norovirus is not often an isolated case in such situations will help a solicitor demonstrate that negligence was indeed the cause. Another example of evidence could be witness statements that public announcements were not made when the outbreak first occurred.
Whether a claim is being made against a cruise line, or a hotel or another public space such as a restaurant, the process of proving negligence will be similar.
Why do people claim compensation for norovirus?
Although norovirus is usually only short-term and not considered dangerous (although the risk is higher amongst more vulnerable groups such as the very young or old, or those in hospital) contracting it can be extremely unwanted and inconvenient.
In addition to medical bills, holidays can be ruined and a person may not be able to return to work for a period of time. Existing medical conditions can also be exacerbated, leading to further distress and treatment. In any of these situations, compensation can come as a great relief.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee - the facts
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a norovirus claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a norovirus claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my norovirus claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my norovirus claim?
If your norovirus claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make a norovirus claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the norovirus to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your norovirus claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a norovirus after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim norovirus compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a norovirus claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.