Accidents at sea and cruise ship claims

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Holiday Accident

The last decade has seen a surge in the popularity of holidays at sea among people of all ages and it is predicted that within the next five years, the number of UK cruise ship passengers will exceed 2 million annually. For those unlucky enough to experience injury or illness during their time on board, specialist advice is needed before pursuing a claim for compensation.

Penningtons Manches’ travel law team has substantial experience of handling claims arising from accidents at sea and has been instructed to act in several high profile cases that have attracted worldwide media attention. Our solicitors have successfully undertaken numerous claims against tour operators and cruise ship operators as well as the owners of ferries, yachts and other vessels. We regularly receive plaudits for our high standards of client care and can provide expert guidance tailored to your requirements. Where necessary, we liaise with our network of foreign personal injury lawyers to ensure the best outcome for clients. At all stages, we try to make the process as straightforward as possible. 

In many cases accidents at sea are governed by the Athens Convention 1974. If, as a passenger, you sustain an injury on board, or while embarking or disembarking, you may well be entitled to a damages award. You may also be able to claim compensation if you develop an illness, for example as a result of food poisoning or a norovirus outbreak. The regime is essentially fault-based and requires the passenger to prove that the incident which gave rise to injury or illness occurred during the voyage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier, its crew or agents. 

If, however, you are injured as a result of a defect on a vessel, or following a collision, explosion, shipwreck or capsizing, then strict liability should apply and you will not need to prove fault in those circumstances. 

We provide free initial advice without obligation. This can include guidance over the telephone, a visit from one of our specialist solicitors or a review of your documents. We offer various forms of funding, including no win no fee (conditional fee) agreements. Our team aims to ensure that you receive maximum compensation while minimising the legal costs involved.

Recent work highlights

Ship doctor's negligence

Advising a woman who fractured her neck when she fell on the deck of a cruise ship. The ship doctor failed to recognise the extent of her injuries and our client claimed for negligence under the terms of the Athens Convention.


Bed bugs on a cruise

Representing a couple whose cabin was infested by bed bugs during an Icelandic cruise. They experienced significant damage to their belongings and one of our clients subsequently became very unwell, suffered scarring and post traumatic stress disorder.


Serious injury in gathering storm

Securing a five figure payout for a woman who broke her arm whilst sailing off the cost of Morocco. She was attempting to return to her charter boat on a dinghy but had already expressed concerns about safety to the owner due to choppy conditions.

See more detailed case studies

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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP