If norovirus has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Norovirus, also known as the 'winter vomiting bug', is characterised by severe gastroenteritis symptoms like sudden vomiting and diarrhoea.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by norovirus, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, such as contaminated food, water, or unsanitary conditions, compensation might available to cover medical treatment for dehydration, loss of income, and pain endured during recovery.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
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.
If you decide to make a norovirus claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
If you are looking for information on norovirus symptoms and treatment, visit: norovirus (nhs.uk).
Do I have a norovirus claim?
As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if you were injured:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- another person or organisation was to blame, and;
- they owed you duty of care.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
What if I was partially at fault?
Personal injury claims where both the defendant and claimant share some responsibility are relatively common.
In our recent 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents thought they could be partially to blame for their accident.
Even if you were partly at fault, you could still be able to claim compensation. 'Split liability' or 'contributory negligence' are terms used to describe these cases.
How long do I have to claim norovirus compensation?
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or injury.
If you were not immediately aware that you were harmed by someone else's negligence, the 3-year time limit runs from the date you were diagnosed and became aware of what caused your injury or illness.
If you were injured when you were under 18, a parent, guardian or adult 'litigation friend' can make a claim on your behalf. Once you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to start an injury claim.
How much compensation can I claim for norovirus?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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 is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your norovirus Compensation can include loss of wages, commission and any other income income, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.
These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as rehydration, anti-diarrheal medication, monitoring and dietary changes.
Can I claim for PTSD or other psychological trauma?
Psychiatric harm is less obvious than physical injury, but the consequences can be just as difficult to deal with.
According to our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey shows that 29.03% of potential claimants sustained a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
Norovirus infection can lead to heightened anxiety about hygiene, contamination, and emetophobia (fear of vomiting). In severe cases, this can lead to social isolation and dietary issues.
Your solicitor will help ensure that any psychological harm you have suffered as the result of another party's negligence is recognised and included in the calculation of your compensation award or settlement. In addition, you can also claim for mental health treatment costs that may not be readily available on the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
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.
The claims process for a norovirus infection will depend on where and how your illness occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
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About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.